Dr. Maria von Balthazar

email: maria.von.balthazar[@]univie.ac.at
phone: +43 1 4277 54087
room: 418

address: Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research
University of Vienna, Faculty of Life Sciences
Rennweg 14, A-1030 Vienna, Austria

Bibliographical information

Since 2010 Research assistant (Universitätsassistentin) at the University of Vienna, Austria

2008-2009 Postdoc at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden with Else Marie Friis and Peter R. Crane

2004-2007 Postdoc at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden with Else Marie Friis,

2002-2004 Postdoc at University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA with David A. Baum

2002 PhD in systematic botany, University of Zurich, Switzerland; supervised by Peter K. Endress and Y.-L. Qiu

1998 Master degree in systematic botany, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Awards and funding

2007 Research grant ‘Linnestipendium’ from the Riksmuseivänner (SEK 10’000)

2007 2-year postdoctoral fellowship for advanced researches from the Swiss National Science Foundation (CHF 100’000)

2002 1-year postdoctoral fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation (US$ 29’000)

2002 For the PhD thesis ‘Development, structure, and evolution of flowers, and phylogeny of Buxaceae’ by the Faculty of Mathematics and Science of the University of Zurich, Switzerland

2001 Maynard F. Moseley Award for the paper ‘Floral structure and phylogeny of Buxaceae’ at the congress Botany 2001 ‘Plants and people’ in Albuquerque/USA

Various smaller grants for congress participations and field work

Service

2010-2016 Associate Editor Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society (for Anatomy and Morphology)

since 2012 Associate Editor for Taxon

since 2014 Associate Editor for International Journal of Plant Sciences

Research interests

My research interest is in angiosperm systematics and I am particularly interested in the diversity and evolution of flowers. I use evidence from developmental and morphological studies to infer homology of floral structures with the goal to understand the evolutionary history of the group under study both at a structural and a phylogenetic level. My research also involves data of other sources such as molecular phylogenetics and paleobotany.

 

 

Projects

Evolution in Malvales

Collaborators: David A. Baum, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA; William S. Alverson, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA; Heidrun Janka, Basel, Schweiz

The delimitation of families in the core Malvales has traditionally been problematic. Molecular phylogenetic studies have confirmed the monophyly of the core Malvales, but do not support the traditional family level classification. We study the flower development and structure of various clades in the family with the aim to find synapomorphies for new clades and to understand the often complicated structure of the androecium.

 

Evolution in Magnoliidae

Collaborators: Hervé Sauquet, University of Paris-Sud XI, Orsay, France; Julien Massoni, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland; Yannick Städler, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Jürg Schönenberger, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

We study the floral evolution in Magnoliidae, a large monophyletic group consisting of four orders. Magnoliidae (Canellales, Laurales, Magnoliales, Piperales) with about 10,000 species are remarkably diverse in floral structures in contrast to monocots and eudicots, which appear to have relatively well-conserved floral groundplans. To understand the evolutionary, developmental, and ecological processes responsible for the floral diversity of Magnoliidae, first a robust, dated phylogeny for the group will be reconstructed; secondly a comprehensive database of floral traits of Magnoliidae combining literature data as well as new observations will be created and tested for correlations among floral characters as well as between floral morphology, pollinating vectors, and diversification rates; and in a last step, the floral transcriptomes of selected species will be characterized. Unraveling the history and mechanisms of floral diversification in Magnoliidae will not only shed light on an enigmatic piece of the puzzle of angiosperm evolution, but will also provide invaluable insights into early floral evolution and the origin of monocots and eudicots.

 

eflower

A large collaborative work, project leader Hervé Sauquet, University of Paris-Sud XI, Orsay, France

http://eflower.myspecies.info/

 

Diversity and evolution of the floral morphospace

Collaborators: Jürg Schönenberger, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Marion Chartier, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Hervé Sauquet, University of Paris-Sud XI, Orsay, France; Florian Jabbour, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France

A striking feature of organismal morphological variation is that not all the theoretically possible architectures have been explored during the evolution of species. Existing morphologies are restricted to a limited set because of developmental, functional, and phylogenetic constraints. We propose in this project to compare the occupied portion of the morphological space (or morphospace) through geological time and among distinct clades. This project focuses on physical and biological rules, convergence and contingency at play during the evolution of natural shapes. As a model group, we choose the angiosperms. The immense morphological disparity found among angiosperms (especially in their floral parts), the availability of fossils, the accumulation of dated phylogenies, and the recent technical improvement for visualizing and quantifiying morphological traits all provide a strong basis for our project.

