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Professor Toby Pennington

Professor Toby Pennington

Professor of Tropical Plant Diversity and Biogeography


 Laver Building 801b


Laver Building, University of Exeter, North Park Road, Exeter, EX4 4QE, UK


**Please visit my personal webpage which give more details of research projects”

I am a Professor of Tropical Plant Diversity and Biogeography. My research and teaching interests are broad, ranging from plant biogeography to palaeoecology to conservation. My background is in the tropics, especially Latin America, where I have worked across 10 countries. In recent years most of my research has focused on biodiversity, biogeography and ecology of dry biomes in the tropics. Much of my work has had clear implications for conservation and livelihoods, and this continues in new projects with focus on agroforestry and ecosystem restoration in some of the world’s most threatened tropical forests and savannas.

I joined the University of Exeter in 2017 from The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) where I was Head of Tropical Diversity, responsible for a group of 30 including PhD students, associate researchers and eight core-funded PhD level scientific staff. I still maintain a part-time position at RBGE.

I chair the University's Global Challenges Research Fund Funder Advisory Network (GCRF FAN) committee, and sit on the Major Funders Strategy Group and the Global Strategy Working Group.

Broad research specialisms:

Plant biogeography, plant taxonomy and floristic inventory, phylogenetics, conservation


BA Botany (Oxford)
DPhil Botany (Oxford)

Research group links

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Research interests

My research has aimed to address one of the fundamental questions of tropical biology – how and when did the huge species numbers in the tropics arise? It is grounded in fundamental descriptive taxonomic, inventory and phylogenetic research, which provides the foundation to address biogeographic and evolutionary questions.

Principal areas of recent research include:

Floristic inventory and conservation of neotropical dry forests
Seasonally dry tropical forests (SDTF) occur as fragments throughout Latin America. They are the world's most threatened tropical forest but receive far less scientific and conservation attention than rain forests. I developed and lead the DRYFLOR network that now brings together more than 100 workers in SDTF floristics and conservation from across Latin America and the Caribbean. DRYFLOR has developed the first comprehensive dataset of the flora of neotropical SDTF across their full range. DRYFLOR’s data are freely available and they help to pinpoint priority conservation areas.

Biogeography and Phylogeny
My research has focused on legumes, the third largest flowering plant family, which has a global distribution and enormous economic importance (e.g., peas, beans, lentils, soy). I have taken a leading role in the Legume Phylogeny Working Group (LPWG) that aims to develop collaborative research towards a comprehensive phylogeny and classification for legumes. Because legume trees dominate the tropical forests and savannas of Africa and the New World, they are an excellent exemplar to investigate key questions of tropical biogeography and diversification. My research has demonstrated that historical dispersal, even across major oceans, is a driving force shaping tropical plant distributions and is a key factor controlling the assembly of the world’s richest tree communities in Amazonia. Another theme has been to investigate whether the distinct ecologies of different major vegetation formations (biomes) lead to distinct patterns of biogeography and evolution over evolutionary timescales.

Other phylogenetic research addresses how plant defences against herbivores have evolved and how have they influenced species radiations in the tropics. This collaboration with University of Utah, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and University of Edinburgh has offered an excellent opportunity to develop expertise in the application of next-generation DNA sequencing to front-line tropical biodiversity problems, and we published one of the first papers on the hybrid-capture technique in plant phylogenetics.

Research projects

An overarching goal is to develop leadership in monitoring of biodiversity, carbon stored in forests, tree growth, and tree mortality in Latin America beyond rain forests and into tropical dry forests. This work has been supported by UK (NERC)-Brazil (Newton/FAPESP/FAPERJ) funding and forms a platform for ecological, biogeographic and evolutionary research.

Other research aims to address the challenges of conserving and restoring tropical vegetation in a manner that considers the livelihoods of local populations. One project in this area focuses on the legume tree genus Inga, which has fast growth rates, edible fruits and the ability to fix nitrogen, and so has excellent properties for agroforestry systems. This work has been supported by BBSRC and GCRF, and has taken advantage of hybrid-capture phylogenetic techniques to pinpoint species with high potential in agroforestry and silvo-pastoral systems. Ultimately, the work aims to enhance emerging agrosystems which integrate sustainable food production with maintenance of ecosystem services, soil fertility and biodiversity across Latin America.


Major grants

£101,000 Royal Society - Newton International Fellowship to Dr Moabe Fernandes (Brazil): Large scale macro-ecological patterns and conservation priority in the Americas: a view from thje legume family (Host/lead supervisor).

£795,000 Does hybridisation promote tree species diversification in the Amazon? NERC Standard Grant (PI 2021)

£102,000 WWF and University of Exeter Alumni (PhD scholarship). “Facilitating large-scale restoration of Brazilian Savannas” (PI/Lead supervisor,2020)

£54,910 University of Exeter GCRF Facilitation Fund “Investigating the contributions of women’s agroforestry activities to renegotiating gender equality and food security in Brazil” (PI, 2020)

£2,000,000 Resolving the current and future carbon dynamics of the dry tropics SECO. NERC large grant (coI, 2020)

£615,572 Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) for a Global Research Translation Award (GRTA). Toby Pennington is PI for one strategic priority project (£200K) within it, entitled “Diversifying tree based grazing systems to create smallholder price premium opportunities for milk production in the Amazonian Arc of Deforestation” (2019)

£820,000 NERC + 2.6M Reis [£650K] FAPESP: “Restoring Neotropical dry ecosystems - is plant functional composition the key to success?” (co-I with PI Lucy Rowland, U Exeter; 2018)

£1,374,703 NERC-AHRC Newton Fund ColombiaBio “BioResilience: Biodiversity resilience and ecosystem services in post-conflict socio-ecological systems in Colombia” (co-I with PI Ted Feldpausch, U Exeter; 2018)

£300,000 British Council “Botanical Resources Available Online (BRAVO) for the Colombian flora” (co-I with PI James Richardson, RBGE; 2018)

£62,500 British Council (Newton Fund Latin America Biodiversity Researcher Links Workshop) “Valuing biodiversity and developing ecosystem service delivery model in densely inhabited Latin American dry and montane forests” (PI; 2018)

£600,000 BBSRC (Global Challenges Research Fund): “Improving agroforestry and silvopastoral systems in Latin America by maximising species and genetic diversity of the multipurpose legume Inga” (PI; 2017).

£2,000,000 UK (RCUK) – Brazil (CONFAP-FAPESP) Newton Fund: “Nordeste: new science for a neglected biome” (co-I; 2016)

£80,760 UK (RCUK) - Brazil (CONFAP) Newton Fund: “Dry forest biomes in Brazil: biodiversity and ecosystem services” (PI; 2015)

£125,000 Leverhulme Trust International Network: “A Latin American Seasonally Dry Tropical Forest Floristic Network (DRYFLOR)” (PI; 2012)                                                                          

£589,090 NERC: “Niche evolution of South American trees and its consequences” (PI; 2011)

US$1,999,882 NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity: “Dimensions: Coexistence, herbivore host choice, and plant-herbivore evolution in the recently radiated and speciose Neotropical tree genus, Inga” (PIs Phyllis Coley, Thomas Kursar, University of Utah; funding for 4 years postdoc for Inga/herbivore phylogenetics and Inga functional genomics in Edinburgh; 2011)

£25,000 BBSRC/NERC SynTax: “Chemistry, taxonomy and diversification in tropical plants: a case study of Inga” (PI; 2011)

£78,000 UK Government Darwin Initiative: “Tree diversity, agroforestry development and reafforestation in the Peruvian Andes” (PI; 2004)

£86,000 (191,000 Swiss Francs) Swiss National Science Foundation “South American seasonally dry tropical forests: are they current refugia or the result of long distance dispersal?” (co-PI; 2003)

£166,000 UK Darwin Initiative: “Tree Diversity and Agroforestry Development in the Peruvian Amazon” (PI; 2000)

£100,000 Leverhulme Trust: “Historical Biogeography of South American Seasonal Forests” (PI; 1998)

