Bryological and Lichenological Section/ABLS
Mishler, Brent D. , Fok, Elaine .
The Moorea Biocode Project: Bryophytes.
The island of Moorea, French Polynesia, is located at the center of the Pacific Ocean. It has a Paleotropical flora and fauna at the tail end of a biodiversity gradient that extends eastward from continental source areas in Southeast Asia and Australia stepwise through the island groups of the South Pacific to French Polynesia (east of which is a large expanse of ocean). The biota is much less diverse than the source areas as well as showing "taxonomic disharmony" -- i.e., with some groups like ferns and bryophytes forming a disproportionately large fraction of the flora and other groups like orchids a disproportionately small fraction. Interesting ecological questions arise given this small and biased subsampling of the southeast Asian biota, such as how are niches filled in a low-diversity region versus a high-diversity region? The goal of the Moorea Biocode Project (funded by a large grant from the Moore Foundation) is to inventory every single species of multicellular organism on the island, or in the lagoon. It is called "biocoding" to indicate advances over standard "DNA barcoding" -- initial approaches to which were too limited and controversial given the potential non-evolutionary connotations of a "barcode." The Moorea Biocode Project is looking at multiple populations for each species, preparing museum or herbarium vouchers and pictures for everything, and making keys and morphological descriptions, as well as sequencing lineage-specific genes for every specimen. There are teams working on various groups of plants, animals, and fungi. Our lab is taking primary responsibility for ferns and bryophytes. We have made several hundred collections so far and have added many taxa to the known flora of the island. This ambitious and novel attempt to inventory, biocode, and database an entire ecosystem will have many applications to research, conservation, sustainable use, and teaching in the future.
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Richard B. Gump South Pacific Research Station
Moorea Biocode Project
University and Jepson Herbaria
1 - University of California, Berkeley, Department of Integrative Biology, 1001 Valley Life Sciences Bldg. #2465, Berkeley, California, 94720-2465, USA
2 - University of California, Berkeley, Environmental Sciences, Berkeley, CA, 94720-3100, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for BSA Sections
Location: Magpie B/Cliff Lodge - Level B
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009
Time: 10:15 AM