ID: 613 / 129

Category: Symposia

Track: Pending


Abstract: Differentiation and diversification in floral traits constitutes a central process in plant evolution, with distinct floral phenotypes potentially mediating reproductive isolation even among close relatives. The adaptive role of such floral differentiation is particularly well studied in the context of evolutionary shifts among major pollinator groups (i.e., bees, hummingbirds), with species with similar pollinators converging into so-called ‘pollination syndromes’. Adaptive evolution to achieve optimal pollination efficiency with the respective pollinators is regarded as the main mechanism driving patterns of this trait divergence/convergence. Since plant clades start out with distinct ‘ancestral’ morphologies (distinct evolutionary backgrounds), however, the trait modifications required to reach a certain, optimally adapted (convergent) phenotype may differ among clades, as may the evolutionary pathways leading to this phenotype. In this context, unbalanced patterns of disproportionally high or low floral diversity have been noticed across clades, but the evolutionary, developmental and functional mechanisms underlying these patterns remain poorly explored. In our symposium, we aim at bringing together scientists addressing fundamental concepts of floral diversification, convergence and uniformity in the context of pollination through creative, multi-method setups spanning macro- and microevolutionary scales, experiments in the lab and field as well as genomic and modelling approaches. We particularly encourage contributions linking evolutionary patterns (i.e., repeated evolution of or evolutionary stasis on a certain phenotype) to empirical tests of the actual adaptive significance (‘fitness’) and functioning of this floral phenotype. By doing so, we aim at exploring commonalities in patterns of convergent floral evolution (i.e., which floral traits need to change to achieve a certain function) and pinpoint mechanisms underlying unbalanced patterns of floral trait diversity across clades (i.e., pollinator-mediated selection, environmental conditions, developmental constraints). We wish to feature researchers from diverse backgrounds and different career stages, working on different angiosperm lineages across the globe.

Speaker 1: Bruce Anderson South Africa, Stellenbosch University banderso.bruce@gmail.com “Interactions between pollinator and floral phenotypes - trait matching, floral convergence and divergence”

Speaker 2: Beverley Glover United Kingdom, University of Cambridge, Department of Plant Sciences bjg26@cam.ac.uk “Modularity and convergence in the evolution of sexual deception in Gorteria diffusa”

Speaker 3: Vinicius Brito Brazil, University of Ûberlandia viniciusduartina@gmail.com "Convergent floral traits in pollen flowers''

Topics (Up to three): Reproductive Biology

Topic 2: Macroevolution

Topic 3: Ecology and Plant Communities

Justification: Our proposal addresses advances in fundamental concepts of flower function and evolution that are of broad interest to macroevolutionary systematists, morphologists as well as to (pollination) ecologists. We have assembled a diverse group of six speakers at different career stages and from different countries. Together, they bridge at least three of the proposed topics, Reproductive Biology (30), Macroevolution (19), and Ecology and Plant Communities (10), guaranteeing the wide impact of our symposium. The talks feature cutting-edge methods in the study of flower trait functioning, including machine-learning based trait-matching, geometric morphometrics and phylogenetic comparative modelling.