Investigating the history of life.
Simones main objective during his visit as a SYNTHESYS guest this time (November 2005), was to be able to complete the morphological study for all the taxa he needed to include in his work. The collections and facilities at NRM were essential in his work.
Simones work was based on phylogenetic systematics, which is a discipline not practised in Italy. Therefore little education could be received from his own university, and experiences in foreign institution such as the Swedish Museum of Natural History enriched his knowledge on the subject.
Phylogenetic systematics can be explained as the way that biologists reconstruct the pattern of events that have led to the distribution and diversity of what we today might define as life.
Of extreme value is also the collection of the large number of species belonging to Arenaria subgenus Leiosperma fromSouth America , which appear to be strictly related to the Spanish Moehringia species. It is of great importance to include these representatives in the morphological study of the genera, and the Museum offers the possibility to have all the material at hand for an efficient comparison of the characters.
Since the beginning of my study, NRM has always been a reference for essential scientific advice. Completing the morphological investigation started last year will yield results for an international publication expectantly presenting co-authorship of the two institutions.
Further, since the Moehringia study is part of a large cooperation of Italian institutions working on the biodiversity of the Ligurian hot-spot, the results will have impact on a very active research context, emphasizing the importance of phylogenetic systematics as an essential approach often too little considered in Italy. In a distant prospective, I hope Synthesys will strengthen the relationships between the two institutions and be the start of further collaborative research in the years to come.