£125,000 SEERAD Flexible Fund: “Molecular Systematics of the Economically Important Neotropical Legume Genus Inga” (co-PI; 1998)

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Journal articles

Pennington T, Griffith DM, Lehmann CER, Stromberg CER, Parr CL, Sankaran M, Ratnam J, Still CJ, Powell RL, Hanan NP, et al (In Press). Comment on “The extent of forest in dryland biomes” Griffith, D.M. Lehmann, C.E.R. Strömberg, C.A.E. Parr, C.L. PENNINGTON, R.T. Sankaran, M. Ratnam, J. Still, C.J. Powell, R.L. Hanan, N.P. Nippert, J.B. Osborne, C.P. Good, S.P. Anderson, M. Holdo, R.M. Veldman, J.W. Durigan, G. Tomlinson, K.W. Hoffmann, W.A. Archibald, S. Bond, W.J. Science
Françoso R, Dexter KG, Machado RB, Pennington T, Pinto JRR, Brandao RA, Ratter JA (In Press). Delimiting floristic biogeographic districts in the Cerrado and assessing their conservation status. Biodiversity and Conservation
Cooper DLM, Lewis SL, Sullivan MJP, Prado PI, Ter Steege H, Barbier N, Slik F, Sonké B, Ewango CEN, Adu-Bredu S, et al (2024). Consistent patterns of common species across tropical tree communities. Nature, 625(7996), 728-734. Abstract.  Author URL.
Householder JE, Wittmann F, Schöngart J, Piedade MTF, Junk WJ, Latrubesse EM, Quaresma AC, Demarchi LO, de S Lobo G, Aguiar DPPD, et al (2024). Erratum: Author Correction: One sixth of Amazonian tree diversity is dependent on river floodplains (Nature ecology & evolution (2024) 8 5 (901-911)). Nature ecology & evolution, 8(5), 1046-1047.
Luize BG, Bauman D, ter Steege H, Palma‐Silva C, do Amaral IL, de Souza Coelho L, de Almeida Matos FD, de Andrade Lima Filho D, Salomão RP, Wittmann F, et al (2024). Geography and ecology shape the phylogenetic composition of Amazonian tree communities. Journal of Biogeography Abstract.
Householder JE, Wittmann F, Schöngart J, Piedade MTF, Junk WJ, Latrubesse EM, Quaresma AC, Demarchi LO, de S Lobo G, Aguiar DPPD, et al (2024). One sixth of Amazonian tree diversity is dependent on river floodplains. Nat Ecol Evol, 8(5), 901-911. Abstract.  Author URL.
Barros FDV, Lewis K, Robertson AD, Pennington RT, Hill TC, Matthews C, Lira-Martins D, Mazzochini GG, Oliveira RS, Rowland L, et al (2023). Cost-effective restoration for carbon sequestration across Brazil's biomes. Science of the Total Environment, 876, 162600-162600.
Correa DF, Stevenson PR, Umaña MN, Coelho LDS, Lima Filho DDA, Salomão RP, Amaral ILD, Wittmann F, Matos FDDA, Castilho CV, et al (2023). Geographic patterns of tree dispersal modes in Amazonia and their ecological correlates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 32(1), 49-69. Abstract.
Ter Steege H, Pitman NCA, do Amaral IL, de Souza Coelho L, de Almeida Matos FD, de Andrade Lima Filho D, Salomão RP, Wittmann F, Castilho CV, Guevara JE, et al (2023). Mapping density, diversity and species-richness of the Amazon tree flora. Commun Biol, 6(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Osborne OG, Dobreva MP, Papadopulos AST, de Moura MSB, Brunello AT, de Queiroz LP, Pennington RT, Lloyd J, Savolainen V (2023). Mapping the root systems of individual trees in a natural community using genotyping-by-sequencing. New Phytol, 238(3), 1305-1317. Abstract.  Author URL.
Silva TT, de Lima RB, de Souza RLF, Moonlight PW, Cardoso D, Santos HKV, de Oliveira CP, Veenendaal E, de Queiroz LP, Rodrigues PMS, et al (2023). Mapping wood volume in seasonally dry vegetation of Caatinga in Bahia State, Brazil. Scientia Agricola, 80
Peripato V, Levis C, Moreira GA, Gamerman D, Ter Steege H, Pitman NCA, de Souza JG, Iriarte J, Robinson M, Junqueira AB, et al (2023). More than 10,000 pre-Columbian earthworks are still hidden throughout Amazonia. Science, 382(6666), 103-109. Abstract.  Author URL.
Ringelberg JJ, Koenen EJM, Sauter B, Aebli A, Rando JG, Iganci JR, de Queiroz LP, Murphy DJ, Gaudeul M, Bruneau A, et al (2023). Precipitation is the main axis of tropical plant phylogenetic turnover across space and time. Sci Adv, 9(7). Abstract.  Author URL.
Velásquez‐Puentes FJ, Torke BM, Barratt CD, Dexter KG, Pennington T, Pezzini FF, Zizka A, Onstein RE (2023). Pre‐adaptation and adaptation shape trait‐environment matching in the Neotropics. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 32(10), 1760-1772. Abstract.
Bennett AC, Rodrigues de Sousa T, Monteagudo-Mendoza A, Esquivel-Muelbert A, Morandi PS, Coelho de Souza F, Castro W, Duque LF, Flores Llampazo G, Manoel dos Santos R, et al (2023). Sensitivity of South American tropical forests to an extreme climate anomaly. Nature Climate Change, 13(9), 967-974.
Viana Santos H, Borges De Lima R, Figueiredo De Souza R, Cardoso D, Moonlight P, Teixeira Silva T, Pereira De Oliveira C, Alves Júnior F, Veenendaal E, Paganucci De Queiroz L, et al (2023). Spatial distribution of aboveground biomass stock in tropical dry forest in Brazil. iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, 16(2), 116-126.
Courtenay AP, Moonlight PW, Toby Pennington R, Lehmann CER (2023). Underground trees inhabit varied environmental extremes across the Afrotropics. Annals of Botany, 133(5-6), 757-772. Abstract.
Ramos G, Zartman CE, de Lima HC, Toby Pennington R, Cardoso DBOS (2022). A Taxonomic Synopsis of <i>Aldina</i>, a Florally Distinctive and Poorly Collected Amazonian Genus of Papilionoid Legumes. Systematic Botany, 47(4), 962-977. Abstract.
Torke BM, Cardoso D, Chang H, Li S-J, Niu M, Pennington RT, Stirton CH, Xu W-B, Zartman CE, Chung K-F, et al (2022). A dated molecular phylogeny and biogeographical analysis reveals the evolutionary history of the trans-pacifically disjunct tropical tree genus Ormosia (Fabaceae). Mol Phylogenet Evol, 166 Abstract.  Author URL.
Keith DA, Ferrer-Paris JR, Nicholson E, Bishop MJ, Polidoro BA, Ramirez-Llodra E, Tozer MG, Nel JL, Mac Nally R, Gregr EJ, et al (2022). A function-based typology for Earth’s ecosystems. Nature, 610(7932), 513-518. Abstract.
Silveira FAO, Ordonez-Parra CA, Moura LC, Schmidt IB, Andersen AN, Bond W, Buisson E, Durigan G, Fidelis A, Oliveira RS, et al (2022). Biome Awareness Disparity is BAD for tropical ecosystem conservation and restoration. JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY, 59(8), 1967-1975.  Author URL.
Forrister DL, Endara M, Soule AJ, Younkin GC, Mills AG, Lokvam J, Dexter KG, Pennington RT, Kidner CA, Nicholls JA, et al (2022). Diversity and divergence: evolution of secondary metabolism in the tropical tree genus <i>Inga</i>. New Phytologist, 237(2), 631-642. Abstract.
Rickenback J, Pennington RT, Lehmann CER (2022). Diversity in habit expands the environmental niche of <i>Ziziphus</i> (Rhamnaceae). Biotropica, 54(5), 1285-1299. Abstract.
Lewis K, Barros FDV, Moonlight PW, Hill TC, Oliveira RS, Schmidt IB, Sampaio AB, Pennington RT, Rowland L (2022). Identifying hotspots for ecosystem restoration across heterogeneous tropical savannah-dominated regions. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 378(1867). Abstract.
Pérez-Escobar OA, Zizka A, Bermúdez MA, Meseguer AS, Condamine FL, Hoorn C, Hooghiemstra H, Pu Y, Bogarín D, Boschman LM, et al (2022). The Andes through time: evolution and distribution of Andean floras. Trends in Plant Science, 27(4), 364-378.
Fernandes MF, Cardoso D, Pennington RT, de Queiroz LP (2022). The Origins and Historical Assembly of the Brazilian Caatinga Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 10 Abstract.
Endara M-J, Soule AJ, Forrister DL, Dexter KG, Pennington RT, Nicholls JA, Loiseau O, Kursar TA, Coley PD (2022). The role of plant secondary metabolites in shaping regional and local plant community assembly. JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, 110(1), 34-45.  Author URL.
Bacon CD, Gutierrez-Pinto N, Flantua S, Castellanos Suarez D, Jaramillo C, Pennington RT, Antonelli A (2022). The seasonally dry tropical forest species <i>Cavanillesia chicamochae</i> has a middle Quaternary origin. BIOTROPICA, 54(1), 91-99.  Author URL.
Silva MC, Moonlight P, Oliveira RS, Pennington RT, Rowland L (2022). Toward diverse seed sourcing to upscale ecological restoration in the Brazilian Cerrado. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 10 Abstract.
