15:10 – 15:30: On the relationship between tiger conservation and water managementJasper Griffioen, Hanne Berghuis & Ewa van Kooten (Utrecht University)
16:00 – 16:45: Assembling the diverse rain forest flora of SE Asia by evaluating the fossil and molecular record in relation to plate tectonicsRobert J. Morley (Palynova, and Southeast Asia Research Group, Royal Holloway University of London, UK)
Montoya, E., Keen, H.F., Luzuriaga, C.X. & Gosling, W.D. (2018) Long-term vegetation dynamics in a megadiverse hotspot: The Ice-Age record of a pre-montane forest of central Ecuador. Frontiers in Plant Science 9, 196. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00196
This is my first time attending the European Conference of Tropical Ecology and my second visit to Germany. The conference attracted c. 350 delegates; big enough to have plenty of interesting science, and yet small enough to find everyone you wanted to. The keynote speakers chosen to head the days provided some exciting insights into various new developments across the tropics, including: the importance of biogeography (Richard Corlett), metabolism and carbon cycles (Yadvinder Malhi), diversity and resilience (Lourens Poorter), tropical peatlands (Sue Page), agricultural landscapes (Ravi Prabhu), and mutualism of figs and fig wasps (Martine Hossaert-McKay).
From the many other interesting talks five in particular grabbed my attention, these were:
Matthews-Bird, F., Gosling, W.D., Coe, A.L., Bush, M., Mayle, F.E., Axford, Y. & Brooks, S.J. (2015) Environmental controls on the distribution and diversity of lentic Chironomidae (Insecta: Diptera) across an altitudinal gradient in tropical South America. Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1833
Brown, J.H. (2014) Why are there so many species in the tropics? Journal of Biogeography 41, 8-22. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12228
Matamoro-Vidal, A., Prieu, C., Furness, C.A., Albert, B. & Gouyon, P. (2016) Evolutionary stasis in pollen morphogenesis due to natural selection. New Phytologist 209, 376-394.DOI: 10.1111/nph.13578
McMichael, C., Piperno, D., Neves, E., Bush, M., Almeida, F. & Mongelo, G. (2015) Phytolith assemblages along a gradient of ancient human disturbance in western Amazonia. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 3, 141. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2015.00141
ter Steege, H. et al. (2015) Estimating the global conservation status of more than 15,000 Amazonian tree species. Science Advances 1.DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500936
As part of my MSc research project on Early-Miocene paleodiversity shifts due to marine incursions in the Amazon basin, I recorded and photographed large numbers of palynomorphs. The database consists of a set of images (Teunissen van Manen, 2015a) that I took with my smartphone (bundled in pdfs for sharing purposes) and an Excel overview file (Teunissen van Manen, 2015b) where each of the entries is described. Some of the entries are well documented taxa (C’mon, who hasn’t heard of Zonocostites ramonae and Mauritidites franciscoi before?) while others are “types” that are not formally described – mainly because in Amazonian sediments new, unseen palynomorphs pop up all the time. Indeed, this was the reason why I started the database in the first place: I was merely trying to keep up with the vast diversity that I encountered during sample counting.
Seeing the added value of having a digital record of the palynological diversity from the Amazon basin samples, my project supervisor, Carina Hoorn (UvA), encouraged me to publish the database online so others could also access it. I’d like to invite you to take a look. I hope it can maybe help you with identifying taxa or, who knows, linking taxa across the Amazon basin… if you do, please let me know!
…or maybe it will have you rejoice in the huge diversity and alien beauty of pollen morphology, just as it rejoiced me as I was working through my (seemingly endless) samples.
The PCRG contribution to the meeting was made by Hayley Keen who presented the first paper related to her doctoral research to an exteral audience entitled “Pollen counting for diverse tropical ecosystems”. The paper presented:
A statistical model (developed by co-author Felix Hanke) which simulaltes pollen counting in order to estimate the size of pollen count required to develop a robust ecological insight from the fossil pollen record, and
compared model predictions with empirical data from a diverse tropopical ecosystem (Mera, Ecuador) to assess the reliablity of the model.
It is hoped the application of the model to fossil pollen counting will allow more efficient and effective use of palynologists time. The paper was very well recieved despite the audible intake of breath when Hayley recommened that to characterize pollen richness (diversity) in some settings pollen counts in excess of 2000 grains might be required!