Monday, May 16, 2011

Floral responses to global environmental change

Department of Earth Science Speakers Club May 19th, at 2:00 pm. in Webb 1100.

Cynthia V. Looy
Professor, Integrative Biology
University of California, Berkeley

Floral responses to global environmental change

Understanding patterns and processes of past ecologic crises and biodiversity decline is no longer a matter of purely academic interest. Studies of biotic change related to major extinction events may substantially contribute to predictions of the long-term consequences of the current man-induced "sixth extinction". A major part of the biomass on Earth is sequestered as terrestrial vegetation. Thus, the extensive fossil record of plants can provide insight in how terrestrial ecosystems respond to major environmental transitions. My research primarily focuses on the response of plants, plant communities and floras to environmental change during periods of mass extinction and deglaciation, and possible evolutionary consequences. I will present a botanical perspective of the collapse and recovery of terrestrial ecosystems during the end-Permian biotic crisis (250 Ma ago), and give an update of ongoing and future research on the evolution of Late Paleozoic conifers, against the background of Early Permian deglaciation and related equatorial climate change.

Please go to the following url to view the photograph that accompanies the abstract.

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