ID: 613 / 117

Category: Symposia

Track: Pending


Abstract: Large genera with >1,000 species comprise a considerable proportion (>10%) of seed plant diversity. Studying these genera has proved challenging because their size makes studying their diversity, distribution, or taxonomy difficult. More recently, however, biodiversity informatics and phylogenomics have permitted a truly comprehensive overview of the evolution, biogeography, and ecology of the world’s big plant genera for the first time. In collaboration with our sister symposium (New Insights on Big Genera 2), we will examine patterns across big plant genera asking what it takes to be big. In this first symposium, we explore geographical and ecological patterns across big genera through time, focusing on understanding whether big plant genera are most diverse in similar environments. The invited speakers will provide an overview of big plant genera and why we recognize them (Michelangeli), the global and ecological distribution of big plant genera (Zuanny), and the rates and patterns of their evolutionary diversification (Jiménez-Mejías). All speakers will be encouraged to contribute to the broader question of whether diversification patterns in big genera are representative of general patterns in flowering plants. The sister symposium will expand on the first by exploring trait evolution and genomic origins of diversity. Talks from both sessions will be compiled into a special volume summarizing research on these challenging groups.

Speaker 1: Fabián Michelangeli, New York Botanic Garden, USA,, “Why we recognize big genera? The birth of a big genus Miconia"

Speaker 2: Débora Zuanny, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil,, “Updated list of megadiverse plant genera: Who are they, where are they, and how have they changed?”

Speaker 3: Pedro Jiménez-Mejías, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain,, “A tale of worldwide success: Behind the scenes of Carex (Cyperaceae) biogeography and diversification”

Topics (Up to three): Systematics

Topic 2: Phylogenetics and Phylogenomics

Topic 3: Macroevolution

Justification: This symposium provides general interest talks on big genera and provides the first update since the special symposium on big plant genera at the 2005 IBC in Vienna and the much-cited publication of Frodin (2004). Species discovery and taxonomic changes due to molecular phylogenetic evidence have revolutionized our concepts of big plant genera over the past 20 years. This symposium will synthesize these advances and, together with our sister symposium, set the scene for the next generation of integrative research in big plant genera. The two symposia will be used as a platform to write articles for a special volume on big plant genera.