UK PlantSci 2013 & the Journal of Experimental Botany

Toby Pennington
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Running time: 00:23:53 min

A Molecular Spotlight on the Forgotten Forests of South America


Rain forests captured the attention of the first biologists to explore the tropics, and in Latin America, the rain forests of Amazonia remain in the spotlight both of science and conservation. However, this focus neglects huge areas of South America that experience climates with seasonal periods of drought that are too extreme to support rain forest. The savannas and dry forests that occupy these seasonally dry areas are species-rich and more threatened than Amazonia. This talk will examine the differences of ecology and flora that differentiate tropical rain forests, savannas and dry forests in the New World. It will evaluate evidence from molecular phylogenies suggesting that the evolutionary history of the woody plant lineages that dominate these biomes may be different, and will examine why this may matter for their conservation.


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