Erica Barroso

Erica Barroso


Tel.: 0041 (0) 44 634 84 40

Academic Education and Degrees

2014 - present PhD studies in Evolutionary Biology, Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, University of Zurich, Switzerland
2010 - 2012

M.Sc. in Biological Sciences (Botany), National Museum, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Topic: Molecular phylogeny of Philodendron subgenus Meconostigma (Araceae)

2005 - 2009 B.Sc. in Biological Sciences, Federal University of Ceara, Fortaleza - Ceará, Brazil
2005 - 2009 Teaching degree in Biological Sciences, Federal University of Ceara, Fortaleza - Ceará, Brazil
2004.1      Undergraduate studies in Chemistry, State University of Ceará, Brazil (interrupted)

Research interests

  • Systematic biology
  • Botanical nomenclature
  • Biogeography
  • Evolutionary biology

PhD thesis topic

           The overall number of species we see today is a very small fraction of what has ever existed - most of them are extinct. The Earth’s surface is dynamic as well, and vegetation history is critical for understanding the evolution of modern land biomes. Studying what happened in the past is crucial for gaining a better perception of the actual forces shaping the biodiversity we see today.

           Is present-day biodiversity the result of a gradual accumulation of new lineages over time? Is it the result of recent and rapid diversification (speciation) events? Or is it the result of a combination of both? How has Earth’s history (geology and climate) affected diversification and extinction events? These are fundamental questions in evolutionary biology for which we still lack satisfactory answers, especially when referring to tropical regions. We will address the questions outlined above by combining molecular, fossil and current geographic distribution data in a group of tropical flowering plants: Thunbergioideae (Acanthaceae).

Clockwise from top left: Mendoncia sp. flower; Thunbergia sp. fruit in longitudinal section and seeds; Mendoncia sp. fruits; Thunbergia mysorensis inflorescence; Thunbergia natalensis flowers; Mendoncia sp. flower.

          Our main goals are (i) to produce a genomic data set for Acanthaceae, (ii) to identify hundreds of new molecular markers for phylogenetic analyses, (iii) to infer the evolutionary history of Thunbergioideae in time and space. Our research will contribute crucial data and analyses needed to elucidate processes that shape tropical biodiversity.