Yi-Gang, Wei , Fang, Wen , Alex, Morno .
Plant diversity in limestone caves in China.
Limestone land formations in China account for about 23% of Chinese landmass. Guangxi, Guizhou, SE Yunnan and neighboring provinces are the richest in caves. We believe the plant species diversity of these caves is very rich in these regions and them becoming a symbol of Chinese plant diversity and conservation. We began working on limestone cave plants in 2003. Initially we concentrated on Guangxi. Later we extended our research to other areas of S China. Our research has mainly focused on the vascular plant families Urticaceae, Gesneriaceae and Begoniaceae which together with ferns and Selaginella dominate cave floras. We are progressing from the collection of base-line data, to the description of new taxa to studying the origins and relationships of cave-dwelling plants using molecular techniques.An example of this is Elatostma (Urticaceae), probably the most common plant group in limestone caves.Our goal: In a project lead by Wei YiGang and Wen Fang to barcode cave-dwelling species using the agreed barcoding regions (matK, rbcL, ITS) from S China and the Indo-China Peninsula, in the near future. Because Elatostema is a variable and complicated genus we aim to use additional markers (rpoB, rpoCl, UPA, trnH-psbA, atpF-atpH, psbK-psb1) to support the delimitation of species. In a project lead by Alex Monro we aim to develop and test hypotheses about the origin, evolution and conservation of this unusual and poorly studied flora. Current activities: 1. Describing new taxa. Several new species have been discovered recently, e.g. E. hezhouensis and E. retrorstrigulosum. We will continue to discover and describe new taxa from the limestone caves of S China as we undertake more exploration of caves in S China. 2. We will explore the consequences of extreme population reduction and isolation, a consequence of this habitat, on genetic and morphological variation and the implications that this will have on species concepts and speciation. We aim do so by using genetic markers to 1) quantify genetic and morphological variation within and between cave and non-cave dwelling species 2) establish whether there cave populations are reproductively isolated from each other and 3) use molecular clock techniques to identify a time frame for cave. The results will provide a framework for establishing and testing hypotheses on the origins of the Elatostema cave flora and the consequence of extreme isolation and population reduction on evolutionary processes.
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1 - Guangxi Institute of Botany, Herbarium, No. 85, Yanshan Street, Yanshan Town, Guilin, Guangxi, CN-541006, China
2 - Guangxi Institute of Botany, Herbarium, No.85, Yanshan Street, Yanshan Town, Guilin, Guangxi, CN-541006, China
3 - The Nature History Museum, Department of Botany, London, SW7 5BD, UK
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Location: Battelle South/Convention Center
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 5:30 PM