ID: 613 / 139

Category: Symposia

Track: Pending


Abstract: Herbaria harbour huge collections of plant specimens collected during the last few centuries. For research in the field of plant biodiversity, taxonomy, evolution, and ecology, they represent priceless treasure troves ready to be explored. It is estimated that around 70,000 new species are already housed in herbaria and have been “waiting to be described”. However, the use of herbaria for research purposes has been hindered in the past, due to technical limitations and the incapability of rapidly extracting and processing the enormous amount of information associated with them. Recent developments in DNA extraction methods and sequencing techniques (i.e., high-throughput sequencing techniques; HTS) enabled researchers to include the degraded DNA obtained from old herbarium specimens in their studies. Therefore, the last decade registered a continuous increase of evolutionary and taxonomic studies based on herbarium material (including types). The use of herbaria gives a few priceless advantages: (i) facilitating the sampling of organisms spread over vast areas or geographically restricted to remote and barely accessible localities; (ii) allowing the study of extinct populations or species; (iii) using type material as it is crucial in taxonomic studies. Moreover, the development of automatic techniques able to process herbarium voucher images and other kind of information linked to them, promoted in the last decade the proliferation of studies using herbaria for morphometric purposes, or (e.g.) for tracing species distribution ranges and investigate their past and/or possible future changes. In the proposed symposium, we aim at giving a comprehensive overview of the research done in the last few years based on herbaria and the cutting-edge methodologies that allow the inclusion of herbarium vouchers in molecular-based (but not only) evolutionary and ecological studies.

Speaker 1: - Catherine Kidner - Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh - ckidner@rbge.org.uk - Making the most of it: what can be done with poor data from bad specimens?

Speaker 2: - Freek Bakker - Department of Plant Sciences, University of Wageningen (the Netherlands) - freek.bakker@wur.nl - Herbarium genomics: getting plant archival DNA to work

Speaker 3: - Diego Gutierrez - Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino Rivadavia - digutier@macn.gov.ar - Specimens in herbaria from South America: known and unknown contribution to tackle plant evolution

Topics (Up to three): Phylogenetics and Phylogenomics

Topic 2: Systematics

Topic 3: Biogeography / Phylogeography

Justification: Herbarium-based research has been enhanced in the last years by the development of new techniques and methodologies. Therefore, we believe that our symposium will meet the interest of a large and diverse audience. Moreover, the proposed speakers are some of the most prominent researchers in this field. They are also very diverse in terms of geography (Argentina, Scotland, and the Netherlands) gender and career stage (including an early-stage scientist, and two more experienced ones). Talks in our symposium will surely touch several of the proposed topics, e.g., (22) Phylogenetics and Phylogenomics, (31) Systematics and taxonomy, (3) Biogeography / Phylogeography.