ATYPICAL SUBSTRATES AS ENGINES FOR PLANT AND LICHEN EVOLUTION I: GYPSUM SOILS
ID: 613 / 79
Proposed Symposium Title: ATYPICAL SUBSTRATES AS ENGINES FOR PLANT AND LICHEN EVOLUTION I: GYPSUM SOILS
Abstract: Gypsum soils are among the most widespread extreme substrates of the world. They are found in arid and semi-arid ecosystems in 112 countries, affecting the livelihood of millions of people worldwide. In addition to the typical environmental constraints of drylands, these special soils impose chemical and physical barriers to the development of plants and lichens. Nevertheless, gypsum soils host highly specialized floras and frequently constitute biodiversity hotspots, rich in endemic, rare and often threatened species. This unique biodiversity and the common occurrence of gypsum substrates as edaphic islands makes gypsum ecosystems highly valuable natural laboratories for understanding evolution, community assembly, and ecophysiology at life’s extremes. This symposium brings together researchers working on different aspects of plant and lichen life on gypsum substrates across the world to share new advances and developments from the scale of genes to ecosystems.
Speaker 1: Rebecca Drenovsky,
John Carroll University, USA
S-rich secondary metabolites in gypsum plants
Speaker 3: Stefan Siebert,
Noth West University (NWU), South Africa
Recent advances in gypsum ecosystem research in Africa
Topics (Up to three): Biogeography / Phylogeography
Topic 2: Ecology and Plant Communities
Topic 3: Ecophysiology
Justification: Atypical substrates have fascinated plant scientists for centuries. Within the study of atypical substrates, gypsum ecology and evolution is an emerging field. Gypsum soils occur widely, have high economic relevance, and host unique endemic floras that are natural laboratories of evolutionary ecology and which are imperiled by global change drivers. Consequently, gypsum soils are increasingly attracting attention from a broad scientific community. This symposium brings together researchers from around the world, including from developing countries and from a diversity of disciplines, career stages and personal identities. Topics included range from phylogeography to conservation biology, and from community assembly to ecophysiology.