ID: 613 / 72

Category: Symposia

Track: Pending


Abstract: Few are the flowering plant families that have as big an impact on human societies as Malvaceae. It is the source of the most used natural fiber on the planet (cotton, Gossypium spp.) and one of the world’s most popular treats (cacao, Theobroma cacao), as well as other vegetal fibers used in commercial production (jute, Corchorus spp.) and regionally important foods (e.g., durian, Durio zibethinus). Beyond this considerable economic importance, some Malvaceae taxa are flagship species of significant ecosystems – think of the iconic baobabs of Africa – and many are under serious threat due to human activities. This broad anthropologic significance is linked to a sizeable biodiversity; Malvaceae includes ca. 245 genera and >4,200 species. The family primarily consists of tropical trees, yet considerable variability exists both in ecology (through diversification into temperate environments) and growth form (also vines, herbs, and shrubs). The monophyly of Malvaceae s.l. has been long accepted and a consensus has gathered around the recognition of nine lineages, often ranked as subfamilies, within the family. However, phylogenetic relationships between these lineages, and some of their taxonomic delimitations, remain uncertain. Likewise, we have only scratched the surface of sampling and understanding the fossil record for Malvaceae, and there is much left to do regarding species-level phylogeny reconstruction and consequent alpha-taxonomic revisions, particularly for large radiations. Indeed, the general trends explaining when, where, and how this family evolved are still poorly known, despite the critical role Malvaceae plays in our daily lives. Purposefully constructed across a broad range of topics – from paleobotany to phylogenomics to biogeography and diversification analyses, this symposium will gather researchers working on the family in a shared forum, to review our current state of knowledge and then build a synergy among future efforts for a better understanding of the evolution of Malvaceae.

Speaker 1: Rebeca Hernández-Gutiérrez Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA Reconstructing the phylogeny of Malvaceae

Speaker 2: Cédric Del Rio Centre de Recherche en Paléontologie - Paris (CR2P) Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN), 8 Rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France Fossil history of the Malvaceae

Speaker 3: Brock Mashburn Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development at the Missouri Botanical Garden 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 The tempo and mode of dispersal and adaptive radiation in Hibiscus

Topics (Up to three): Systematics

Topic 2: Paleobotany

Topic 3: Biogeography

Justification: Malvaceae remained poorly known and it has been the focus of a few - if any- symposium, while this family plays a critical role in our daily life. Our proposed symposium will have a sizeable audience interest given its broad range of topics and the taxonomic scope. The symposium’s scientific quality is of the highest order, including two young speakers prolific enough to have an outsized impact on their subfields already and an up-and-coming researcher applying cutting-edge techniques. Our speakers include a variety of career stages and nationalities, representing varied perspectives from North America, Central America, and Europe.