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Ecological subsets in tropics: Plant-centric interactions in isolation

Saket Shrotri, Sukhraj Kaur, Vinita Gowda

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4th July 2023. 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM ( Room 3)


This symposium will bring together experts from various fields to discuss the current understanding of plant-centric interactions in isolated tropical communities, the challenges they face, and conservation strategies that can be implemented to protect them.

Not all islands are surrounded by a body of water, but some also form as a result of unique landforms or geographic formations, such as sky islands, wetlands, and desert oases. These habitats isolate the biotic communities from the surrounding ecosystem, thereby, creating subsets of ecological interactions. Such localised interactions play a crucial role in the formation and maintenance of not only flora, but also plant-dependent fauna such as pollinators, herbivores, frugivores, seed dispersers, etc. Therefore, interactions are critical for maintaining the biodiversity and ecosystem services provided by these areas.

Owing to highly endemic tropical diversity and geographic isolation, these ecological subsets harbour unique floral and fauna assemblages. They serve as an ideal system to access the similarities and differences in functional traits, spatio-temporal variations in ecological networks, and drivers of community structure across biogeography. Furthermore, they also provide an excellent opportunity to monitor the long-term effects of abiotic parameters (environmental seasonality, microhabitat, etc.) on the ecological interactions ranging from species to the community level, thereby, the dynamicity of the ecological structures. However, human interference, such as habitat destruction and fragmentation endanger isolated communities that threaten to jeopardise these interactions.

This symposium will bring together experts from various fields to discuss the current state of plant-centric interactions in isolated communities, the challenges they face, and the conservation strategies that can be implemented to protect them. This symposium is targeted towards researchers, students, conservationists, policy-makers working in the fields of ecology, botany, entomology, conservation biology, and habitat management.

This symposium aims to:
Understand the distinctive qualities of plant-centric interactions in tropical systems isolated by unique geographical forms.
Compare biogeographic patterns of functional ecology over large spatio-temporal scales in isolated communities.
Explore the effect of environmental seasonality on the nature of ecological interactions in isolated plant communities.
Assess the impact of climate change and human activities on the ecological interactions and quantify ecosystem resilience.
Foster interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge-sharing among experts in the field.

Thus, representing diverse isolated tropical ecosystems on the ATBC stage is an important step towards establishing underlying eco-evolutionary mechanisms, exploring their conservation strategies as well as highlighting their role to students and researchers.

The symposium will consist of a series of presentations from a mix of invited speakers and contributed papers. We plan to conduct a panel discussion at the end of the symposium based on the availability of time/slot.

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