Abstract Detail

Biodiversity at the brink: leveraging herbaria for conservation!

Martine, Christopher [1], Williams, Tanisha [1], McDonnell, Angela [2], Cantley, Jason [3], Jordon-Thaden, Ingrid [4], Marino, Claire [1], Jobson, Peter [5].

Treasures among the indets: Using unidentified herbarium specimens to locate, describe, and protect new species of Australian Solanum.

Across the Australian Monsoon Tropics, mosaic habitats and corresponding environmental pressures combined with climatic fluctuations over the last two millions years have driven diversification within a number of regional plant lineages. Among these is the “Solanum dioicum group,” a set of ~40 described species and recognizable variants that follows a pattern of disjunction matching the distribution of outcrops, escarpments, and other refugia. The relatively narrow ranges of some of these “bush tomatoes,” coupled with the rapidly magnifying consequences of human-mediated climate change (including shifts in fire regimes and increased likelihood of extended drought) appear to present a pressing threat to some taxa – especially to localized variants that are not yet described as species, many of which are represented in herbarium collections. Assessing the status of these unnamed species and determining their taxonomic status is one step toward protecting them – but not until they are described and named. This talk tells the stories of seven species of Solanum described by our group in the last decade (Solanum cowiei, S. ossicruentum, S. watneyi, S. jobsonii, S. plastisexum, S. scalarium sp. nov., S. acanthophisum sp. nov.) and the integral role played in each case by herbarium specimens collected over the years by keen-eyed field botanists and deposited in the Northern Territory Herbarium under recognized phrase names or as taxa of unknown or questionable identity.

1 - Bucknell University, Biology, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, United States
2 - Chicago Botanic Garden, Negaunee Institute for Plant Conservation Science and Action, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL, 60022, United States
3 - San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave, SF State University Biology Department, Hensill Hall, 1751 Market Street APT 4, SF State University Biology Department, Hensill Ha, San Francisco, CA, 94103, United States
4 - University Of Wisconsin Madison, Botany, 430 Lincoln Drive, 144 Birge Hall, Madison, WI, 53706, United States
5 - Northern Territory Herbarium at Alice Springs, Alice Springs, NT, Australia

Undergraduate Research
bush tomato
species conservation.

Presentation Type: Special Sessions
Number: SS004
Abstract ID:462
Candidate for Awards:None

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