Serrano J, Richardson JE, Milne RI, Mondragon GA, Hawkins JA, Bartish IV, Gonzalez M, Chave J, Madriñán S, Cárdenas D, et al (2021). Andean orogeny and the diversification of lowland neotropical rain forest trees: a case study in Sapotaceae. Global and Planetary Change, 201 Abstract.
Cardoso D, Moonlight PW, Ramos G, Oatley G, Dudley C, Gagnon E, Queiroz LPD, Pennington RT, Särkinen TE (2021). Defining Biologically Meaningful Biomes Through Floristic, Functional, and Phylogenetic Data. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 9 Abstract.
Schley RJ, Twyford AD, Pennington RT (2021). Hybridization: a ‘double-edged sword’ for Neotropical plant diversity. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 199(1), 331-356.
Oliveira-Filho AT, Dexter KG, Pennington RT, Simon MF, Bueno ML, Neves DM (2021). On the floristic identity of Amazonian vegetation types. Biotropica, 53(3), 767-777. Abstract.
Pezzini FF, Dexter KG, De Carvalho-Sobrinho JG, Kidner CA, Nicholls JA, De Queiroz LP, Pennington RT (2021). Phylogeny and biogeography of Ceiba Mill. (Malvaceae, Bombacoideae). Frontiers of Biogeography, 13(2).
Pennington RT, Baker TR (2021). Plants, people and long-term ecological monitoring in the tropics. Plants People Planet, 3(3), 222-228.
Pilon NAL, Durigan G, Rickenback J, Pennington RT, Dexter KG, Hoffmann WA, Abreu RCR, Lehmann CER (2021). Shade alters savanna grass layer structure and function along a gradient of canopy cover. Journal of Vegetation Science, 32(1). Abstract.
Pos E, de Souza Coelho L, de Andrade Lima Filho D, Salomão RP, Amaral IL, de Almeida Matos FD, Castilho CV, Phillips OL, Guevara JE, de Jesus Veiga Carim M, et al (2021). Unraveling Amazon tree community assembly using Maximum Information Entropy: a quantitative analysis of tropical forest ecology.
Ter Steege H, Prado PI, Lima RAFD, Pos E, de Souza Coelho L, de Andrade Lima Filho D, Salomão RP, Amaral IL, de Almeida Matos FD, Castilho CV, et al (2020). Biased-corrected richness estimates for the Amazonian tree flora. Sci Rep, 10(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Neves DM, Dexter KG, Baker TR, Coelho de Souza F, Oliveira-Filho AT, Queiroz LP, Lima HC, Simon MF, Lewis GP, Segovia RA, et al (2020). Evolutionary diversity in tropical tree communities peaks at intermediate precipitation. Scientific Reports, 10(1). Abstract.
Moonlight PW, Banda‐R K, Phillips OL, Dexter KG, Pennington RT, Baker TR, C. de Lima H, Fajardo L, González‐M. R, Linares‐Palomino R, et al (2020). Expanding tropical forest monitoring into Dry Forests: the DRYFLOR protocol for permanent plots. PLANTS, PEOPLE, PLANET, 3(3), 295-300. Abstract.
Segovia RA, Pennington RT, Baker TR, Coelho de Souza F, Neves DM, Davis CC, Armesto JJ, Olivera-Filho AT, Dexter KG (2020). Freezing and water availability structure the evolutionary diversity of trees across the Americas. Science Advances, 6(19). Abstract.
Koenen EJM, Kidner C, de Souza ÉR, Simon MF, Iganci JR, Nicholls JA, Brown GK, de Queiroz LP, Luckow M, Lewis GP, et al (2020). Hybrid capture of 964 nuclear genes resolves evolutionary relationships in the mimosoid legumes and reveals the polytomous origins of a large pantropical radiation. American Journal of Botany, 107(12), 1710-1735. Abstract.
Schley RJ, Pennington RT, Pérez-Escobar OA, Helmstetter AJ, de la Estrella M, Larridon I, Sabino Kikuchi IAB, Barraclough TG, Forest F, Klitgård B, et al (2020). Introgression across evolutionary scales suggests reticulation contributes to Amazonian tree diversity. Mol Ecol, 29(21), 4170-4185. Abstract.  Author URL.
Koenen EJM, Ojeda DI, Steeves R, Migliore J, Bakker FT, Wieringa JJ, Kidner C, Hardy OJ, Pennington RT, Bruneau A, et al (2020). Large-scale genomic sequence data resolve the deepest divergences in the legume phylogeny and support a near-simultaneous evolutionary origin of all six subfamilies. New Phytol, 225(3), 1355-1369. Abstract.  Author URL.
Draper FC, Baker TR, Baraloto C, Chave J, Costa F, Martin RE, Pennington RT, Vicentini A, Asner GP (2020). Quantifying Tropical Plant Diversity Requires an Integrated Technological Approach. Trends Ecol Evol, 35(12), 1100-1109. Abstract.  Author URL.
Koenen EJM, Ojeda DI, Bakker FT, Wieringa JJ, Kidner C, Hardy OJ, Pennington RT, Herendeen PS, Bruneau A, Hughes CE, et al (2020). The Origin of the Legumes is a Complex Paleopolyploid Phylogenomic Tangle Closely Associated with the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) Mass Extinction Event. Systematic Biology, 70(3), 508-526. Abstract.
Amador-Jiménez M, Millner N, Palmer C, Pennington RT, Sileci L (2020). The Unintended Impact of Colombia’s Covid-19 Lockdown on Forest Fires. Environmental and Resource Economics, 76(4), 1081-1105. Abstract.
Moonlight PW, de Miranda PLS, Cardoso D, Dexter KG, Oliveira-Filho AT, Pennington RT, Ramos G, Sarkinen TE (2020). The strengths and weaknesses of species distribution models in biome delimitation. GLOBAL ECOLOGY AND BIOGEOGRAPHY, 29(10), 1770-1784.  Author URL.
Zizka A, Carvalho-Sobrinho JG, Pennington RT, Queiroz LP, Alcantara S, Baum DA, Bacon CD, Antonelli A (2020). Transitions between biomes are common and directional in Bombacoideae (Malvaceae). Journal of Biogeography, 47(6), 1310-1321. Abstract.
Honorio Coronado EN, Dexter KG, Hart ML, Phillips OL, Pennington RT (2019). Comparative phylogeography of five widespread tree species: Insights into the history of western Amazonia. Ecology and Evolution, 9(12), 7333-7345. Abstract.
Coelho de Souza F, Dexter KG, Phillips OL, Pennington RT, Neves D, Sullivan MJP, Alvarez-Davila E, Alves Á, Amaral I, Andrade A, et al (2019). Evolutionary diversity is associated with wood productivity in Amazonian forests. Nat Ecol Evol, 3(12), 1754-1761. Abstract.  Author URL.
Dick CW, Pennington RT (2019). History and Geography of Neotropical Tree Diversity. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 50(1), 279-301. Abstract.
Coley PD, Endara M-J, Ghabash G, Kidner CA, Nicholls JA, Pennington T, Mills AG, Soule AJ, Stone GN, Lemes MR, et al (2019). Macroevolutionary patterns in overexpression of tyrosine: an anti‐herbivore defence in a speciose tropical tree genus, Inga (Fabaceae). Journal of Ecology
ter Steege H, Henkel TW, Helal N, Marimon BS, Marimon-Junior BH, Huth A, Groeneveld J, Sabatier D, Coelho LDS, Filho DDAL, et al (2019). Rarity of monodominance in hyperdiverse Amazonian forests. Scientific Reports, 9(1). Abstract.
da Cruz DT, Idarraga A, Banda K, Cogollo A, van den Berg C, de Queiroz L, Pennington T, Lavin M, Cardoso D (2018). Ancient speciation of the papilionoid legume Luetzelburgia jacana, a newly discovered species in an inter-Andean seasonally dry valley of Colombia. Taxon
Pennington T, de Lima HC, Inches F, Watherston N (2018). Andira anthelmia. Curtis Botanical Magazine, 35, 125-133.
Endara M, Coley PD, Wiggins NL, Forrister DL, Younkin GC, Nicholls JA, Pennington RT, Dexter KG, Kidner CA, Stone GN, et al (2018). Chemocoding as an identification tool where morphological‐ and <scp>DNA</scp>‐based methods fall short: <i>Inga</i> as a case study. New Phytologist, 218(2), 847-858. Abstract.
Lavin M, Pennington T, Hughes CE, Lewis GP, Delgado-Salinas A, Duno de Stefano R, de Queiroz LP, Cardoso D, Wojciechowski MF (2018). DNA Sequence Variation among Conspecific Accessions of the Legume Coursetia caribaea Reveals Geographically Localized Clades Here Ranked as Species. Systematic Botany, 43, 664-675.
Dexter KG, Pennington T, Oliveira-Filho AT, Bueno ML, Silva de Miranda PL, Neves D (2018). Inserting Tropical Dry Forests into the Discussion on Biome Transitions in the Tropics. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Neves DM, Dexter KG, Pennington RT, Bueno ML, de Miranda PLS, Oliveira-Filho AT (2018). Lack of floristic identity in campos rupestres—A hyperdiverse mosaic of rocky montane savannas in South America. Flora: Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants, 238, 24-31. Abstract.
Gomes VHF, IJff SD, Raes N, Amaral IL, Salomão RP, de Souza Coelho L, de Almeida Matos FD, Castilho CV, de Andrade Lima Filho D, López DC, et al (2018). Species Distribution Modelling: Contrasting presence-only models with plot abundance data. Sci Rep, 8(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Nazre M, Newman MF, Pennington T, Middleton D (2018). Taxonomic Revision of Garcinia Section Garcinia (Clusiaceae). Phytotaxa
