Proposed Symposium Title: INTEGRATIVE TAXONOMY OF MEDITERRANEAN PLANTS
Abstract: Two main problems today threaten the social and scientific recognition of plant systematics as a basic science crucial for all applications involving the use of organisms, including their conservation. These problems concern nomenclature and taxonomy. Regarding nomenclature, as a consequence of increasing systematic knowledge, the scientific names of plants often change. While since about 15 years ago family-level circumscriptions (almost) became stable, species are often recombined under different genera or synonymized with others. This is not correctly perceived by taxonomy users, either in the scientific community or in wider society. Collaborative nomenclatural and taxonomic databases are increasingly becoming widespread and authoritative, therefore this problem could be easily superseded by increasing the awareness of and accessibility to such databases. Concerning taxonomy, in the past and still today, it is much easier to describe a new species than to definitely prove that an already described species is not worthy of recognition on systematic grounds. This is resulting in worldwide taxonomic inflation, which may hamper the understanding of species evolutionary history, floristic investigations and conservation actions. This problem could be superseded only by adopting extreme caution before describing new taxa and, above all, by adopting integrated approaches to taxonomy, taking advantage of karyological, phylogenetic/phylogenomic, and ecological data complemented by (quantitative) morphology. We propose in this symposium to highlight the state of the art and best practices of current taxonomic and systematic research as well as its fundamental contribution to plant science and biology in general, by focusing on the vascular flora of one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, the Mediterranean area.
Speaker 1: Karol Marhold
Institute of Botany, Slovak Academy of Science, Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Tentative title of the talk: "Origin of the polyploid weed that conquered the whole world"
Speaker 2: Salvatore Tomasello
Department of Systematic Botany, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
Tentative title of the talk: "Using types, phylogenomics and morphometrics to delimit lineages and solve taxonomic issues in the genus Xanthium"
Speaker 3: Sara Martín-Hernanz
Departamento de Biología Vegetal y Ecología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain
Tentative title of the talk: "Delimiting taxa boundaries in complex plant groups by integrating genomic, morphometric and ecological data: the case of the Mediterranean genus Helianthemum"
Topics (Up to three): Systematics
Topic 2: Phylogenetics and Phylogenomics
Topic 3: Biogeography / Phylogeography
Justification: The proposal covers a timely and crucial research topic in systematics, and is focused on the Mediterranean, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. Integrative taxonomy of selected plant taxa in that area is the main research interest of both organizers, which are both renowned scholars in this field. Organizers and potential speakers show an adequate gender balance (50% in organizers, 33% in potential speakers) and an optimal representativeness of career stages (postdoc to full professor) and geography, including five different countries (Croatia, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Spain).