1. Phylogeny-based biodiversity assessments for conservation: perspectives from the Southern Hemisphere. Organizers: Rosita Scherson, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile; Daniel Faith, The Australian Research Institute, Sydney, Australia; Brent Mishler, University of California, Berkeley, USA.
Phylogeny-based studies have increased exponentially and are becoming a relevant topic in ecology and conservation. Evolutionary history provides one natural measure of biodiversity through the phylogenetic diversity (PD) measure. Various calculations and indices based on PD are useful for conservation planning. Globally, an important context is the planetary boundaries framework, which defines a safe operating space for humanity based on the intrinsic biophysical processes that regulate the stability of the Earth System. PD has been proposed as a possible basis for quantifying this boundary. Any effective monitoring of a phylogenetic planetary boundary would have to identify key places holding unique PD. Incorporating evolutionary information has allowed the study of such phylogenetic endemism not only at the level of species, but also for clades at any level. This is especially relevant in the Southern Hemisphere where deep geographic disjunctions due to the breakup of Gondwana and recent glacial cycles have determined the distribution of biotas. However, biodiversity conservation in the Southern Hemisphere is not easy, due to resource allocation in developing countries. To aid this task, many phylogeny-based studies have been carried out here. In fact, a quick analysis of the taxon-oriented studies using PD and related measures showed that half of the available studies have been carried out in this part of the world. What are the commonalities or differences among these studies? Is there an emerging toolbox/framework suitable for adopting PD as the key biodiversity measure, from local to global? The Southern Connection Congress has been an important venue to bring together studies aiming at understanding and comparing the Southern Hemisphere biotas. This symposium is an effort to compile a large amount of research in different groups. We have assembled a group of scientists that have shaped the field of phylogeny-based measures of biodiversity, working in all Gondwanan derived continents, making this a very powerful opportunity for developing collaborations and comparative studies.
2. Phylogeography and ecology of bryophytes in the Southern Hemisphere. Organizers: Elisabeth Biersma, Cambridge University and British Antarctic Survey, UK; Lily Lewis, University of Connecticut, USA.
Bryophytes are one of the most important components of the flora in high latitude terrestrial ecosystems. They play key roles in many wet and dry (bog and tundra) biomes, being involved in, for example, primary succession, water retention, terrestrial carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling. At higher latitudes bryophytes often contribute disproportionately to regional biodiversity. For example, the non-algal flora of Antarctica, excepting two species of angiosperms, is restricted entirely to bryophytes. Over the last decade, advances in biodiversity assessment and genetic research have led to a considerable increase in knowledge of the phylogeography of bryophytes of the Southern Hemisphere and (Sub-) Antarctic regions in relation to dispersal ability and evolution. This symposium aims to integrate all aspects of bryophyte phylogeography and ecology in order to unravel the key processes driving diversification, richness and biogeography of bryophytes across a range of ecosystems and over varying timescales, with a focus on (but not limited to) the Southern Hemisphere. We believe the topic of this symposium would be particularly well-suited for the VIII Southern Connection Congress 2016, given the fundamental importance of bryophytes in many higher latitude ecosystems and the recent advances in the field. Although we already received a considerable interest in this symposium from various plant biologists, we believe the symposium will also be of interest to scientists with a background in other fields e.g. general biogeography, distribution modelling, refugial studies, Antarctica-southern continent connections, atmospheric modelling and circulation analyses, as well as scientists working on other spore-dispersed organisms (e.g. microbial groups, lichens).
3. Holocene evolution of temperate terrestrial environments within the southern westerly wind zone. Organizer: Patricio Moreno, Universidad de Chile and Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Santiago, Chile.
Not long ago the Holocene, the current interglacial, was conceived as a static and invariant epoch relative to the environmental roller coaster during the last glaciation, as revealed by paleoclimate records. A rapidly growing body of literature from tropical and extratropical records, however, has demonstrated otherwise with large-magnitude and frequent mean-state and variability changes attributable to climatic shifts driven by low or high-latitude controls. The impacts of Holocene climate swings on the origins of agriculture, the rise and fall of civilizations, glacial fluctuations, biogeography and disturbance regimes have been amply discussed in the literature and constitute the closest historical background for assessing the current and future impacts of human-driven changes in the landscape, atmospheric chemistry and global climate. This session seeks contributions that deal with reconstructions of Holocene climate and natural/anthropogenic environmental changes from terrestrial environments deposits from the middle latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere.
4. The evolution of arid biotas. Organizer: Pablo C. Guerrero, Departamento de Botánica, Universidad de Concepción and Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Concepción, Chile.