Bueno ML, Dexter KG, Pennington RT, Pontara V, Neves DM, Ratter JA, de Oliveira‐Filho AT (2018). The environmental triangle of the Cerrado Domain: Ecological factors driving shifts in tree species composition between forests and savannas. Journal of Ecology, 106(5), 2109-2120. Abstract.
Endara M-J, Nicholls J, Coley PD, Forrister DL, Younkin GC, Dexter KG, Kidner CA, Pennington T, Stone G, Kursar TA, et al (2018). Tracking of host defenses and phylogeny during the radiation of neotropical Inga-feeding sawflies. Frontiers in Plant Science
Pennington RT, Lehmann CER, Rowland LM (2018). Tropical savannas and dry forests. Current Biology, 28(9), R541-R545. Abstract.
Silva de Miranda P, Oliveira Filho A, Pennington T, Neves D, Baker T, Dexter KG (2018). Using tree species inventories to map biomes and assess their climatic overlaps in lowland tropical South America. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 27, 899-912.
Pennington RT, Quintana C, Ulloa Ulloa C, Balslev H (2017). BIOGEOGRAPHIC BARRIERS IN THE ANDES: IS THE AMOTAPE – HUANCABAMBA ZONE a DISPERSAL BARRIER FOR DRY FOREST PLANTS?. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 102, 542-550.
Endara M-J, Coley PD, Ghabash G, Nicholls JA, Dexter KG, Donoso DA, Stone GN, Pennington RT, Kursar TA (2017). Coevolutionary arms race versus host defense chase in a tropical herbivore–plant system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(36), E7499-E7505.
Griffith DM, Lehmann CER, Stromberg CAE, Parr CL, Pennington T, Sankaran M, Ratnam J, Still CJ, Powell RL, Hanan NP, et al (2017). Comment on “The extent of forest in dryland biomes”. Science
Dexter KG, Lavin M, Torke BM, Twyford AD, Kursar TA, Coley PD, Drake C, Hollands R, Pennington RT (2017). Dispersal assembly of rain forest tree communities across the Amazon basin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(10), 2645-2650.
Toby Pennington R, Lavin M (2017). Dispersal, isolation and diversification with continued gene flow in an Andean tropical dry forest. Mol Ecol, 26(13), 3327-3329. Abstract.  Author URL.
Neves DM, Dexter KG, Pennington RT, Valente ASM, Bueno ML, Eisenlohr PV, Fontes MAL, Miranda PLS, Moreira SN, Rezende VL, et al (2017). Dissecting a biodiversity hotspot: the importance of environmentally marginal habitats in the Atlantic Forest Domain of South America. Diversity and Distributions, 23(8), 898-909. Abstract.
Bueno ML, Pennington RT, Dexter KG, Kamino LHY, Pontara V, Neves DM, Ratter JA, de Oliveira-Filho AT (2017). Effects of Quaternary climatic fluctuations on the distribution of Neotropical savanna tree species. Ecography, 40(3), 403-414. Abstract.
DRYFLOR, Pennington RT, Banda-R K, Delgado-Salinas A, Dexter KG, Linares-Palomino R, Olivera-Filho A, Prado D, Quintana C, Riina R, et al (2017). Forest conservation: Humans' handprints—Response. Science, 355(6324), 467-467.
DRYFLOR, Pennington RT, Banda-R K, Delgado-Salinas A, Dexter KG, Galetti L, Linares-Palomino R, Maturo HM, Mogni V, Oakley L, et al (2017). Forest conservation: Remember Gran Chaco—Response. Science, 355(6324), 465-466.
Gómez-Gutiérrez MC, Pennington RT, Neaves LE, Milne RI, Madriñán S, Richardson JE (2017). Genetic diversity in the Andes: variation within and between the South American species of Oreobolus R. Br. (Cyperaceae). Alpine Botany, 127(2), 155-170.
Rezende VL, Dexter KG, Pennington RT, Oliveira-Filho AT (2017). Geographical variation in the evolutionary diversity of tree communities across southern South America. Journal of Biogeography, 44(10), 2365-2375. Abstract.
Baker TR, Pennington RT, Dexter KG, Fine PVA, Fortune-Hopkins H, Honorio EN, Huamantupa-Chuquimaco I, Klitgård BB, Lewis GP, de Lima HC, et al (2017). Maximising Synergy among Tropical Plant Systematists, Ecologists, and Evolutionary Biologists. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 32(4), 258-267.
Heckenhauer J, Abu Salim K, Chase MW, Dexter KG, Pennington RT, Tan S, Kaye ME, Samuel R (2017). Plant DNA barcodes and assessment of phylogenetic community structure of a tropical mixed dipterocarp forest in Brunei Darussalam (Borneo). PLOS ONE, 12(10), e0185861-e0185861.
Dunning LT, Liabot A-L, Olofsson JK, Smith EK, Vorontsova MS, Besnard G, Simpson KJ, Lundgren MR, Addicott E, Gallagher RV, et al (2017). The recent and rapid spread of <i>Themeda triandra</i>. Botany Letters, 164(4), 327-337.
García-Villacorta R, Dexter KG, Pennington T (2016). Amazonian White-Sand Forests Show Strong Floristic Links with Surrounding Oligotrophic Habitats and the Guiana Shield. Biotropica, 48(1), 47-57. Abstract.
Galetti LA, Mogni VY, Oakley LJ, Pennington RT, Prado DE (2016). Cynophalla polyantha (Capparaceae), new record for the Argentine flora. Boletin de la Sociedad Argentina de Botanica, 51(2), 373-378. Abstract.
Richardson JE, Pennington RT (2016). Editorial: Origin of tropical diversity: from clades to communities. Frontiers in Genetics, 7(OCT).
Coelho de Souza F, Dexter KG, Phillips OL, Brienen RJW, Chave J, Galbraith DR, Lopez Gonzalez G, Monteagudo Mendoza A, Pennington RT, Poorter L, et al (2016). Evolutionary heritage influences Amazon tree ecology. Proceedings. Biological sciences, 283(1844). Abstract.
Pontara V, Bueno ML, Garcia LE, Oliveira-Filho AT, Pennington TR, Burslem DFRP, Lemos-Filho JP (2016). Fine-scale variation in topography and seasonality determine radial growth of an endangered tree in Brazilian Atlantic forest. Plant and Soil, 403(1-2), 115-128. Abstract.
Banda-R K, Delgado-Salinas A, Dexter KG, Linares-Palomino R, Oliveira-Filho A, Prado D, Pullan M, Quintana C, Riina R, Rodriguez M. GM, et al (2016). Plant diversity patterns in neotropical dry forests and their conservation implications. Science, 353(6306), 1383-1387.
Pennington RT, Lavin M (2016). The contrasting nature of woody plant species in different neotropical forest biomes reflects differences in ecological stability. New Phytologist, 210(1), 25-37. Abstract.
Neves DM, Dexter KG, Pennington RT, Bueno ML, Oliveira Filho AT (2015). Environmental and historical controls of floristic composition across the South American Dry Diagonal. Journal of Biogeography, 42(8), 1566-1576. Abstract.
Cardoso D, São-Mateus WMB, da Cruz DT, Zartman CE, Komura DL, Kite G, Prenner G, Wieringa JJ, Clark A, Lewis G, et al (2015). Filling in the gaps of the papilionoid legume phylogeny: the enigmatic Amazonian genus Petaladenium is a new branch of the early-diverging Amburaneae clade. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 84, 112-124. Abstract.
Zappi DC, Ranzato Filardi FL, Leitman P, Souza VC, Walter BMT, Pirani JR, Morim MP, Queiroz LP, Cavalcanti TB, Mansano VF, et al (2015). Growing knowledge: an overview of Seed Plant diversity in Brazil. Rodriguesia, 66(4), 1085-1113. Abstract.
Honorio Coronado EN, Dexter KG, Pennington RT, Chave J, Lewis SL, Alexiades MN, Alvarez E, Alves de Oliveira A, Amaral IL, Araujo-Murakami A, et al (2015). Phylogenetic diversity of Amazonian tree communities. Diversity and Distributions Abstract.
Adhikari B, Milne R, Pennington RT, Särkinen T, Pendry CA (2015). Systematics and biogeography of Berberis s.l. inferred from nuclear ITS and chloroplast ndhF gene sequences. Taxon, 64(1), 39-48. Abstract.
Pennington RT, Hughes M, Moonlight PW (2015). The Origins of Tropical Rainforest Hyperdiversity. Trends in Plant Science, 20(11), 693-695. Abstract.
Nicholls JA, Pennington RT, Koenen EJM, Hughes CE, Hearn J, Bunnefeld L, Dexter KG, Stone GN, Kidner CA (2015). Using targeted enrichment of nuclear genes to increase phylogenetic resolution in the neotropical rain forest genus Inga (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae). Frontiers in Plant Science, 6(September). Abstract.
Baker TR, Pennington RT, Magallon S, Gloor E, Laurance WF, Alexiades M, Alvarez E, Araujo A, Arets EJMM, Aymard G, et al (2014). Fast demographic traits promote high diversification rates of Amazonian trees. Ecol Lett, 17(5), 527-536. Abstract.  Author URL.
