[Taxacom] Systematics Association Sir Julian Huxley Lecture, Wednesday October 10, 18.00, London, The Linnean Society

Alex Monro a.monro at nhm.ac.uk
Mon Oct 8 05:51:35 CDT 2012

Peter Linder will be giving the Sir Julian Huxley Lecture, "The evolutionary history of the danthonioid grasses: dispersal, niche evolution and radiation in the Southern Hemisphere" at The Linnean Society in London, UK, this Wednesday at 18.00. All are welcome. There will be wine served to members and guests afterwards.

For directions to the Linnean Society: http://www.linnean.org/Contact+Us/Find+Us

The Danthonioideae (Poaceae) include some 300 species. Although these temperate, C3 grasses are present on all continents, the greatest phylogenetic, taxonomic and ecological diversity is found on the four austral landmasses: southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South America. Here they are often ecologically (and economically) important, and include charismatic grasses like the Wallaby-grasses of Australia, the Snow-grasses of New Zealand and Pampas-grasses of South America. Our reconstruction of the biogeographical history indicates an African origin in the early Oligocene, with repeated dispersal across the southern oceans from the middle Miocene. Dispersal rate is largely controlled by ocean width, and disperal direction from occupied to empty terrain. The pattern of diversification on each continent is different, possibly shaped by the local palaeoclimates resulting from the interaction of local topography and global climate changes during the Pleistocene. The niche evolution in the clade is still poorly understood. Cold tolerance evolved early in this group of temperate grasses, and in many instances appears to be wider than climate ranges currently found. These "truncated niches" are possibly relicts of the colder ice-age climates, suggesting adaptation rather than migration as response to the global climate shifts. Although the evolutionary history of the group, as a typical austral clade, is gradually being elucidated, we still do not know the processes underlying the frequent long distance dispersal events, the speciation processes that generated the rich taxonomic diversity, or the selective advantages of the different leaf anatomies


Alex Monro
Programmes Secretary
The Systematics Association

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