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Secondary woodiness

Evolution of woody plants from herbaceous ancestors.

Frederic Lens’s research is focusing on understanding (1) why various herbaceous angiosperm species on islands and other parts in the world have developed into woody shrubs, and (2) how the molecular wood pathway is turned on in these ancestrally herbaceous lineages. This long-standing evolutionary phenomenon dates back to Darwin's original observations, and is known in the literature as insular woodiness or secondary woodiness. I am tackling both main questions applying an ‘eco-evo-devo’ approach, which integrates water flow measures in stems and detailed anatomical observations allowing to unravel structure-function relationships in stems, together with state-of-the-art transcriptome experiments and niche modelling.