Honorio Coronado EN, Dexter KG, Poelchau MF, Hollingsworth PM, Phillips OL, Pennington RT (2014). Ficus insipida subsp. insipida (Moraceae) reveals the role of ecology in the phylogeography of widespread Neotropical rain forest tree species. Journal of Biogeography, 41(9), 1697-1709. Abstract.
Cárdenas ML, Gosling WD, Pennington RT, Poole I, Sherlock SC, Mothes P (2014). Forests of the tropical eastern Andean flank during the middle Pleistocene. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 393, 76-89. Abstract.
Whitney BS, Mayle FE, Burn MJ, Guillén R, Chavez E, Pennington RT (2014). Sensitivity of Bolivian seasonally-dry tropical forest to precipitation and temperature changes over glacial-interglacial timescales. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 23(1), 1-14. Abstract.
Filimban FZ, Mackinder B, Knees SG, Pennington RT (2014). Studies in the Flora of Arabia: XXX. A Synopsis of the native and naturalised species of Senna (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae) in the Arabian Peninsula. Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 71(1), 117-132. Abstract.
Pennington RT, Hughes CE (2014). The remarkable congruence of New and Old World savanna origins. New Phytologist, 204(1), 4-6.
Iganci JRV, Miotto STS, Souza-Chies TT, Särkinen TE, Simpson BB, Simon MF, Pennington RT (2013). Diversification history of Adesmia ser. psoraleoides (Leguminosae): Evolutionary processes and the colonization of the southern Brazilian highland grasslands. South African Journal of Botany, 89, 257-264. Abstract.
Vatanparast M, Klitgård BB, Adema FACB, Pennington RT, Yahara T, Kajita T (2013). First molecular phylogeny of the pantropical genus Dalbergia: Implications for infrageneric circumscription and biogeography. South African Journal of Botany, 89, 143-149. Abstract.
Yahara T, Javadi F, Onoda Y, de Queiroz LP, Faith DP, Prado DE, Akasaka M, Kadoya T, Ishihama F, Davies S, et al (2013). Global legume diversity assessment: Concepts, key indicators, and strategies. Taxon, 62(2), 249-266. Abstract.
Hughes CE, Pennington RT, Antonelli A (2013). Neotropical Plant Evolution: Assembling the Big Picture. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 171(1), 1-18. Abstract.
Cardoso D, Pennington RT, de Queiroz LP, Boatwright JS, Van Wyk BE, Wojciechowski MF, Lavin M (2013). Reconstructing the deep-branching relationships of the papilionoid legumes. South African Journal of Botany, 89, 58-75. Abstract.
Oliveira-Filho AT, Cardoso D, Schrire BD, Lewis GP, Pennington RT, Brummer TJ, Rotella J, Lavin M (2013). Stability structures tropical woody plant diversity more than seasonality: Insights into the ecology of high legume-succulent-plant biodiversity. South African Journal of Botany, 89, 42-57. Abstract.
Borges L, Bruneau A, Cardoso D, Crisp M, Delgado-Salinas A, Doyle JJ, Egan A, Herendeen PS, Hughes C, Kenicer G, et al (2013). Towards a new classification system for legumes: Progress report from the 6th International Legume Conference. South African Journal of Botany, 89, 3-9. Abstract.
Adhikari B, Pendry CA, Pennington RT, Milne RI (2012). A revision of berberis S.S. (Berberidaceae) in Nepal. Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 69(3), 447-522. Abstract.
Simon MF, Pennington T (2012). Evidence for adaptation to fire regimes in the tropical savannas of the Brazilian Cerrado. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 173(6), 711-723. Abstract.
Särkinen T, Pennington RT, Lavin M, Simon MF, Hughes CE (2012). Evolutionary islands in the Andes: Persistence and isolation explain high endemism in Andean dry tropical forests. Journal of Biogeography, 39(5), 884-900. Abstract.
Caetano S, Currat M, Pennington RT, Prado D, Excoffier L, Naciri Y (2012). Recent colonization of the Galápagos by the tree Geoffroea spinosa Jacq. (Leguminosae). Molecular Ecology, 21(11), 2743-2760. Abstract.
Schaefer H, Hechenleitner P, Santos-Guerra A, De Sequeira MM, Pennington RT, Kenicer G, Carine MA (2012). Systematics, biogeography, and character evolution of the legume tribe Fabeae with special focus on the middle-Atlantic island lineages. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 12(1). Abstract.
Whitney BS, Mayle FE, Punyasena SW, Fitzpatrick KA, Burn MJ, Guillen R, Chavez E, Mann D, Pennington RT, Metcalfe SE, et al (2011). A 45kyr palaeoclimate record from the lowland interior of tropical South America. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 307(1-4), 177-192.
Milliken W, Zappi D, Sasaki D, Hopkins M, Pennington RT (2011). Amazon vegetation: how much don’t we know and how much does it matter?. Kew Bulletin, 65(4), 691-709.
IGANCI JRV, HEIDEN G, MIOTTO STS, PENNINGTON RT (2011). Campos de Cima da Serra: the Brazilian Subtropical Highland Grasslands show an unexpected level of plant endemism. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 167(4), 378-393.
Jones HT, Mayle FE, Pennington RT, Killeen TJ (2011). Characterisation of Bolivian savanna ecosystems by their modern pollen rain and implications for fossil pollen records. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 164(3-4), 223-237. Abstract.
Pennington RT, Daza A, Reynel C, Lavin M (2011). Poissonia eriantha (Leguminosae) from Cuzco, Peru: an overlooked species underscores a pattern of narrow endemism common to seasonally dry neotropical vegetation. Systematic Botany, 36(1), 59-68. Abstract.
Cárdenas ML, Gosling WD, Sherlock SC, Poole I, Pennington RT, Mothes P (2011). Response to comment on "The response of vegetation on the Andean flank in Western Amazonia to Pleistocene climate change". Science, 333(6051). Abstract.
Cárdenas ML, Gosling WD, Sherlock SC, Poole I, Pennington RT, Mothes P (2011). The response of vegetation on the Andean Flank in Western Amazonia to Pleistocene climate change. Science, 331(6020), 1055-1058. Abstract.
Barlow J, Ewers RM, Anderson L, Aragao LEOC, Baker TR, Boyd E, Feldpausch TR, Gloor E, Hall A, Malhi Y, et al (2011). Using learning networks to understand complex systems: a case study of biological, geophysical and social research in the Amazon. Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc, 86(2), 457-474. Abstract.  Author URL.
Ireland HE, Kite GC, Veitch NC, Chase MW, Schrire B, Lavin M, Linares J, Pennington RT (2010). Biogeographical, ecological and morphological structure in a phylogenetic analysis of Ateleia (Swartzieae, Fabaceae) derived from combined molecular, morphological and chemical data. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 162(1), 39-53. Abstract.
Pennington T, Ratter J, Gibby M, Blackmore S (2010). Brazilian agriculture. Economist, 396(8699).
Cody S, Richardson JE, Rull V, Ellis C, Pennington RT (2010). The great American biotic interchange revisited. Ecography, 33(2), 326-332. Abstract.
Smith GF, Figueiredo E, Pennington T, Davila P (2009). Getting that grant: How to convince an evaluation panel that your proposal is worthy of funding. Taxon, 58(2), 675-677. Abstract.
Honorio Coronado EN, Baker TR, Phillips OL, Pitman NCA, Pennington RT, Vásquez Martínez R, Monteagudo A, Mogollón H, Dávila Cardozo N, Ríos M, et al (2009). Multi-scale comparisons of tree composition in Amazonian terra firme forests. Biogeosciences, 6(11), 2719-2731. Abstract.
Simon MF, Grether R, De Queiroz LP, Skemae C, Pennington RT, Hughes CE (2009). Recent assembly of the Cerrado, a neotropical plant diversity hotspot, by in situ evolution of adaptations to fire. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(48), 20359-20364. Abstract.
Pirie MD, Klitgaard BB, Pennington RT (2009). Revision and biogeography of Centrolobium (Leguminosae - Papilionoideae). Systematic Botany, 34(2), 345-359. Abstract.
Hollingsworth ML, Andra Clark A, Forrest LL, Richardson J, Pennington RT, Long DG, Cowan R, Chase MW, Gaudeul M, Hollingsworth PM, et al (2009). Selecting barcoding loci for plants: Evaluation of seven candidate loci with species-level sampling in three divergent groups of land plants. Molecular Ecology Resources, 9(2), 439-457. Abstract.
