Proposed Symposium Title: MOUNTAIN BIODIVERSITY AND EVOLUTION
Abstract: Mountains are key features of the Earth’s most surface and host a substantial proportion of global biodiversity, with rich aggregations of small-ranged species that form centers of endemism. Illustrating their importance, of the 36 global biodiversity hotspots, most are located in montane regions. The high biodiversity of mountains reflects the interplay of multiple evolutionary mechanisms intersecting with complex geoglogical events and long-term climatic trends. These mechanisms may include enhanced speciation via allopatry in fragmented landscapes and opportunities for coexistence and persistence of lineages in secondary contact during periods of climate fluctuation. While it long known that the topographic complexity of mountains is tightly associated with high biodiversity, the processes underlying this association are poorly known— in fact, all proposed hypotheses to explain high montane species richness fail to completely account for their extraordinary levels, an observation recently coined Humboldt’s enigma. The diverse pool of speakers that we have assembled use robust species-level phylogenies to understand the ecological and evolutionary processes that contribute to this global pattern using systems in the mountains of Eurasia, Africa and Latin America. They demonstrate that biological and geological processes are more intertwined than has been previously thought. This symposium is particularly timely as, with ongoing global changes, biodiversity loss in mountains is accelerating at a rate that outpaces biodiversity loss in other regions. In addition, the fertile soil and mineral deposits in many of the World’s mountains make them particularly threatened by anthropogenic changes. These will directly affect the biodiversity‐ecosystem functioning and the economics of biodiversity and ecosystem services for human well-being. Understanding the evolutionary processes that shape the biodiversity in mountain ecosystem in order to best conserve this globally important biodiversity is thus a critical goal ecological and evolutionary research.
Speaker 1: Dr. Laura P. Lagomarsino
Life Sciences Annex, Louisiana State University, USA
Title: A Clade’s Eye View of Plant Evolution in the Andes
Speaker 2: Dr. Lian-Ming Gao
Kunming Institute of Botany,Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan, China
Title: Evolution and species diversification of seed plants in Hengduan Mountains
Speaker 3: Dr. Sébastien Lavergne
Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine, CNRS - Université Grenoble Alpes, France
Title: Reconstructing the evolutionary assembly of the Alpine Flora
Topics (Up to three): Ecology and Plant Communities
Topic 2: Floristics
Topic 3: Plant, Animal, and Microbe Interactions
Justification: Mountains harbor exceptional geo-biodiversity on our planet, i.e., the Himalayan-Hengduan Mountains, the Andes, the European Alps, and the Kilimanjaro. These mountains are natural laboratories for plant diversification, adaptation, breeding system, and understanding the interplay between evolution, ecology, and geology. There are a considerable number of researches in this field across space and time, tackling a diverse array of topics. Our proposal recognized the deep impact of mountains on biodiversity which is of extreme interest to IBC. The aim of the symposium hereby is to bring together researchers working on mountain biodiversity and evolution to exchange ideas and foster future collaborations.