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Past and future of the tropical alpine ecosystem: lessons from plant evolution

Presenting person: Dr. Roswitha Schmickel, Department of Botany, Charles University in Prague, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (ASCR) (Homepage)
Th. 2023-11-16

Mountains, with their diverse abiotic gradients, house an extraordinary concentration of biodiversity relative to their surface area, and high elevation regions in the tropics are among the world’s fastest evolving biodiversity hotspots. The tropical alpine ecosystem, found in South America, Malesia and Papuasia, Africa and Hawaii, is of relatively young evolutionary age, and it has been exposed to changing climates since its origin, particularly during the Pleistocene. Here, we estimated habitat stability between the Last Glacial Maximum and the present to relate current biodiversity to past changes in climate. Further, we applied species distribution modeling to address the impact of climate change on the fate of the tropical alpine flora through time. Finally, I illustrate what we learned about mechanisms of speciation in the high Andes and the mountains of East Africa.


***invited by BayCEER member Nicolai Nürk

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