Since the early naturalists to contemporaneous researchers ideas regarding evolution of the biotas of arid habitats have changed substantially, moving from a notion that considered arid places as sterile areas where evolution is constrained, to a scientific view that considers deserts as natural laboratories where rapid evolution can be studied. Given that arid environments are relatively harsh habitats that may require novel physiological adaptations to allow organisms to invade them, the spread of arid climatic conditions is regarded as an important force in the evolution of plants and animals. The aim of this symposium is to join and explore research lines from a broad scientific spectrum in an integrative multi-taxa perspective. The invited speakers are prestigious researchers who study different deserts of the globe, but in this symposium southern hemisphere studies will be emphasized.
5. Wildfire regime shifts in southern temperate forest ecosystems: climate change, anthropogenic Influences, and ecological Feedbacks. Organizers: Thomas T. Veblen, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA; Andres Holz, Portland State University, Portland, USA and University of Tasmania, Australia.
The rate of burning of many forests around the world is predicted to increase under a warming climate, and specifically for temperate forests of the southern hemisphere there have been recent upsurges in wildfire activity. In this symposium we will examine the causes and consequences of increased wildfire activity in southern temperate forests in the context of anthropogenic alteration of ignition frequencies, land-use practices, and climate change. We will explore the hypothesis that for many southern temperate forest ecosystems increased wildfire activity driven by people and/or climate are exacerbated by properties of post-fire vegetation that produce a positive feedback, making recently burned areas increasingly prone to subsequent fire. This increased susceptibility results from changes in fuel profiles and effects of post-fire vegetation on microclimate and fuel moisture compared to conditions in the pre-burned forest community. We will bring together researchers evaluating post-fire vegetation dynamics in the southern temperate forests in order to compare the feedbacks of post-fire vegetation on susceptibility to subsequent fire and determine (1) what factors drive the strength of the positive feedbacks, (2) in what types of environments are these positive feedbacks most likely to lead to abrupt, nearly irreversible vegetation changes, and (3) management options available to reduce the probability of permanent changes in vegetation driven by increasing flammability of the post-fire vegetation.
6. The role of South America as center of austral plant diversity: past evolution and future persistence. Organizers: Andrea C. Premoli and Paula Mathiasen, Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Bariloche, Argentina.
Biodiversity and genetic patterns in tropical and temperate South America are the result of complex processes occurring at different timescales. The Neotropical region (tropical America) is considered the most species-rich region on Earth. Also temperate regions of South America hold significant diversity at higher taxonomic levels particularly plants (e.g. orders, families, genera). Different hypothesis were put forward to explain such biodiversity patterns of South America. However, potential links between those regions and direction of exchange of lineages between tropical and temperate South America as well as with other continents as Africa and Antarctica have been largely overlooked. In recent years, advances in DNA technologies and data analyses including molecular dating and fossil calibrated phylogenies are making valuable contributions to test biogeographic scenarios, some of which using charismatic genera of austral origin as Deschampsia antarctica, Nothofagus, and Podocarpus as study cases. The symposium will provide the framework for discussion on phylogeography and phylogeny in relation to climate and landscape configuration to understand past evolution and predict future persistence of southern lineages. The symposium will reunite experts working on a diversity of related topics as tropical and temperate areas of South America as a source of Podocarpus lineage diversification; phylogeology and the influence of paleolandscapes on the long-lasting persistence of ancient Nothofagus; paleoconfiguration of terrains in temperate South America; legacy of ice ages shaping genetic signatures in cold-tolerant Nothofagus; South American-Antarctica connections by means of phylogeographic and cytogenetic evidence in Deschampsia antarctica; and conservation genetics of woody taxa.
7. Traditional and contemporary inter-hemispheric perspectives to integrate ecology, ethics, and education into biocultural conservation. Organizers: Francisca Massardo, Omora Ethnobotanical Park and Universidad de Magallanes, Puerto Williams, Chile; Eugene Hargrove, University of North Texas, Denton, USA; Ricardo Rozzi, University of North Texas, Denton, USA, Universidad de Magallanes, Instituto de Ecologia y Biodiversidad and Parque Etnobotanico Omora, Puerto Williams, Chile.
The Earth Summit, Rio+20, held in June 2012 in Brazil, showed the great need for an environmental ethics that integrates the technical-scientific description of this dramatic global change with a holistic normative framework, centred on an ethic of life rather than solely on economics and particular facets of the eco-social global problems. This deficit of environmental ethics is symptomatic of three broader phenomena: 1) This ethical discipline is still at an incipient stage in academy and public discourse; 2) The global discourse does not adequately include the diversity of languages, with their ontologies, metaphysics, epistemologies, and ethics rooted in the heterogeneous biocultural mosaic of planetary regions due in part to the limited inter-linguistic and intercultural dialogue among philosophers and other thinkers in environmental ethics. 3) Environmental ethics raises critical challenges to the free market system because: a) it proposes limits of action to the prevailing neo-liberal policy, and (b) it extends the moral community beyond those who govern and benefit from the market (to include the majority, marginalized, and oppressed populations), and beyond the human species to include all beings with whom we cohabit in the biosphere. This symposium seeks to help overcome these three problems through complementary contributions from ecologists and environmental philosophers working on environmental ethics, biodiversity conservation, and ecology in different regions of the Southern and Northern hemispheres. At an interregional level, we hope that this symposium will catalyse an intercontinental dialogue on ecology, ethics, education, and conservation.
