Seung-Chul Kim, Full Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
Sungkyunkwan University, Korea
Topic: Origin and Evolution of the Woody Sonchus Alliance (Asteraceae) in the Macaronesian Islands
Oceanic island archipelagos are profoundly interesting ecosystems in which to ask questions about evolutionary patterns and process, and may rightly be considered as one of the best place on earth to seek an understanding the origin and elaboration of biological diversity. Recently, numerous molecular phylogenetic studies in the Pacific archipelagos, especially in the Hawaii and Galapagos, shed lights on understanding the processes and patterns of island plants evolution. However, very little was known about those processes and patterns in the Atlantic Ocean up until mid 1990’s. The phytogeographic region Macaronesia includes five archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean (Canaries, Madeira, Azores, Salvage, and Cape Verde), with an enclave of Morocco. The Macaronesian flora is exceptionally rich and diverse. Spectacular radiation of numerous endemic plant groups (e.g., Echium, Aeonium, Argyranthemum, Pericallis, etc) has made the Macaronesian Islands an outstanding area for studies of evolution and speciation. Here, I used the woody Sonchus alliance in Asteraceae (Sunflower family) as a model system to study plant evolution and speciation in the Atlantic Ocean. The alliance consists of 6 genera (subgenus Dendrosonchus, Lactucosonchus, Taeckholmia, Babcockia, Chrysoprenanthes, and Svenetenia) and approximately 31 species and represents one of the best-known examples of adaptive radiations in the Macaronesian Islands. Nuclear and organelle sequences were utilized to determine the origin and evolution of this spectacular group in Macaronesia. Also, the age and diversification rate of the group were estimated and discussed based on major geological and climatic changes. Genetic architecture of species differences and insular woodiness will be presented.
Host Lab: Davis