ID: 613 / 207

Category: Symposia

Track: Pending


Abstract: The tropics are known for their exceptional biodiversity, with an estimated 50% of the world's plant species found in tropical rainforests alone. This diversity has fascinated biologists for centuries and has been the inspiration for many of the foundational ideas in evolutionary theory. For example, the incredible diversity of species in the tropics has led to the development of concepts such as adaptive radiation, the role of natural selection in evolution, and how historical events, such as climate change and the movement of continents, shape the evolution of life on Earth. Yet, this enormous biodiversity poses several challenges to understanding the processes that operate at different spatial and temporal scales to explain broad patterns of tropical diversity. The aim of this symposium is to integrate diverse perspectives ranging from paleobotany to population genetics and macroevolution in the study of tropical plant diversity. The invited speakers will cover a broad range of topics and scales as well as highlight research conducted by tropical scientists from the American, African, and Asian tropics. This pantropical perspective will introduce the audience to a large realm of open questions in tropical plant evolution and research opportunities across continents. The exchange of ideas among tropical botanists is critical to developing a synthetic understanding of the causes of tropical diversity as well as the need to preserve these unique regions. This symposium will provide ample opportunities to work towards this goal.

Speaker 1: Jun Ying Lim National University of Singapore The decline of megathermal forests and fate of tropical forest lineages through the Cenozoic: Insights from palms

Speaker 2: Israel Borokini University of California, Berkeley Spatial phylogenetic studies of the African vascular flora

Speaker 3: María J Sanin Arizona State University Plant geogenomics in the segmented evolution of the Northern Andes

Topics (Up to three): Macroevolution

Topic 2: Population Genetics

Topic 3: Evolution

Justification: Despite the significant role that tropical biodiversity has played in the development of foundational ideas in ecology and evolution, tropical evolutionary botanists face several barriers that have prevented them from developing their research programs to the fullest. For instance, language barriers, funding limitations, lack of adequate infrastructure, and difficulties in accessing literature are among some of the most common challenges. This symposium aims to highlight the outstanding research in tropical botany carried out by local tropical scientists working across levels of biological organization and provide opportunities to exchange ideas toward a synthetic understanding of the causes of tropical plant diversity.