Yale Peabody Museum Summer Internships
Flower of Garcinia asterandra, a species endemic to Madagascar (Photo: Armand Randrianasolo)
Fruit of Garcinia asterandra (Photo: Armand Randrianasolo)

Species Delimitation in Malagasy Mangosteens

Advisor: Patrick Sweeney, Collections Manager, Division of Botany

Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History


Length: 6 weeks in the summer


Project Description:

Much collection-based research revolves around describing biodiversity, an activity that is fundamental to many kinds of biological research, conservation, and other endeavors. A major focus of research within the Peabody Museum Division of Botany is on documenting and describing species-level diversity within the mangosteens.


The mangosteens (also known as the genus Garcinia) are a lineage of more than 250 species of small shrubs to medium-sized flowering trees that are a common component of lowland tropical forests throughout the world. Garcinia is probably best known for the highly prized fruit of the purple mangosteen, a tree native to southeastern Asia; however, the group exhibits several features that are of general interest to evolutionary biologists. For example, the group has exceptional floral diversity and exhibits high levels of sympatric species diversity in parts of its range.


The research undertaken during this internship will build on previous YPM internship research and center on better understaning species diversity within a closely related group of magnosteens endemic to Madagascar.  Presently within Madagascar there are 32 described species of mangosteen, but recent collecting efforts and a survey of museum specimens suggests that there could be many undescribed species. As part of this internship an interested student would gather morpholgical, distributional, and ecological data and then analyze these data to determine whether they support the existence of undescribed species of Garcinia in Madagascar.


The Yale University Herbarium is a dynamic collection housing over 360,000 specimens of vascular plants, algae, mosses, fungi, and lichens from throughout the world. Researchers utilize these specimens for a variety of purposes, from documenting the occurrence of rare and endangered species to serving as a source of genetic material for evolutionary studies.


Stipend: $2250


CLICK HERE to apply!