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From reproductive strategies to species diversity: how evolution of breeding systems and associated traits shapes plant species diversity?


Angiosperms (flowering plants) present an exceptional diversity of breeding systems, with variation both in gender distribution within and among individuals (from hermaphroditism to separate sexes) and in mating patterns (from strict outcrossing to predominant selfing).


Breeding systems have been shown to affect species diversification and to be associated with other life-history and ecological traits. Consequently, breeding systems could be an important determinant of the observed species diversity in flowering plants 


The DIVERS project aims at exploring the hypothesis that the combination of traits associated with breeding systems could be an important key to understanding evolutionary success and plant species diversity. This project seeks to define integrated evolutionary strategies among these traits and to investigate how these strategies can shape the diversification process in flowering plants. This approach should help to identify key components that could explain why some groups of flowering plants flowering plant are more diverse than others, and how combination of traits could influence invasiveness and extinction risks. 



DIVERS project members at CESAB in November 2021


Principal investigators:


Sylvain GLEMIN – CNRS Rennes (France);

Jos KAFER – CNRS Lyon (France).




ouvrir/fermer participants:

Bruce ANDERSON – Stellenbosch University (South Africa); Sylvain BILLIARD – University of Lille I (France); Concetta BURGARELLA – Uppsala University (Sweden); Hugo DE BOER – University of Oslo (Norway); Mathilde DUFAY – University of Montpellier (France); Marcos MENDEZ – Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Spain);  Sarah OTTO – University of British Columbia (Canada); John PANNELL – University of Lausanne (Switzerland); Denis ROZE – CNRS Roscoff (France); Hervé SAUQUET – Royal Botanical Garden of Sidney (Australia); Daniel SCHOEN – McGill University (Canada); Jürg SCHONENBERGER – University of Vienna (Austria); Mario VALLEJO – University of Stirling (UK), Rosana ZENIL-FERGUSON – University of Hawaï (USA).

DIVERS gathers specialists in biology and reprodcution systems ecology, phylogeny, and evolutionary biology.


DIVERS was selected from the 2018 call for proposals. The selection process was carried out by an independent Scientific Committee.


[04] Anderson B, Pannell J, Billiard S, Burgarella C, De Boer H, Dufay M, Helmstetter AJ, Méndez M, Otto SP, Roze D, Sauquet H, Schoen D, Schönenberger J, Vallejo-Marin M, Zenil-Ferguson R, Käfer J & Glémin S (2023) Opposing effects of plant traits on diversification. iScience, 26, 106362. DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2023.106362.


[03] Helmstetter AJ, Zenil‐Ferguson R, Sauquet H, Otto SP, Méndez M, Vallejo‐Marin M, Schönenberger J, Burgarella C, Anderson B, de Boer H, Glémin S & Käfer J (2023) Trait‐dependent diversification in angiosperms: Patterns, models and data. Ecology Letters, 26, 504-515. DOI: 10.1111/ele.14170.


[02] Helmstetter AJ, Glemin S, Käfer J, Zenil-Ferguson R, Sauquet H, de Boer H, Dagallier L-PMJ, Mazet N, Reboud EL, Couvreur TLP & Condamine FL (2022) Pulled diversification rates, lineages-through-time plots and modern macroevolutionary modelling. Systematic Biology, 71, 758–773. DOI: 10.1093/sysbio/syab083.


[01] Käfer J, Méndez M & Mousset S (2022) Labile sex expression in angiosperm species with sex chromosomes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 377, 20210216. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2021.0216.