J Syst Evol ›› 2016, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (6): 679-690.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12223

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State of the art and perspectives on neotropical fern and lycophyte systematics

Thaís Elias Almeida1* and Alexandre Salino2   

  1. 1Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará, Herbário HSTM and Instituto de Ciências da Educação, s.n., Santarém-PA 68.040-070, Brazil
    2Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Departamento de Botânica – Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Belo Horizonte-MG 31.270-901, Brazil
  • Received:2016-05-20 Published:2016-12-15

Abstract: For ferns and lycophytes, the Neotropics is a hotspot of diversity (3000–4500 species), and second only to Southeastern Asia in richness and endemism. This paper presents the current state of knowledge on fern and lycophyte systematics in the Neotropics, and emphasizes sampling sufficiency and current taxonomic and phylogenetic knowledge. Plant systematics plays an important role in documenting diversity and geographic distribution patterns that are needed to understand relationships and evolutionary patterns, and a vital role in species conservation. Although in recent decades this field of science has undergone a revolution because of new approaches and techniques, data presented in this work shows that large gaps remain and there is still a long path towards fully understanding fern and lycophyte systematics in Neotropics. Approaches and how to choose areas that should be targeted in order to try to fulfill these knowledge gaps are discussed.

Key words: biogeography, collections, phylogeny, pteridophytes, taxonomy