Abstract Detail

Life without water: evolution and adaptation of xeric plants

Eguiarte, Luis [1], Jiménez Barrón, Ofelia Abigail  [2], Scheinvar, Enrique  [3], Aguirre, Erika [3], Souza, Valeria [1].

Evolutionary ecology of Agave: reproductive biology, coevolution with their pollinators, phylogeny and distribution patterns.

With more than two hundred species the Agave genus is one of the most interesting and complex groups of plants in the world, due not only to its great diversity in species, but also to its characteristics and adaptations, some of which are truly remarkable in the vegetable kingdom. Within its adaptations we can mention reproductive and physiological, including its suicidal reproduction, where after growing for many years they produce the largest inflorescences in the world and then die; their remarkable coevolution with their main pollinators, the nectarivorous bats, in particular of the genus Leptonycteris; their photosynthetic metabolism that allows them to use water very efficiently; and their great succulence, which helps them store water and resources for their suicidal flowering. In addition, ecologically the agaves are key-stone species, on which numerous animal species depend for their subsistence, especially due to the large amounts of pollen and nectar that they produce in their flowering, resources that support many other pollinators (including perching birds, hummingbirds, moths, bees, wasps, etc.), not just bats. Also in many regions of Mexico and the southwestern United States agaves are dominant species of their ecosystems. Additionally, their adaptations have turned them into important invasive species in different parts of the world. This complexity has generated not only the different species and their adaptations, but also a whole mosaic of intermediate populations that have complicated and confused taxonomists and biologists since Linnaeus described the genus Agave more than 250 years ago. In this talk we will describe recent advances on the study of the phylogeny, molecular clock, phylogeography and distribution of the genus Agave, discussing how their adaptations evolved thanks to an intricate game between natural selection, gene flow, local adaptation and chance, as well as other evolutionary processes, since species have adapted to the different climate scenarios of our Mexico in the past. We will also discuss the prospects for their future conservation.

1 - UNAM, Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Instituto de Ecología, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, Ciudad de México, 04510, Mexico
2 - Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Departamento de Ecologia Evlutiva, Instituto de Ecología, Ciudad Universitaria, , Coyoacán,, Ciudad de México,, 04510,, Mexico
3 - Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, , Instituto de Ecología, Ciudad Universitaria, , Coyoacán,, Ciudad de México,, 04510,, Mexico

Molecular Evolution
Necctar feeding bats
reproductive biology
arid enviroments

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Abstract ID:459
Candidate for Awards:None

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