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Systematics and Phylogenetics
With an estimated 30-50 million species on earth, the vast majority of which have not even been discovered, a major goal of biodiversity research is to identify, describe, and classify species, promote an understanding of their origins, and place them within the Tree of Life, which represents our shared biological heritage.
Research within the Centre has clarified the phylogenetic relationships among such diverse groups as protistis, land plants, fungi, fish, and spiders. Our researchers have developed methods to discriminate species, to build and date key divergence points, and to study how organisms have evolved across the Tree of Life. These activities improve our understanding of the processes generating biodiversity and help prioritize conservation efforts.