Evolution in a Glaciated Landscape: Contribution of Endemism to Great Lakes Biodiversity
Reznicek, Anton A. , Peirson, J. A. .
Evolution in a Glaciated Landscape: Contribution of Endemism to Great Lakes Biodiversity.
Pleistocene glacial activity transformed the 765,000-km2 Great Lakes basin into a natural laboratory where the effects of past glaciation on the development of globally rare habitat types (e.g., alvars) and the evolution of regionally endemic species can be readily examined. At the height of the last glaciation, the entire region was covered by glacial ice. The contemporary flora is thus extremely young by geologic standards, having assembled only after the recession of the continental ice sheets. The majority of this flora (ca. 3500 species) consists of wide-ranging plant species that inhabit basic vegetation formations in the region, but a small number of taxa (ca. 200 species) are disjunct into and in some cases endemic to regionally restricted habitat types. Endemic vertebrates and insects have been described from the Great Lakes basin as well, and they often show distribution patterns similar to those of the endemic flora. While few in number, these largely unstudied endemic species hold the potential to shed light on evolutionary processes important in recently glaciated lowland environments, mechanisms involved in ecological speciation, and patterns of postglacial plant migration and community assembly. This symposium brings together speakers with active research programs in the Great Lakes region, who will summarize our current understanding of the ecology and evolution of this rare and interesting piece of biodiversity and highlight critical areas for future research.
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1 - University of Michigan, University Herbarium, 3600 Varsity Drive, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48108, USA
2 - University of Michigan, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 830 North University Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48109-1048, USA
Great Lakes region
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Boulevard A/Hilton
Date: Tuesday, July 10th, 2007
Time: 8:00 AM