Global patterns of phylogenetic and functional diversity of Scleria (Cyperaceae)
ID: 613 / 379
Proposed Symposium Title: Global patterns of phylogenetic and functional diversity of Scleria (Cyperaceae)
Javier Galán Díaz1, Marcial Escudero2, Isabel Larridon3,4
Affiliations: 1 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain 2 Universidad de Sevilla, Spain 3 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK 4 Meise Botanic Garden, Belgium
Scleria P.J.Bergius (1765: 142), commonly known as nut rushes or razor grasses, is the sixth largest genus in the Cyperaceae family with 261 species, and the only genus of tribe Sclerieae Wight & Arn. (subfamily Cyperoideae). Recent studies have disentangled the evolutionary relationships among Scleria species and identified major dispersal and niche shifts events. Here, we combined occurrence data, assessments of extinction risk, the latest phylogeny of the genus and trait data collected from herbarium specimens to: (i) explore the spatial distribution of Scleria phylogenetic and functional diversity facets, and (ii) identify species and world regions of remarkable interest for Scleria conservation. Central America, Western Africa, Madagascar and Northern Australia showed high functional and phylogenetic diversity. We also found that the four Scleria subgenera showed contrasting climatic niches, and clear functional segregation among in terms of height, blade area and nutlet size. Scleria species from Africa and South America include a great diversity of functional types, whereas North America and Oceania are characterised by having shorter species with small leaves. Our results also suggest that 42 of the 68 species not yet included in the Red List of Threatened Species of the IUCN are potentially threatened with extinction. We found 48 Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) Scleria. Protecting these species, we would safeguard 68.47% (41.07 MY) of avertable expected phylogenetic diversity loss in the genus. Evolutionary and ecologically distinct and endangered Scleria mostly occur in a few African (Madagascar, Zambia, DR Congo and Tanzania) and South American (Brazil) regions.