PBI: Miconieae (Melastomataceae)
A collaborative effort led by scientists from The New York Botanical Garden, the University of Florida, the Universidade Federal de Paraná, and the California Academy of Sciences, along with several collaborators in the US, Latin America and Europe, will produce a complete taxonomic inventory and description of the tribe Miconieae (Melastomataceae). This is a group of over 1800 species from the Americas, mostly of trees and shrubs from tropical rain and montane forests. The Miconieae are ecologically important due to their diversity and number of individuals in forest understories, and as an important food source for birds and mammals. The Miconieae also include two of the worst plant invasives in the Hawaii and South Pacific Islands (Koster's curse [Clidemia hirta] and purple plague [Miconia calvescens]). The project will comprehensively review all of the 1,800 species, combining studies in the field, herbarium, and laboratory. All of the information generated by the study will be available online through a dedicated module of NYBG's botanical database, the Virtual Herbarium, and will include complete descriptions, images, keys for their identification, and distribution maps for each species. The project will also train postdoctoral associates and graduate students in the US and Latin America on the tools of modern monographic treatments and nomenclature.