biography Ochnaceae campylospermum

PhD defence

Systematics, evolution and historical biogeography of the family Ochnaceae, with emphasis on the genus Campylospermum

PhD candidate Pulcerie Bissiengou
Promotor prof.dr. MSM (Marc) Sosef
Co-promotor dr. LW (Lars) Chatrou
Co-promotor dr. L Ngok Banak
Organisation Wageningen University, Biosystematics

Fri 19 December 2014 16:00 to 17:30

Venue Auditorium, building number 362
Generaal Foulkesweg 1
6703 BG Wageningen


Ochnaceae s.l. is a family of trees, shrubs or rarely herbs widely distributed in tropical and subtropical forests and savannas of the Old and New World, and has about 500 species in 32 genera. The family is divided into three subfamilies: Medusagynoideae, Quiinoideae and Ochnoideae. We have provided, for the first time, a nearly complete molecular phylogenetic analysis of Ochnaceae s.l. resolving most of the phylogeny backbone of the family using five DNA regions. Based on this, dating analyses were performed using a secondary calibration, and relaxed molecular clock models. The historical biogeography of Ochnaceae s.l. was reconstructed using Dispersal-Vicariance Analysis and Bayesian Binary MCMC. The Neotropics were inferred as being the geographical origin of the family and the Old World was most likely colonized via the North Atlantic Land Bridge during a period when climatic conditions allowed establishment of a boreotropical flora. A full taxonomic revision of the continental African species of the genus Campylospermum has been prepared and additional historical biogeographic analyses were performed with a focus on the genus Campylospermum.


  1. Within the genus Campylospermum, leaf shape, leaf venation and inflorescence structure provide the most important diagnostic morphological characters for species delimitation. (this thesis)
  2. Ochnaceae originated in the New World while the Old World was most likely colonized via the North Atlantic Land Bridge during periods when climatic conditions allowed the establishment of a boreotropical flora. (this thesis)
  3. Herbarium specimens and the information linked to these should be freely accessible so that nobody can claim the ownership of such data.
  4. The neglect of indigenous knowledge is one of the causes of biodiversity loss that is often overlooked.
  5. The book Women and Plants Gender Relations in Biodiversity Management and Conservation (edited by Patricia L. Howard) should be in the library of every individual who cares about the future of our planet (Dr. Jane Goodall) because it highlights the role and responsibilities of women in natural resource management in rural areas.
  6. Handmade products are luxurious and made with care and therefore cannot be replaced by mechanically manufactured products