I recently returned from an expedition to Madgascar to collect grasses. Dr Maria Vorontsova from Kew has blogged a brief account of the expedition on the eMonocot project website.
The grasses targeted for collection are in the Forest Shade Clade – a group of around 150 species that comprises both C3 and C4 species. The main purpose was to collect fresh material for DNA extraction as part of the effort to construct a densely sampled phylogeny of the Forest Shade Clade of grasses. The phylogeny will be used to explore the history and causes of photosynthesis evolution in this clade using comparative methods. Madagascar was targeted for collection as a third of the species in the clade grow in Madagascar and a fifth of the species are endemic to Madagascar.