The IBB hosted the III Annual Symposium of Spanish Botany
As every year, since the Spanish Botanical Society (SEBOT) was constituted in 2019, experts in this field gather together in an annual meeting in which they exchange advances and ideas around a specific topic related to Botany. In past editions, the topics discussed were Phylogenetics to understand the diversity and evolution of complex groups of plants (2020) and Natural hybridisation and allopolyploidy. Importance in plant biodiversity and evolution (2021). Last 25 and 26 November, the Botanical Institute of Barcelona (IBB) had the pleasure of hosting the 3rd Annual Symposium of Spanish Botany whose overarching theme focused on New challenges in the study of mountain plants: an interdisciplinary perspective.
The symposium began on the afternoon of Friday 25th November with the opening by the director of the IBB, Dr. Teresa Garnatje, together with Drs. Oriane Hidalgo and Jaume Pellicer, members of the organising committee, who welcomed the attendees. This was followed by the first presentation of this edition in which Dr. María Begoña García, from the Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología (IPE-CSIC), told us about her experience in the field of biodiversity, and how citizen science and new technologies can help the scientific community through projects such as Floramon; especially in a scenario of climate change where the preservation of certain species may be at risk.
Later on, Prof. Juan Carlos Moreno (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, UAM) and Prof. Gonzalo Nieto-Feliner (Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid, RJB-CSIC) presented the latest advances made towards the organisation of the next XX International Botanical Congress. This event takes place every six years and its twentieth edition will be held in Madrid from 21st to 27th July 2024. On this occasion, the main topics to be discussed will be the following: Systematics, phylogenetics, biogeography and evolution; Ecology, environment and climate change, including invasive species and plant-animal interactions; Biodiversity and conservation; Structure, physiology and development, including Evo-Devo; Genomic genetics and bioinformatics and finally, Plants and Society.
The first day ended with a poster session in which numerous participants, some of them PhD students working on their theses at the IBB, presented the latest advances made in their research. A jury composed of the symposium’s invited speakers evaluated the quality of the posters and selected three of them for the prize-giving ceremony, that was held at the end of the symposium. In the pre-doctoral category the winners were Julia G. de Aledo (UAM) with her poster entitled Functional traits determine the provision of plant services for indigenous peoples in western Amazonia, and Clara Espinosa del Alba (Instituto Mixto de Investigación en Biodiversidad) with her work entitled Seed longevity patterns in alpine fellfield and snowbed communities. In the postdoctoral category the winner was Dr. José Ignacio Márquez Corro (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Pablo de Olavide University) with his poster Ploidy level variation in Cyperaceae (Poales) family estimated with High-Throughput Sequencing data.
The second day of the symposium started on Saturday morning with a plenary lecture by Dr. Sébastien Lavergne (Université Grenoble Alpes) on the evolutionary history of Alpine flora and its potential for persistence and adaptation to climatic fluctuations, using an approach combining ecology, phylogenomics and comparative phylogenetic methods. His work pays special attention to clades of species that have colonised high-altitude Alpine environments and have developed remarkable adaptations, such as cushion life forms. Next talk was delivered by Dr. Cristina Roquet (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), who is a member of the associated unit of the Biodiversity and Plant Evolution group at the IBB, She presented some of the latest results of the PHYLOALPS project, and also explained the differences between the Afromontane and tropical Afroalpine flora, as well as the effect that soil types have on speciation.
After the first coffee-break of the day, it was the turn of Dr. Alfredo García Fernández (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos), who talked about his experience with mountain plants from different approaches: the study of marginal populations (and if they really are), the identification of micro refugia and the microevolutionary processes that occurred in the past, and the viability of an early flowering in a context of climate change. Dr. Pau Carnicero (University of Innsbruck) closed the morning presenting his studies focused on the post-glacial expansion of Alpine plants in the Dolomites from multiple refugia, and the factors that have led to this based on the expansion of three limestone soil species.
Once the lunch was finished, it was the turn of Dr. Luca Pegoraro (Federal Research Institute WSL), whose talk focused on the plant-pollinator interaction in the Alps and how monitoring systems can help us to track it, as well as the technological challenges that this entails. To end the series of talks, Dr. Airy Gras (Emory University and University of Barcelona) spoke about the importance of Ethnobotany and how the study of traditional uses of mountain plants can help us facing current and future global challenges.
As a final announcement on this 3rd symposium, the venue chosen to host the 4th symposium next year was revealed. After the voting poll made on the same day by the attendees, León venue, whose candidacy was entitled Scientific Collections: a unique natural and cultural heritage for present and future research, was the winner. Our most sincere congratulations to the organisers Estrella Alfaro Saiz and Carmen Acedo Casado (Universidad de León) and Pablo Muñoz Rodríguez (Oxford University and Universidad Complutense de Madrid). .
In this link you can consult the book of summaries and, we hope to see you next year in León!