8. Pine invasions in the southern hemisphere: new developments. Organizers: Aníbal Pauchard and Martín Nuñez, Universidad de Concepción and Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Concepción, Chile.
Pine invasions are one of the most conspicuous biological invasions in terrestrial ecosystems. Southern hemisphere ecosystems are especially vulnerable to pine invasions because Pinaceae only occur naturally in the Northern hemisphere and pines in the Southern Hemisphere have been planted widely, producing extremely strong propagule pressure. In this symposium, we will review new research being conducted on pine invasions in the Southern Hemisphere. Speakers will discuss case studies from Chile, Argentina, Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa. Topics will range from ecological mechanisms of impacts on policy and management implications.
9. Biological connectivity in Antarctica and across the Southern Ocean. Organizers: Peter Convey, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK; Claudio Gonzalez Wevar, Universidad de Magallanes, Punta Arenas, Chile; Charles Lee, University of Waikato, New Zealand; Elie Verleyen, University of Gent, Belgium.
The Antarctic is one of the world’s last great wildernesses and, along with associated ecosystems on the isolated islands of the Southern Ocean, continues to excite human curiosity and inform important scientific advances. For instance, rapid progress in phylogeographic knowledge over the last decade has driven the development of a new paradigm within which we can understand the antiquity and evolution of much of the Antarctic terrestrial biota, presenting fundamental challenges for integration of the biological, geological and glaciological histories of Antarctica. Likewise, the integration of genetic, atmospheric and oceanographic modelling approaches provides ever greater potential for identifying and testing connectedness over different timescales between the various elements of the wider Antarctic and Southern Ocean region. This SCAR-AntEco sponsored session sets out to attract contributions from a multidisciplinary community interested in connecting the biological history, biodiversity and associated physical environmental processes of the wide region encompassing Antarctica itself, the Southern Ocean, and its linkages out into the Southern continents.
10. From Gondwana into the tropics. Organizers: Felipe Hinojosa, Universidad de Chile and Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Santiago, Chile; Fernanda Pérez, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Santiago, Chile.
Present-day southern South American and Australia-NZ flora are characterized by a uniquely high proportion of endemic genera, but also with woody genera that are related to tropical and subtropical floras from Australasia and the Neotropics. The presence of genera with disjunctions distribution in both tropical and temperate regions has been recently explained by the so call Tropical Conservatism Hypothesis, which predicts that the majority of temperate lineages should be derived from tropical clades as of the onset of global cooling from Eocene-Oligocene boundary time. However this hypothesis does not consider the contribution of the taxa with Gondwanan origin to the modern diversity in the tropical regions. In this symposium we will considerer recent works on fossil record and paleoclimatic reconstructions, niche and traits evolutions and phylogenetic studies to discuss the Gondwanan contribution into the tropics biodiversity.
11. Comparative forest ecology across the southern hemisphere. Organizers: Aurora Gaxiola, Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity and P. Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile; Christopher Lusk, Waikato University, Auckland, New Zealand.
Forest ecosystems in the southern hemisphere can be seen as parallel experiments; these ecosystems share many plant clades and climatic conditions, but differ in historical biogeography, soil conditions and disturbance dynamics. At the same time these forests are a source of numerous ecosystem services, ranging from provision of timber to regulation of carbon sequestration and storage. In this symposium we will compare plant dynamics, functional groups, interactions with other organisms, as well as ecosystem services to expand our understanding of the ecology of southern hemisphere forests. Describing and quantifying processes such as regeneration, coexistence, carbon dynamics, and species interactions, and how these processes are shared across the southern hemisphere is key in order to mitigate the impacts that drivers such as climate or land use change can have on these forest ecosystems.
12. Southern Hemisphere fjords: From present-day processes to paleoclimate reconstructions. Organizers: Sebastien Bertrand, Ghent University, Belgium; Christopher Moy, University of Otago, New Zealand.
Fjord sediments are increasingly used as high-resolution archives of past climate and environmental change. They constitute a particularly important source of information at the mid- and high-latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere, where recent studies have demonstrated their ability to record changes in glacier variability, aquatic productivity, sea surface temperature, and precipitation. Although Patagonia, New Zealand, and Antarctica contain a dense network of fjords, only a fraction of these systems have been investigated. In addition, studies of modern fjord processes, which are required to accurately interpret fjord sediment records, are rather limited and generally conducted by distinct teams of scientists. This session gathers scientists working on modern and Holocene fjord sediment research. It covers all aspects of modern fjord sedimentation, such as productivity, sediment transport, and river discharge, and it illustrates how these contemporary studies may inform the interpretation of paleoclimate records. In addition, a number of presentations will be devoted to paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental records derived from fjord sediment cores. Combining the modern and paleo- aspects of fjord sedimentation will allow scientists to take best advantage of this mostly untapped archive.