Publications

  • Löfstrand SD, von Balthazar M, Schönenberger J 2016 Early floral development and androecium organisation in the sarracenioid clade (Actinidiaceae, Roridulaceae and Sarraceniaceae) of Ericales. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 180: 295–318.
  • Oskolski A, von Balthazar M, Staedler YM, Shipunov AB 2015 Inflorescence and floral morphology of Haptanthus hazlettii (Buxaceae, Buxales). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 179: 190–200.  
  • Chartier M, Jabbour F, Gerber S, Mitteroecker P, Sauquet H, von Balthazar M, Staedler YM, Crane PR, Schönenberger J 2014 The floral morphospace - a modern comparative approach to study angiosperm evolution. New Phytologist 204: 841-853.  
  • Schönenberger J, von Balthazar M 2013 Asterids. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 173: 321–324.
  • von Balthazar M, Schönenberger J 2013 Comparative floral structure and systematics in the balsaminoid clade including Balsaminaceae, Marcgraviaceae and Tetrameristaceae (Ericales). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 173: 325–386.
  • Schoenenberger J, von Balthazar M 2012 Modern plant morphological studies. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 169:  565-568
  • Schönenberger J, von Balthazar M, Takahashi M, Xiao X, Crane PR, Herendeen PS 2012 Glandulocalyx upatoiensis, a fossil flower of Ericales (Actinidiaceae/Clethraceae) from the Late Cretaceous (Santonian) of Georgia, USA. Annals of Botany 109: 921-936.
  • von Balthazar M, Crane PR, Pedersen KR, Friis EM 2011 New flowers of Laurales from the Early Cretaceous (early to Middle Albian) of Eastern North America, pp 49-87, In L Wanntorp,  LP Ronse de Craene(eds) Flowers on the Tree of Life. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. [Systematics Association Special Volume 80.]
  • Schönenberger J, von Balthazar M, Sytsma KJ 2010 Diversity and evolution of floral structure among early diverging lineages in the Ericales. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 365:437-448.
  • von Balthazar M, Schönenberger J 2009 Floral structure and organization in Platanaceae. International Journal of Plant Sciences 170: 210-225.
  • Friis EM, Pedersen KR, von Balthazar M, Grimm GW, Crane PR 2009 Monetianthus mirus gen. et sp. nov., a nymphaealean flower from the Early Cretaceous of Portugal. International Journal of Plant Sciences170:1086–1101.
  • Janka H, von Balthazar M, Semir J, Alverson WS, Baum DA, Bayer C 2008 Floral structure and development in core Bombacoideae (Malvaceae s.l.). Plant Systematics and Evolution 275: 69-91.
  • Tschan GF, Denk T, von Balthazar M 2008 Credneria and Platanus (Platanaceae) from the Late Cretaceous (Santonian) of Quedlinburg, Germany. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 152: 211-236.  
  • von Balthazar M, Pedersen KR, Crane PR, Friis EM 2008 Carpestella lacunata gen. et sp. nov., a new basal angiosperm flower from the Early Cretaceous (Early to Middle Albian) of eastern North America. International Journal of Plant Sciences 169: 890-898.
  • Sliwinski M, Bosch J, Yoon H-S, von Baltahazar M, Baum D 2007 The role of two LEAFY paralogs from Idahoa scapigera (Brassicaceae) in the evolution of a derived plant architecture. The Plant Journal 51(2): 211-219.
  • Pedersen KR, von Balthazar M, Crane PR, Friis EM 2007 Early Cretaceous floral structures and in situ tricolpate-striate pollen: New early eudicots from Portugal. Grana 176-196.
  • von Balthazar M, Pedersen KR, Crane PR, Stampanoni M, Friis EM 2007 Potomacanthus lobatus gen. et sp. nov., a new Lauraceae flower from the Early Cretaceous (Early to Middle Albian) of eastern North America. American Journal of Botany 94: 2041-2053.
  • von Balthazar M, Schönenberger J, Alverson WS, Janka H, Bayer C, Baum DA 2006 Structure and evolution of the androecium in the Malvatheca clade (Malvaceae s.l.) and implications for Malvaceae and Malvales. Plant Systematics and Evolution 260: 171-197.
  • Schönenberger J, von Balthazar M 2006 Reproductive structures and phylogenetic framework of the rosids - progress and prospects. Plant Systematics and Evolution 260: 87-106.
  • von Balthazar M, Schönenberger J 2006 Oliniaceae. In: Kubitzki K. (ed.) The families and genera of vascular plants. Vol. 9. Springer Berlin.
  • von Balthazar M, Pedersen KR, Friis EM 2005 Teixeiraea lusitanica, a new fossil flower from the Early Cretaceous of Portugal with affinities to the Ranunculales. Plant Systematics and Evolution 255: 55-75.
  • von Balthazar M, Alverson WS, Schönenberger J, Baum DA 2004 Comparative floral development and androecium structure in Malvoideae (Malvaceae s.l.). International Journal of Plant Sciences 165: 445-473.
  • von Balthazar M, GE Schatz, PK Endress 2003 Female flowers and inflorescences of Didymelaceae. Plant Systematics and Evolution 237: 199-208.
  • von Balthazar M, PK Endress 2002 Development of inflorescences and flowers in Buxaceae and the problem of perianth interpretation. International Journal of Plant Sciences 163: 847-876.
  • von Balthazar M, PK Endress 2002 Reproductive structures and systematics of Buxaceae. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 140: 193-228.
  • von Balthazar M, PK Endress, Y-L Qiu 2000 Phylogenetic relationships in Buxaceae based on nuclear ITS and plastid ndhF sequences. International Journal of Plant Sciences 161: 785-792.
  • von Balthazar M, PK Endress 1999 Floral bract function, flowering process and breeding systems of Sarcandra and Chloranthus (Chloranthaceae). Plant Systematics and Evolution 218: 161-178.