Abstract Detail

The flora of Madagascar: uncovering mechanisms for diversification

Hanes , Margaret Mae [1].

The flora of Madagascar: uncovering mechanisms for diversification.

One of the most important aims of evolutionary biology is to understand the processes responsible for speciation, and one of the most exciting places to study species is on Madagascar. The island is renowned for its diverse and highly endemic flora and fauna and has been identified as a model region to investigate the processes of species diversification. Though many biotic, abiotic, and historical drivers have been suggested as mechanisms for diversification on Madagascar, the evolutionary processes responsible for the island’s biodiversity remain poorly understood, particularly in plants. The integration of genomic data, evolutionary history, niche modeling, biotic interactions and temporal studies will allow us to identify and quantify mechanisms driving speciation. Madagascar is also one of the highest priority areas for biodiversity conservation in the world. Identifying the role and importance of biogeographic features and biotic interactions (where isolation may have led to diversification and endemism) will guide conservation decisions and help limit further losses of biodiversity in the face of climate change. We hope to assess and synthesize existing data and to strategize ways to inspire the future execution of studies in order to infer more comprehensive patterns of Madagascar’s remarkable floristic diversification. Relevance: For decades scientists have worked to inventory the vascular flora of Madagascar. The Catalogue of Vascular Plants of Madagascar Project effectively documents these plants and has produced reliable taxonomic treatments. We also now have many phylogenies of particular plant groups. Few studies, however, have investigated the flora for broad phylogenetic patterns and evolutionary processes across the island and no studies have explicitly tested speciation models in Malagasy plants. This exciting frontier will synthesize existing data, taking advantage of powerful sequencing technologies and new innovative approaches to fill these gaps in knowledge. We hope that this colloquium will catalyze communication and collaborations between those botanists with a focus and interest in the flora of Madagascar. This colloquium will be widely appealing to botanists with interests in speciation, tropical diversification and the evolution of highly endemic floras.

1 - Eastern Michigan University, Biology, 441 Mark Jefferson Science Complex, Ypsilanti, MI, 48197, USA

Niche Modeling
plant-lemur interactions.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Abstract ID:20
Candidate for Awards:None

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