Kursar TA, Dexter KG, Lokvam J, Pennington RT, Richardson JE, Weber MG, Murakami ET, Drake C, McGregor R, Coley PD, et al (2009). The evolution of antiherbivore defenses and their contribution to species coexistence in the tropical tree genus Inga. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(43), 18073-18078. Abstract.
Pennington RT, Lavin M, Oliveira-Filho A (2009). Woody plant diversity, evolution, and ecology in the tropics: Perspectives from seasonally dry tropical forests. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 40, 437-457. Abstract.
Honorio EN, Pennington TR, Freitas LA, Nebel G, Baker TR (2008). Análisis de la composición florística de los bosques de Jenaro Herrera, Loreto, Perú. Revista Peruana de Biología, 15(1), 53-60.
Dawson IK, Hollingsworth PM, Doyle JJ, Kresovich S, Weber JC, Sotelo Montes C, Pennington TD, Pennington RT (2008). Origins and genetic conservation of tropical trees in agroforestry systems: a case study from the Peruvian Amazon. Conservation Genetics, 9(2), 361-372. Abstract.
Caetano S, Prado D, Pennington RT, Beck S, Oliveira-Filho A, Spichiger R, Naciri Y (2008). The history of Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests in eastern South America: Inferences from the genetic structure of the tree Astronium urundeuva (Anacardiaceae). Molecular Ecology, 17(13), 3147-3159. Abstract.
Citerne HL, Pennington RT, Cronk QCB (2006). An apparent reversal in floral symmetry in the legume Cadia is a homeotic transformation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(32), 12017-12020. Abstract.
Pennington RT, Richardson JE, Lavin M (2006). Insights into the historical construction of species-rich biomes from dated plant phylogenies, neutral ecological theory and phylogenetic community structure. New Phytologist, 172(4), 605-616. Abstract.
Cronk Q, Ojeda I, Pennington RT (2006). Legume comparative genomics: Progress in phylogenetics and phylogenomics. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 9(2), 99-103. Abstract.
Wilkie P, Clark A, Pennington RT, Cheek M, Bayer C, Wilcock CC (2006). Phylogenetic relationships within the subfamily sterculioideae (Malvaceae/Sterculiaceae-Sterculieae) using the chloroplast gene ndhF. Systematic Botany, 31(1), 160-170. Abstract.
Naciri-Graven Y, Caetano S, Prado D, Pennington RT, Spichiger R (2005). Development and characterization of 11 microsatellite markers in a widespread Neotropical seasonally dry forest tree species, Geoffroea spinosa Jacq. (Leguminosae). Molecular Ecology Notes, 5(3), 542-545. Abstract.
Coley PD, Lokvam J, Rudolph K, Bromberg K, Sackett TE, Wright L, Brenes-Arguedas T, Dvorett D, Ring S, Clark A, et al (2005). Divergent defensive strategies of young leaves in two species of Inga. Ecology, 86(10), 2633-2643. Abstract.
Hollingsworth PM, Dawson IK, Goodall-Copestake WP, Richardson JE, Weber JC, Montes CS, Pennington RT (2005). Do farmers reduce genetic diversity when they domesticate tropical trees? a case study from Amazonia. Molecular Ecology, 14(2), 497-501. Abstract.
Kenicer GJ, Kajita T, Pennington RT, Murata J (2005). Systematics and biogeography of Lathyrus (Leguminosae) based on internal transcribed spacer and cpDNA sequence data. American Journal of Botany, 92(7), 1199-1209. Abstract.
Bramley GLC, Pennington RT, Zakaria R, Tjitrosoedirdjo SS, Cronk QCB (2004). Assembly of tropical plant diversity on a local scale: Cyrtandra (Gesneriaceae) on Mount Kerinci, Sumatra. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 81(1), 49-62. Abstract.
Pennington RT, Cronk QCB, Richardson JA (2004). Introduction and synthesis: plant phylogeny and the origin of major biomes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 359(1450), 1455-1464. Abstract.
Lavin M, Schrire BP, Lewis G, Pennington RT, Delgado–Salinas A, Thulin M, Hughes CE, Matos AB, Wojciechowski MF (2004). Metacommunity process rather than continental tectonic history better explains geographically structured phylogenies in legumes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 359(1450), 1509-1522. Abstract.
Plana V, Gascoigne A, Forrest LL, Harris D, Pennington RT (2004). Pleistocene and pre-Pleistocene Begonia speciation in Africa. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 31(2), 449-461. Abstract.
Citerne HL, Luo D, Pennington RT, Coen E, Cronk QCB (2003). A phylogenomic investigation of CYCLOIDEA-like TCP genes in the leguminosae. Plant Physiology, 131(3), 1042-1053. Abstract.
Bridgewater S, Pennington RT, Reynel CA, Daza A, Pennington TD (2003). A preliminary floristic and phytogeographic analysis of the woody flora of seasonally dry forests in northern Peru. Candollea, 58(PART 1), 129-148. Abstract.
Bridgewater S, Pennington RT, Reynel CA, Daza A, Pennington TD (2003). A preliminary floristic and phytogeographic analysis of the woody flora of seasonally dry forests in northern Peru. CANDOLLEA, 58(1), 129-148.  Author URL.
Kite GC, Pennington RT (2003). Quinolizidine alkaloid status of Styphnolobium and Cladrastis (Leguminosae). Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 31(12), 1409-1416. Abstract.
Lewis GP, Knudsen JT, Klitgaard BB, Pennington RT (2003). The floral scent of Cyathostegia mathewsii (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae) and preliminary observations on reproductive biology. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 31(9), 951-962. Abstract.
Pennington RT (2002). (1533) Proposal to change the authorship of Andira, nom. cons. (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae) and to conserve it with a conserved type. Taxon, 51(2), 385-386.
Cortés-Burns H, Schrire BD, Pennington RT, Miller AG (2002). A taxonomic revision of Socotran Indigofereae (Leguminosae - Papilionoideae) with insights into the phytogeographical links of the Socotran archipelago. Nordic Journal of Botany, 22(6), 693-711. Abstract.
Warwick MC, Pennington RT (2002). Revision of Cyclolobium (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae). Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 59(2), 247-257. Abstract.
Moylan EC, Pennington RT, Scotland RW (2002). Taxonomic account of Hemigraphis Nees (Strobilanthinae-Acanthaceae) from the Philippines. Kew Bulletin, 57(4), 769-825. Abstract.
Pennington RT, Lavin M, Ireland H, Klitgaard B, Preston J, Hu JM (2001). Phylogenetic relationships of basal Papilionoid legumes based upon sequences of the chloroplast trnL intron. Systematic Botany, 26(3), 537-556. Abstract.
Richardson JE, Pennington RT, Pennington TD, Hollingsworth PM (2001). Rapid Diversification of a Species-Rich Genus of Neotropical Rain Forest Trees. Science, 293(5538), 2242-2245. Abstract.
Lavin M, Pennington RT, Klitgaard BB, Sprent JI, De Lima HC, Gasson PE (2001). The dalbergioid legumes (fabaceae): Delimitation of a pantropical monophyletic clade. American Journal of Botany, 88(3), 503-533. Abstract.
Lavin M, Thulin M, Labat J-N, Pennington RT (2000). Africa, the Odd Man Out: Molecular Biogeography of Dalbergioid Legumes (Fabaceae) Suggests Otherwise. Systematic Botany, 25(3), 449-449.
PENNINGTON R, GEMEINHOLZER B (2000). Cryptic clades, fruit wall morphology and biology of (Leguminosae: Papilionoideae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 134(1-2), 267-286.
Ireland H, Pennington RT (1999). A revision of Geoffroea (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae). Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 56(3), 329-347. Abstract.
Pennington RT, Aymard G, Cuello N (1997). A New Species of Andira (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae) from the Venezuelan Guayana. Novon, 7(1), 72-72.
Pennington RT (1996). Molecular and Morphological Data Provide Phylogenetic Resolution at Different Hierarchical Levels in Andira. Systematic Biology, 45(4), 496-515.
Pennington RT (1996). Molecular and morphological data provide phylogenetic resolution at different hierarchical levels in Andira. SYSTEMATIC BIOLOGY, 45(4), 496-515.  Author URL.
Pennington T, De Lima HC (1996). Two new species of Andira (Leguminosae) from Brazil and the influence of dispersal in determining their distributions. Kew Bulletin, 50(3), 557-566. Abstract.
Pennington RT (1995). Cladistic analysis of chloroplast DNA restriction site characters in Andira (Leguminosae: Dalbergieae). American Journal of Botany, 82(4), 526-534.