13. Human-climate interactions from geological to historical timescales in the southern hemisphere. Organizers: Claudio Latorre, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Santiago, Chile; Janet Wilmshurst, Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand.
Understanding the adaptive response of human societies to climate change is a fundamental but very little explored aspect of global change. In this symposium, we examine how the historical sciences can be brought to bear on this critical issue. Although some research has delved into this issue in the northern hemisphere, very little of it has occurred in the southern hemisphere, even though examples abound from societies that have remained hunter-gatherers until recent historical times to highly developed cultures that had large impacts on their surrounding environments. The multidisciplinary talks of this session will span the major ecoregions of South America and New Zealand with examples of adaptation, social complexity and evolving cultural landscapes.
14. Gondwana lessons from fine-scale, long-term bird vulnerability studies. Organizers: Jaime E. Jiménez, University of North Texas, USA and Universidad de Magallanes, Chile; Phoebe Barnard, South African National Biodiversity Institute and Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
In these rapidly-changing times, birds remain one of the best windows into species vulnerability to climate and other forms of global change. Yet it is becoming clear that bird responses to climate change, for example, differ substantively among hemispheres, and that the basic “poleward-upward” response may be too simplistic. There are also distinct lessons to be learned from bird populations at the southern tips of Gondwanan countries. Our symposium looks at the important lessons coming out of the global South on resident and migrant bird populations, using both traditional and novel methods. Traditionally, predictive range-change models and large-scale datasets have been used to estimate bird vulnerability. But these are essentially post-hoc — once a bird has become locally extinct it is too late to devise conservation interventions. We highlight long-term, fine-scale work from Africa, South America and Australia which sheds light on the behaviour, movements, phenology, epidemiology, population ecology and genetics of birds in the Southern Hemisphere. Such work will enable conservationists to anticipate species responses before local extinctions, and plan conservation actions.
15. Plant adaptations and interactions in habitually cold Southern Hemisphere environments. Organizers: Janice Lord, Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand; Mary T. K. Arroyo, Universidad de Chile and Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Santiago, Chile.
High altitude and high latitude cold environments pose severe constraints on plant physiological and reproductive processes and life-histories, which can lead to novel adaptations and interactions with other organisms. An understanding of plant responses to cold environments in the far flung lands of the southern hemisphere can offer important insights into evolutionary processes and ecological patterns, as in many cases these environments are geological young, highly heterogeneous and/or strongly oceanic, and thus may be associated with different selective pressures compared with cold climate northern hemisphere habitats. However, although cold temperatures are a common feature, even in the more insular land masses of the southern hemisphere, vast differences in precipitation and seasonality can be found. This symposium will highlight how plants adapt to and interact in cold environments, with particular emphasis on freezing tolerance, reproductive adaptations, positive interactions and tree line dynamics, and their implications under climate change. The importance of scaling up from the level of the experimental plot to detect major patterns will be highlighted.
16. Peat deposits in southern high latitudes: Integrators of past climate and environmental changes. Organizers: François De Vleeschouwer, Université de Toulouse, Auzeville tolosane and CNRS, France; Patricio Moreno, Universidad de Chile and Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Santiago, Chile; Zicheng Yu, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, USA.
Peat deposits are valuable terrestrial archives for Holocene environmental changes. Some peatlands (bogs) are only fed by atmospheric inputs and therefore have a potential to record a more global (i.e. hemispheric) signature than other continental deposits (e.g. river and lake sediments). Easily datable, they can produce high-resolution, precisely dated records covering the Holocene and beyond. The widespread occurrence of peats in southern mid- and high latitudes (Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, New Zealand, Sub-Antarctic Islands and the maritime Antarctic and Antarctic Peninsula) compared to other sedimentary records ought to make them particularly suitable for global hemispheric comparison, to answer major global climate change questions.This session aims at seeking contributions that deal with reconstructions of Holocene climate and natural/anthropogenic environmental changes from peat deposits from mid to high latitude regions of the Southern Hemisphere (ca. >40°S), including Antarctica. We particularly encourage studies employing high-resolution records integrating climate-environment and land-atmosphere interactions using varieties of inorganic, organic, biotic and abiotic climate and environmental proxies. In addition, we welcome papers focusing on the application of new analytical techniques, novel proxies, statistical techniques and dating methods (including tephrochronology) to link peat records in the Southern Hemisphere high latitudes.