Defining predictive characters to understand angiosperm evolution
The research Erik Smets focuses on the evolution of flowering plants, the world’s most dominant plant group. Initially, he was fascinated by the huge diversity in floral morphology. Later, he studied the floral development (ontogeny) of many plant taxa of Caryophyllales, Ericales, Gentianales, Dipsacales en Poales. He strongly favours a multidisciplinary approach in which morphological features are combined with DNA sequence data because integrative systematics will ultimately lead to better insights in the evolution of characters and in understanding the evolutionary history of flowering plants.