The epiphytic environment is a difficult habitat for plant development, primarily due to its dryness, which is especially problematic in climatic areas with summer drought. Numerous members of the moss family Orthotrichaceae are specialized as pioneer epiphytes, and in temperate climates the Orthotrichoideae is the most diverse subfamily in this particular habitat. The understanding of the processes behind its diversification and current biogeography will provide a better comprehension of the reasons of its success. For this purpose, it is necessary to recover a detailed phylogeny, as complete as possible and with a reliable dating, in which the principal biogeographic events can be contrasted, and the ancestral states of the morphological features can be reconstructed.
The main objective of this project is to complete the study of the phylogeny and diversification frame of the subfamily Orthotrichoideae using an integrative methodology, in which morphological studies will be combined with the analysis of the genetic variation.