Evolution of the rainforest canopy: Yumiko Baba

The Australian Wet Tropics is one of the nation's most species-rich and diverse bioregions. Decades of intensive taxonomic study of the plant life of this region have documented nearly 3000 species of vascular plants of which around 700 are found no-where else other than the Australian Wet Tropics (IUCN1988' WTMA 2003), yet many species remain to be discovered.

Also supported by the Australian Tropical Herbarium (ATH), James Cook University Student (JCU) Yumiko Baba's project - "Systematics, origins and evolution of the rainforest canopy tree genus Elaeocarpus (Elaeocapaceae) in Australasia" , studies the systematics and conservation status of several rare, poorly known and undescribed canopy tree species in the Wet Tropics.

The Australian Tropical Herbarium currently holds specimens representing nearly 200 putative new species from this region that are yet to be formally described and named.Yumiko was a recipient of two years of Skyrail Rainforest Foundation Funding in 2009 and 2010.