Pennington RT, Dick CW (2011). Diversification of the Amazonian Flora and its Relation to key Geological and Environmental Events: a Molecular Perspective. In  (Ed) Amazonia: Landscape and Species Evolution: a look into the past, 373-385. Abstract.
Pennington RT, Dick CW (2010). Diversification of the Amazonian Flora and its Relation to key Geological and Environmental Events: a Molecular Perspective. In  (Ed) Amazonia, Landscape and Species Evolution: a Look into the Past, 373-385. Abstract.


Pennington RT, Lavin M, Prado DE, Pendry CA, Pell SK, Butterworth CA (2004). Historical climate change and speciation: Neotropical seasonally dry forest plants show patterns of both Tertiary and Quaternary diversification. Abstract.
Pennington RT, Dick CW (2004). The role of immigrants in the assembly of the South American rainforest tree flora. Abstract.

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External Engagement and Impact

Awards/Honorary fellowships

International Association for Plant Taxonomy Stebbins Award for outstanding publication in systematics and/or evolution (with lead author Tiina Sarkinen (ex-PhD student) and coauthors Matt Lavin, Marcelo Simon, Colin Hughes; 2016)

Visiting Professor, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh (2010-present)

Linnean Society of London Bicentenary Medal (awarded annually to a biologist under 40 for research achievement; 2003)

Committee/panel activities

Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation, evaluation of grants for Biology (2012-2015)

UK Natural Environment Research Council, Peer Review College (2008-2011)

Council, International Association for Plant Taxonomy (2005-2011)

Editorial responsibilities

Senior editor, Plant Diversity, Plants, People, Planet (2017-present)

Editorial Advisory Board, Kew Bulletin (2003-present)

Editorial Board, Taxon (2009-2017)

Editorial Board, BMC Evolutionary Biology (2010-2014)

Invited lectures

University of Oxford, Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests (Department of Geography; 2022)

El estudio y conservación de los bosques secos de Latinoamérica, FESIztacala-UNAM, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Mexico. Opening plenary speaker (2021, in Spanish)

50 years of research in the Chamela biological station  Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico: “The dry tropics: plant diversity, biogeography and conservation”.  Plenary speaker (2021)

University of Montreal and Montreal Botanical Garden (2020)

UNIMONTES, Montes Claros, Minas Gerais, Brazil (2020; in Portuguese)

Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Peru (2020; in  Spanish)

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research, Leipzig (2020)

Los bosques secos latinoamericanos: entenderlos para conservarlos (Latin American dry forests, understanding for conservation), University of Piura, Peru (plenary speaker, 2019). 

