Scalesia (Asteraceae): ecology and evolution of the most iconic plant genus in the Galapagos Islands

ID: 613 / 432

Category: Abstract

Track: Pending

Proposed Symposium Title: Scalesia (Asteraceae): ecology and evolution of the most iconic plant genus in the Galapagos Islands


Gonzalo Rivas-Torres1,2,3

Pablo Vargas4

Mario Fernández Mazuecos5

Jose Cerca6

Affiliations: 1 Colegio de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Quito, Ecuador. 2 University of Florida, Gainesville, US. 3 University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC, US. 4 Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid, RJB-CSIC, Spain. 5 Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain. 6 Center for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway


Darwin’s daisies (Scalesia, Asteraceae) form an iconic radiation of 15 species endemic to the Galapagos Islands, which are distributed throughout this tropical archipelago. Among them, eight species are endemic to a single island, with small populations distributed across only tens to hundreds of hectares. Our oral presentation will describe an overview of unique findings related to the phylogeny, ecology, distribution and conservation of this emblematic group, summarizing more than 13 years of research. Diversification of extant Scalesia species and active phenotypic and genomic evolution appear to have occurred in recent times, specifically in the late Quaternary. However, the present survival and conservation of Scalesia species are at high risk, as shown by establishment rates reduced to 5% when competing with invasive plant species. Also, for the first time, we will present the most updated distribution maps and ecological niche information for this taxonomic group. We will finish by presenting ongoing research and future avenues for the study of this unique plant group. With this presentation, we hope to fill an important gap of information regarding Galapagos plants, particularly for one of the least studied groups of these iconic islands, which will serve to create new international collaborations and attract more botanical research on one of the most interesting daisy groups.

Symposia selection: 155, 180, 142

Key words: Endemic, Galapagos, Island evolution, phylogeny, plant ecology, radiations, Scalesia