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T-bana: Universitetet
Frescativägen 40

Sommarens öppettider:
Måndag–söndag 10–18
t.o.m. 21 augusti

  • Huvudmeny

Sylvain G. Razafimandimbison

Associate Professor, Senior Curator (förste intendent)


Tel: 08-519 541 81


PhD in Plant Systematics, USA, 2000.

Master in Plant Ecology, 1993.


  • Conduct systematic and biogeographic studies on various groups of plants within the coffee family (Rubiaceae).
  • Responsible for curating the Rubiaceae collections at S Herbarium.
  • Organize and lead field collecting in Madagascar (once a year) and identify and prepare labels for new collections.
  • Supervise postdoctoral researcher and PhD students.


As a plant systematist and evolutionary biologist, my main interest is biodiversity of tropical forests. Overall, my research has two main but interrelated components: 1) phylogeny and how phylogenies can be used for understanding evolutionary patterns, historical biogeography, and conservation needs; and 2) plant taxonomy and classification. My research activities focus mainly on the systematics of the coffee family (Rubiaceae), and this has been done in close collaboration with Prof. Birgitta Bremer (now retired), Professor Catarina Rydin, and many international collaborators. I am also involved in other systematic projects on the flowering plant families Balsaminaceae, Boraginaceae, Gesneraceae, and Melastomataceae.

My main research question is: how can phylogenies (Tree of Life) be used for understanding evolutionary patterns, historical biogeography, and conservation needs?

One important prerequisite for a better understanding of the evolutionary history of a particular group of organisms is to develop an explicit phylogenetic framework for the group. I have reconstructed and continue to generate phylogenies of different groups of plants at different taxonomic levels, using DNA standard sequence data from different nuclear and chloroplast markers and a range of phylogenetic methods. The phylogenetic hypotheses (resulting phylogenies) are used as frameworks:

  • for assessing relationships among taxa;
  • for pinpointing the phylogenetic positions of enigmatic taxa;
  • for basing new classifications;
  • for addressing ecological, evolutionary, and biogeographic questions; and
  • for prioritizing conservation given limited sources.

Results of my research are useful for biologists (including plant systematists, evolutionary biologists, biogeographers, conservation biologists) and anyone interested in tropical flowering plants, in particular the coffee family.


Project I. Integrative study of the diversity and evolutionary 
history of tropical plants in Magagascar 

Project II. Flora of Madagascar: Rubiaceaeöppnas i nytt fönster

Other Professional Roles

Associate Editor of Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden and Madagascar Conservation & Development.

Selected Publications

Kainulainen, K., S. G. Razafimandimbison, N. Wikström, and B. Bremer. 2017. Island hopping, long‐distance dispersal and species radiation in the Western Indian Ocean: historical biogeography of the Coffeeae alliance (Rubiaceae). Journal of Biogeography (in press).

Fem, J., J. Kårehed, B. Bremer, and S. G. Razafimandimbison. 2016. Paracarphalea, a new genus of the coffee family segregated from the Malagasy endemic genus Carphalea (Rubiaceae, Rubioideae, Knoxieae). Phytotaxa 263: 98-112.

Wikström, N., K. Kainulainen, S. G. Razafimandimbison, J. E. E. Smedmark, and B. Bremer. 2015. A revised time tree of the asterids: establishing a temporal framework for evolutionary studies of the coffee family (Rubiaceae). PLoS ONE 10(5): e0126690. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126690.

Ginter, A., S. G. Razafimandimbison, and B. Bremer. 2015. Phylogenetic affinities of Cyanoneuron and Myrioneuron, generic limits in the tribe Argostemmateae and a description of a new Asian tribe Cyanoneuroneae (Rubiaceae). Taxon 64: 286-298.

Razafimandimbison, S. G., C. M. Taylor, N. Wikström, T. Pailler, A. Khodabandeh, and B. Bremer. 2014. Phylogeny and generic limits in the sister tribes Palicoureeae and Psychotrieae (Rubiaceae): Evolution of schizocarpous fruits in Psychotria and origins of bacterial leaf nodules in the Malagasy Psychotria species. American Journal of Botany 101: 1102-1126.

Razafimandimbison, S. G., S. Ekman, T. D. McDowell, and B. Bremer. 2012. Evolution of growth form, inflorescence architecture, flower size, and fruit type in Rubiaceae: its ecological and evolutionary implications. PLoS ONE 7(7): e40851. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040851.

Razafimandimbison, S. G., K. Kainulainen, K. Beaver, K. M. Wong, and B. Bremer. 2011. Molecular support for a basal grade of morphologically distinct, monotypic genera in the species- rich Vanguerieae alliance (Rubiaceae - Ixoroideae): its systematic and conservation implications. Taxon 60: 941-952.

Razafimandimbison, S. G., T. D. McDowell, D. A. Halford, and B. Bremer. 2010. Origin of the pantropical and nutriceutical Morinda citrifolia L. (Rubiaceae): comments on its distribution range and circumscription. Journal of Biogeography 37: 520-529.

Razafimandimbison, S. G., H. Lantz, A. Mouly, and B. Bremer. 2009. Evolutionary trends, major lineages, generic limits in the dioecious group of the tribe Vanguerieae (Rubiaceae): insights into the evolution of functional dioecy. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 96: 161-181.

Razafimandimbison, S. G., T. D. McDowell, D. A. Halford, and B. Bremer. 2009. Molecular phylogenetics and generic assessment in the tribe Morindeae (Rubiaceae): how to circumscribe Morinda L. to be monophyletic? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 52: 879-886.

Razafimandimbison, S. G., C. Rydin, and B. Bremer. 2008. Evolution and trends in the Psychotrieae alliance (Rubiaceae): A rarely reported evolutionary change from one- seeded carpels to many- seeded carpels. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48: 207- 223.

Razafimandimbison, S. G., and B. Bremer. 2006. Taxonomic revision of the tribe Hymenodictyeae (Rubiaceae, Cinchonoideae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 152: 331-386.

Razafimandimbison, S. G., J. Moog, H. Lantz, U. Maschwitz, and B. Bremer. 2005. Re-assessment of monophyly, evolution of myrmecophytism, and rapid radiation of Neonauclea s.s. (Rubiaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 34: 334-354.

Razafimandimbison, S. G., E. A. Kellogg, and B. Bremer. 2004. Recent origin and phylogenetic utility of divergent ITS pseudogenes: a case study from Naucleeae s.l. (Rubiaceae). Systematic Biology 53: 177-192.