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Abstract Detail

Ecological diversification and niche evolution in the temperate zone’s largest genus: Carex

Hoffmann, Matthias H. [1], Gebauer, Sebastian [1].

Convergence in sedges of the high arctic.

The Arctic is a rather young ecosystem appearing about 3.2 Myr ago. Within the Arctic, Carex comprises about 140 species. It is thus the most species-rich genus of the arctic flora that comprises in total about 2,775 species. Most species-rich is Carex in the southern and intermediate sub-zones of the Arctic. Further north, the genus is largely absent and replaced by members of the Poaceae and species of dicot families. The only exception from his pattern is C. fuliginosa that also occurs in the northernmost arctic desert zone. For many vegetation types, Carex species are principal components and were observed with high constancy. These are, for example, various types of wetlands (e.g., C. aquatilis, C. membranacea), bogs (e.g. C. limosa, C. chordorrhiza) or wet saline coastal places (e.g. C. subspathacea). Some species, however, grow also in more dry conditions (e.g., C. fuliginosa, C. rupestris). In summary, Carex species seem to occur in high abundance throughout the not too cold sub-regions of the whole Arctic. In spite of the genus’ importance for ecosystem functioning, however, their origins in terms of biogeography and phylogeny are largely unknown. Because many species occur frequently in the southern Arctic and the adjacent boreal zones, it appears comprehensible that they may have simply immigrated into arctic habitats upon their appearances in geological history. These species may have been pre-adapted for a life in the Arctic. It is widely unknown, if the arctic species evolved more or less independently in the phylogeny of Carex or whether they belong to only a few clades. Information on evolutionary avenues and putative constraints in the evolution of the genus are largely lacking. Here we present data on the parallel radiations of the species-rich sections Vesicariae and Phacocystis in boreal to arctic wetlands. This provides some insights into the evolution of arctic sedges.

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1 - Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Institut für Biologie, Bereich Geobotanik und Botanischer Garten, Am Kirchtor 3, Halle (Saale), 06108, Germany

Rapid radiation

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY15
Location: Salon 11/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
Time: 10:45 AM
Number: SY15007
Abstract ID:191
Candidate for Awards:None

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