Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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Department ofBotany

Iiwi on Maui

Conference Overview

The conference will cover the contribution of Pacific biogeographic research to the fields of ecology, evolution, and conservation biology. There will be 5 symposia, contributed papers and posters over three days (May 27-29), with optional pre-meeting workshops on May 26th and fieldtrips beginning on May 30th. The symposia will focus on the questions listed below:

1. What within-lineage biogeographic patterns are found across the Pacific? Sample Questions: What patterns do we find within lineages? Do taxa on the different hot-spot archipelagos show similar patterns? Is there a genetic predisposition for Pacific Island taxa to radiate? How can regional geological histories in the Pacific be used to test and calibrate rates of morphological and molecular evolution? How are some species able to maintain widespread populations without much or any speciation? What are the rates of DNA sequence, morphological or ecological change, or of speciation? (Co-Chairs: Robert Fleischer, Patrick O'Grady and Tom Ranker)

Bidens comoides flower2. Are there common patterns of evolutionary diversification among lineages across the disparate island systems of the Pacific? Sample Questions: What is the history of geologic change in the Pacific? What are the dominant phylogenetic patterns? Are there common patterns in evolutionary diversification across disparate island systems and taxa? Why do some colonizing species radiate extensively while others show little or no species and morphological diversification? Can phylogenies be used to generate hypothetical biogeographic patterns and can these be linked to causes? Do taxa in similar habitats show similar patterns? (Co-Chairs: Vicki Funk, Gustav Paulay, Warren Wagner)

3. How do different plant and animal populations interact through time to form novel island ecosystems? Sample Questions: Looking across the evolutionary microcosms of the Pacific, are there patterns of convergent or parallel evolution and what do they tell us about the structure of biological communities? What roles do ecological interactions between species play in the dispersal and evolution of Pacific island? What traits are associated with the evolutionary lineages that exhibit niche conservatism and how do these patterns contribute to species richness and diversity on islands? (Co-Chairs: Rosemary Gillespie, Helen James, and Jonathan Price)

Pacific village, courtesy of NTBG
4. How have people influenced the terrestrial and near-shore environments of Pacific islands? Sample Questions: What are the causes, consequences and patterns of extinctions and environmental change in the Pacific? What are the ecological responses to invasive species and climate change? How can an understanding of our islands' ecological past help us plan for the future? What can we learn from the canoe flora and fauna? How can we use oral histories, fossils and historical records to reconstruct the geographic history of species? (Co-Chairs: Patrick Kirch and Lisa Matisoo-Smith)

5. How does knowledge of the evolution of Pacific Island biota contribute to the conservation of island (and continental) ecosystems? Sample Questions: What are the best methods of biodiversity survey and information management for the Pacific? How can biogeographic studies contribute to the conservation of endemic island lineages and restoration of critical habitats? Can we project loss across taxonomic diversity within threatened habitats? How should conservation efforts be prioritized and structured? Can island communities be used as model systems to understand larger ones? How can we better collaborate with indigenous communities and other nonprofessional observers in the study of island biota? (Co-Chairs: David Burney, Douglas Herman and Christopher Filardi)

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