Abstract Detail

Time to dig: the importance of underground storage organs in plant evolution

Howard, Cody Coyotee [1].

Time to dig: the importance of underground organs in plant evolution.

Underground storage organs (USOs) such as bulbs, corms, tubers and rhizomes are evolutionarily, ecologically and agriculturally important structures that are both morphologically and phylogenetically diverse. Herbaceous taxa that possess these traits, known as geophytes, can be found throughout a number of habitats around the globe, particularly those that are disturbance-prone (e.g., wildfires) and experience a climatic seasonal cycle between wet and dry and/or hot and cold. The underground organs that geophytes possess can be comprised of one or many different plant tissues (i.e., root, stem and/or leaf), with repeated niche preference patterns emerging for the different USOs. For example, bulbous taxa are consistently found to inhabit more open, drier, cooler climates, whereas rhizomatous taxa typically inhabit warmer landscapes with more a closed canopy. Slowly, our knowledge of geophyte evolution is improving thanks to a number of past and present researchers. However, a deeper comprehension of geophyte evolution is still lacking partly due to a shortage of morphological, anatomical, developmental and physiological studies on these taxa. The importance of geophytes to human evolution, their ability to increase our understanding of the diverse ways plants respond to selective pressures, and the growing recognition of geophytes as vital agricultural crops warrants greater scientific attention on a diversity of geophytes found throughout the plant tree of life. Therefore, to improve the scientific community’s awareness of geophytes and to increase research on these taxa and traits, we present the work of scientists from an assortment of research backgrounds and interests.

1 - University of Florida, Florida Museum of Natural History, 1659 Museum Rd., Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA

underground storage organs

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Number: 0
Abstract ID:24
Candidate for Awards:None

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