Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Connecticut
75 North Eagleville Road
Storrs, CT 06269
Academic Advisor: Paul Lewis
My dissertation research project addresses three broad but related issues; systematics, evolution of secondary woodiness and historical biogeography of the Hedyotis-Oldenlandia complex in the plant family Rubiaceae with special focus on Asian-Pacific lineages. The Hedyotis-Oldenlandia is a highly debated group in the Rubiaceae family with no strong consensus to date on its generic delimitations. By building a robust phylogeny using DNA and incorporating data from morphology and anatomy my project seeks to resolve the long-standing taxonomic debate within the group that has existed since the time of Linnaeus. In an attempt to build a well-resolved phylogeny in the large group such as Hedyotis-Oldenlandia complex (ca. 600 spp.), I am also investigating the issues of data combinability (e.g. of different gene regions from targeted sequencing method), effect of taxonomic sampling and missing data, and the resulting systematic bias in the phylogeny inferences under Bayesian framework.
A few lineages within Hedyotis-Oldenlandia complex (e.g. Hedyotis s.s.) are characterized by having secondarily derived wood, a narrow and montane distribution and a high species diversity compared to their herbaceous sister lineages. The other goal of my study is to understand the correlates of the secondary woodiness, differential rate of evolution and diversification between herbaceous and woody clades and ancient dispersal patterns of this group into and inside of tropical Asia.
2014- present: Doctoral candidate, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA
2008– 2013: Graduate student, Old Dominion University, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Norfolk, VA USA. Advisor: [Timothy J. Motley]
2007: Master of Science in Botany, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal
2001: BS in Biology, Amrit Science College, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
Grants, Awards and Scholarships
2012-2014: National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant
2012: American Society of Plant Taxonomist Graduate Student Research Grant
2012: Workshop on Advances in Multiple Sequence Alignment and Phylogeny Estimation. Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
2010: ASPT Travel Grant for Botany 2010, Providence, RI, American Society of Plant Taxonomy
2009: Delzie Demaree Travel Award, Missouri Botanical Garden Annual Botanical Symposium
2008-2012: Dominion Scholar in Ecological Sciences, Old Dominion University
Neupane, S., Dessein, S, Motley, T. J. 2009. The Hedyotis-Oldenlandia-Kohautia complex (Rubiaceae) in Nepal: A study of fruit, seed and pollen characters and their taxonomic significance. Edinburgh Journal of Botany 66: 371-390.
Wikstorm, N., Neupane, S., Karehed, J., Motley, T. J., & Bremer, B. 2013. Phylogeny of Hedyotis L. (Spermacoceae, Rubiaceae): Redefining a Complex Asian-Pacific Assemblage. Taxon 62 (2).
Neupane, S., Dessein, S., Motley, T. J. 2008. The Hedyotis-Oldenlandia-Kohautia complex (Rubiaceae) in Nepal: A study of fruit, seed and pollen characters and their taxonomic significance. IV International Rubiaceae (Gentianales) Conference, Xalapa, Mexico.
Neupane, S., Dessein, Motley, T. J. 2009. The Hedyotis-Oldenlandia-Kohautia complex (Rubiaceae) in Nepal: A study of fruit, seed and pollen characters and their taxonomic significance. BGSO spring symposium, Old Dominion University.
Neupane, S. & Motley, T. J. 2010. Search for “true Hedyotis” (Rubiaceae) in Asia and its biogeographic implications. Botany 2010, Providence, RI, USA.
Neupane S. & Motley, T. J. 2010. Phylogeny of Asian-pacific Shrubby Hedyotis L. (Spermacoceae) and Preliminary Evaluations of Biogeographic Patterns, Insular Woodiness, and Fruit Evolution. The Fifth International Rubiaceae and Gentianales Conference Stockholm, Sweden.
Neupane, S. & Motley, T. J. 2011. Hedyotis L. (Rubiaceae) in Asia-Pacific: Phylogeny, Biogeography and Character Evolution. Annual BGSO spring symposium, Old Dominion University, VA, USA.
Neupane, S. & Motley, T. J. 2011. Phylogeny of Asian Hedyotis L (Rubiaceae): A model group for studying historical biogeography of Asian flora and evolution of secondary woodiness in insular settings. Minzu University, Beijing, China (Invited talk).
Neupane, S. & Motley, T. J. 2013. Origin and diversification of Hedyotis L. (Rubiaceae) in Asia. Annual BGSO spring symposium, Old Dominion University, VA, USA.
Neupane, S. & Motley, T. J. 2013. New generic combinations within Hedyotis-Oldenlandia complex (Rubiaceae). Botany 2013, New Orleans, USA.
Neupane, S. 2013. Origin and diversification of Hedyotis-Oldenlandia complex (Rubiaceae) in Asia and the Pacific. Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Neupane, S. 2014. Evolution of secondary woodiness in Hedyotis-Oldenlandia complex (Rubiaceae) in Asia and the Pacific. Evolution 2014, Raleigh, NC, USA.
Nepal: Southern plains (2003, 2004, 2005), Central Eastern Himalaya region (2001, 2004, 2008); Mexico (2008); Sri Lanka (2009); India (2009); S.E United States: Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia; China: Beijing (2011), Guangdong & Hainan (2012); Thailand (2012); Cambodia (2012); India (2012); Nepal (2012)