Studies on phylogenetic structure of communities are leading to a deeper understanding of biogeography, macroecology and evolution of ecosystems and, in Brazil, this new approach has been applied to scientific enquiries relating the Cerrado and Atlantic Forest phytogeographic domains. Caatinga has been historically one of the least studied phytogeographic areas of Brazil. Nevertheless, in the last decade an increasing number of floristic and phytosociological studies were produced in Caatinga. These data have recently been grouped in a botanical and biogeographical synthesis, which produced biogeographical comparisons of Caatinga's flora and a catalogue of species for different environments within the domain. We intend now to use the database we have made on Caatinga's plants to evaluate the phylogenetic structure of this phytogeographical domain. To do so we selected from the botanical surveys represented on our database 74 areas, which have 5480 occurrence records for 1590 species. Each area was mapped in GIS environment and classified to one of the types of environment within Caatinga. We intend to compare the phylogenetic structure of communities located on terrains of crystalline and sedimentary origin, as well as compare the potential differences on phylogenetic structure presented by the woody (trees and shrubs) and non-woody (herbs and subshrubs) components of the vegetation. Our study will be one of the first analyzes on phylogenetic structure made in a subcontinental scale held in Brazil and will allow a better understanding of community structure for Caatinga and will add a new dimension to evolutionary biogeographic patterns studied so far.
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