- Nov 12, 2018
Date & Location: November 12, 2018, at 4p; Room 1200 Molecular Plant Sciences Building
Subject: Ecology of North American lichens: diversity, distributions, and drivers
About the Speaker
University: University of Colorado-Boulder
Abstract: Even though we are centuries beyond the frontier days of science in the Western Hemisphere, synthetic understanding of species diversity and their biogeographical distributions is still largely limited primarily to large, macroscopic, charismatic organisms such as birds, mammals, and flowering plants. Much less understood is whether patterns of diversity and distributions, as delimited by these "macrobes", apply to other forms of life and moreover, what fundamental processes drive geographical distributions of life on Earth.
In this talk, I will explore lichen diversity, distributions, and drivers through two studies: (1) a broad-scale analysis of the entire North American lichen biota (north of Mexico; ~5,500 species), a one-of-a-kind dataset in ecology, and (2) targeted investigation in a newly developed study system, the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Hotspot. I will use data from these two studies to document patterns of diversity and endemism in North America then explore abiotic, biotic, intrinsic, and genomic factors that impact diversity and distribution. Through this work, I document the presence of new "syndromes" in lichen ecology and reflect on why biotic interactions may be key to understanding why species do or do not occur in a given environment. This talk will emphasize lichen biology and natural history of species, so come with an open mind to learn something new about these remarkable organisms!