Plants, People, Planet Symposium, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2019

Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests (STDF ) in Northeastern Brazil, Fortaleza, Brazil (invited plenary speaker; 2019)

WWF UK (Invited talk to support their 2019 cerrado campaign – “Why is the cerrado amazing?” (2018)

Latin American Botanical Congress, Quito, Ecuador (2018)

British Council – Newton Fund, International Workshop on Tropical Dry Forests, Lima, Peru (2018; invited opening speaker)

7th International Legume conference, Sendai, Japan (2018)

International Congress of Conservation Biology, Cartagena, Colombia (2017)

Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation; Montpellier, France (2016)

10th Biennial Conference of the Systematics Association; Oxford (2015)

Latin American Botanical Congress, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil (2014)

UK Plant Evolution, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (2014)

Plant evolutionary radiations, University of Zurich, Switzerland (2014)

Biodiversity and  the BioEconomy in Brazil, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas de Amazonia, Brazil (2014)

64th Brazilian Botanical Congress, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (2013; plenary speaker)

The Prince’s Charities’ International Sustainability Unit, Critical Challenges and Opportunities for Tropical Forest Science, The Royal Society and State Apartments, St. James’s Palace, Clarence House (2013)

International Botanical Congress, Melbourne, Australia (2011; 2 presentations)

British Ecological Society Annual Symposium, “Forests and global change” (2011; plenary speaker)

DIVERSITAS International Open Science Conference, Cape Town, South Africa (2009)

International Biogeography Society, Merida, Mexico, invited speaker (2009)

Jean Andrews Visiting Fellow, University of Texas, Austin (3 lecture series, 2009)

III Congreso de ecosistemas secos, Santa Marta, Colombia, plenary speaker (in Spanish, 2008)

Media Coverage

Coverage of grants, and papers in Science and PNAS on BBC website:

Live fast, die young strategy spawned Amazon tree boom (2014).

Dry tropical forests 'overlooked and under threat'.

History sheds light on Amazon's rich tree diversity.

'Green gold' tree offers Brazil deforestation hope. Coverage of GCRF funded agroforestry and silvopastoral projects, BBC website

Live interviews:

BBC Radio 4, Farming Today. Interview covering the environmental effects of soy on tropical ecosystems and the role of the UK consumer and UK supermarkets (8.20)

University of Exeter. Interview covering research into dry forests and why Earth Day is important for raising awareness of biodiversity and climate issues. (4.20)

BBC 5 Live plus "In Short" podcast feed. Interview covering why tree planting in the dry tropics may be environmentally problematic (11.19)

John Bachelor Show, USA, 20 minute live interview covering tropical dry forests (2016:

BBC Radio Scotland, live interview covering the evolutionary history and use of cocoa (2015)

BBC Radio Scotland and BBC news 24, live interviews covering why plant species extinctions matter (2010)

Significant Impact

Animated film to raise awareness of tropical dry forest (, which has received > 80,000 youtube views, exceptional for a scientific film, and which was selected for screening at a series of international environmental film festivals in Europe and Latin America.

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Wider opportunities to communicate the importance of plant diversity to humanity, and the wonders of plant biogeography, were a major motivation to move from a research institute to the University of Exeter. I have taught earth system science to first year Geogrqaphy undergraduates, contribute to undegraduate teaching in BioSciences, co-lead a third year Geography Module on Plant Biogeography, and contribute to the Green Planet module of the MSc in Global Sustanability Solutions.



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Supervision / Group

Research Fellows

  • Moabe Fernandes Royal Society Newton fellowship (2021-23) “Large scale macro-ecological patterns and conservation priority in the Americas: a view from the legume family”

Postdoctoral researchers

  • Dr Peter Moonlight (NERC Newton PDRA 2017-2020): Newton funded project on Brazilian caatinga dry forests
  • Flavia Pezzini Exeter funded postdoc: legume phylogeny and evolution
  • Rosalia Pineiro BBSRC-GCRF funded postdoc “Improving agroforestry and silvopastoral systems in Latin America by maximising species and genetic diversity of the multipurpose legume Inga”
  • Rowan Schley NERC funded researcher co-investigator (2021-2024): the significance of hybridisation in the evolution of the Amazonian tree flora,
  • Saulo Souza BBSRC GCRF project “Improving agroforestry and silvopastoral systems in Latin America by maximising species and genetic diversity of the multipurpose legume Inga” (2018-2021). He took this work forward in our GCRF GRTA project “Diversifying tree bas

Postgraduate researchers

  • Hannah Atkins University of Edinburgh (2015-2020) 'Systematics and biogeography of Cyrtandra (Gesneriaceae)' Supervisors: Mark Hughes, Toby Pennington
  • Thomas Bailey University of Exeter MRes (2021-23) "Investigating the Effect of Multitemporal Land Use Changes to the Middle Magdalena River Valley on the Abundance and Distribution of Important Tree Species"
  • Kelly Bocanegra Gonzalez Kelly Bocanegra Gonzalez, University of Edinburgh and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (2020-2024) "A phylogenetic and transcriptomic study of Inga in Colombia". Supervisors: Catherine Kidner, Toby Pennington, Kyle Dexter
  • Le Min Choo University of Exeter (2022-2025). "Phylogeny, biogeography, and the role of past and present hybridisation in understanding future evolutionary trends of a tropical tree genus, Sindora (Fabaceae, Detarioideae)"
  • Rosie Clegg University of Exeter NERC DTP (2021-2024). "Biodiversity, biogeography, conservation and restoration of isolated inselberg vegetation in the dry biomes of Latin America".
  • Natalia Contreras University of Edinburgh and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (2018-2022). "Population genetics and phylogenomics of the genus Guazuma" Supervisors: Catherine Kidner, James Richardson, Toby Pennington
  • Jack William Oughton University of Exeter NERC DTP (2019-2023) "Late glacial abrupt climate events in tropical South America"
  • Flávia Pezzini University of Edinburgh (2015-2018) 'Systematics and biogeography of Ceiba (Malvaceae-Bombacoideae)' Supervisors: Toby Pennington, Catherine Kidner
  • Gustavo Ramos Gustavo Ramos, University of Edinburgh and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (2019-2023). "Biogeography and evolution of floral form in Aldina (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae)" Supervisors: Toby Pennington, Catherine Kidner
  • Jessica Rickenback University of Edinburgh (2017-2021) 'Savannas at the forest boundary: an understudied and at risk biome with an uncertain future' Supervisors: Caroline Lehmann, Toby Pennington
  • Jess Rickenback University of Edinburgh (2017-2021) Savannas at the forest boundary: an understudied and at risk biome Supervisors: Caroline Lehmann, Toby Pennington
  • Mateus Silva University of Exeter (WWF and Exeter Alumni funded) (2021-2024). "Restoration of the Brazilian cerrado savannas"
  • Lucy Wells University of Edinburgh (NERC SENSE CDT - Centre for Satellite Data in Environmental Science) (2020-2023) Using remote sensing to understand global change in the dry tropics. Supervisors: Casey Ryan, Kyle Dexter, Toby Pennington, Oliver Phillips, Tim Baker

Research Technicians

  • Graeme Oatley Technician working on the NERC-FAPESP Newton-funded “Nordeste” project. He was based in the BioSciences labs in Exeter and produced DNA sequences for caatinga plants to generate community phylogenetic estimates and understand the nature of caatinga species.


  • Ms Alexandra Clark (NERC technician, 2012-2016): Lab technician (niche evolution of South American trees)
  • Dr Kyle Dexter (US NSF Overseas Postdoctoral Fellow; 2011) Phylogeny and biogeography (niche evolution of South American trees)
  • Dr Danilo Neves (NERC PDRA 2012-2015): Niche evolution of South American trees.
  • Dr James Nicholls (US-NSF funded postdoc based at University of Edinburgh and RBGE 2012-2017): Plant herbivore interactions in Inga
  • Ms Julia Weintritt (2012-2016): Floristic inventory and conservation of neotropical dry forests (network facilitator for Leverhulme-funded DRYFLOR International Network)

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Office Hours:

Office hours (term time only) are either in my office or online. Please email me for an appointment.

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