Abstract Detail



Systematics

Commock, Tracy [1], Campbell, Keron [2], Rose, Philip [3], Francisco-Ortega, Javier [4], Jestrow, Brett [5].

The Jamaican Endemic Genera Project.

Jamaica is the second smallest island of the Greater Antilles and it is part of the Caribbean Island Biodiversity Hotspot (CIBH), a region that has a global biodiversity conservation priority.  The CIBH is one of ten insular biodiversity hotspots in the world (Mittermeier et al. 2004).  The Jamaican flora does not include any endemic plant family but recent systematic treatments have shown that the island is home to seven endemic genera of seed-plants [viz., Dendrocousinsia (Euphorbiaceae), Jacmaia (Asteraceae), Odontocline (Asteraceae), Portlandia (Rubiaceae), Salpixantha (Acanthaceae), Tetrasiphon (Celastraceae), and Zemisia (Asteraceae)].  These taxa account for over 23 species, with three genera (Jacmaia, Tetrasiphon, and Zemisia) being monotypic. Jamaica is estimated to have over 975 endemic species.  As such, the island’s flora is a global priority for plant conservation; where high levels of endemism occur, often within highly threatened habitats.    Since the 1800’s, European and (later) American naturalists lead the botanical effort in describing and cataloguing Jamaica’s flora.  However, since the advent of the 21st century such efforts have waned.  It is the intention of this project to harness the opportunities derived from molecular systematics techniques to reinvigorate a new period of plant taxonomy research, led by local and regional botanists.  The Jamaican Endemic Genera Project represents a partnership among three academic and research institutions; namely, the University of the West Indies (Mona Campus), Florida International University and the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.  What began as a memorandum of understanding between the former two entities has grown to include collaboration from Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institute.    There are currently two postgraduate research projects under this umbrella venture.  The first, involves a taxonomic and phylogenetic revision of the Jamaican endemic genus Dendrocousinsia Millsp. (Euphorbiaceae).  This project aims to settle the controversy regarding the placement the genus within the Euphorbiaceae on its own or within its synonym, Sebastiania Spreng.  Already it has clarified the placement of Gymnanthes eliptica Sw.; now accommodated within Dedrocousincia as D. elliptica (Sw.) Commock & K. Wurdack. (Commock et al. 2017).  The second project aims to clarify the relationships and conservation status within two controversial tribes in Asteraceae: Vernonieae and Senecioneae.  Here, endemic Jamaican species and genera are to be selected for molecular analysis based on their conservation importance.   The aim of this paper is to further introduce the project’s committed partners, their efforts and early findings.


1 - Institute of Jamaica, Natural History Museum of Jamaica, 10-16 East Street, Kingston, Kingston, Jamaica
2 - Institute of Jamaica, Natural History Museum of Jamaica, 10-16 East Street, 4 Anguilla Close, UWI - Mona Campus, Kingston, Kingston, Jamaica
3 - University of the West Indies, Department of Life Sciences, 4 Anguilla Close, Mona Campus, Kingston, St. Andrew, Jamaica
4 - Florida International University, International Center for Tropical Botany, Department of Biological Sciences, Miami, FL, 33199, United States
5 - Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, Miami, FL, 33156, USA

Keywords:
biodiversity hotspots
Caribbean
Greater Antilles
Systematics
angiosperms
Evolutionary Conservation
Endemic Genera.

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PSY007
Abstract ID:721
Candidate for Awards:None


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