Invited Lecturer: Dr. Bibiana Moncada, Universidad Distrital, Bogotá, Colombia
A unique chance to get to know the diversity of tropical cryptogams, taught by a specialist from Colombia whose research as been featured in high impact journals such as PNAS and Fungal Diversity. Learn about the biology, evolution, and importance of tropical bryophytes, lichens, and fungi in a modern framework, with hands-on experience through our research projects in Colombia, Cuba, Brazil, and elsewhere, at the FU Berlin/BGBM.
Schedule: Block 2, 20.11.- 22.12.2017; daily 10:00-11:00; kleiner Hörsaal BGBM
Bryophytes, lichens and fungi, colloquially often called "cryptogams" but actually representing unrelated kingdoms (plants and fungi), play an important role in tropical ecosystems. As epiphytes and biological soil crusts, bryophytes and lichens participate in the water and nutrient cycle and facilitate plant growth and the development of animal populations. As saprotrophs, parasites, and symbionts, fungi act as decomposers, control population sizes of plants and animals, and besides lichens form unique mutualistic relationships such as mycorrhizas or ant gardens. Cryptogams, particularly lichens, are also widely used as bioindicators of environmental health. The course will include theoretical lectures, practical work based on herbarium specimens (from the BGBM) and new material (from Colombia); and group work presented in the form of a seminar. The basis of the course is an evolutionary framework of the three main groups (bryophytes, lichens, fungi), which helps to assess their biology in the light of natural relationships. Course topics include basic biology and features of each group; evolution based on molecular evidence, including advanced methods such as molecular clock approaches and comparison with paleogeography and paleoecology in tropical regions; global biodiversity assessments, systematics, classification, and species concepts; and ecological and economical importance and uses by humans of tropical cryptogams.