These two morning sessions are led by the Botanic Garden Assistant Curator, Angela Cano. Travelling back in time you will discover that the borders of the tropical region have been dynamic throughout the history of life on Earth with clues that have allowed us to understand the extent of the tropical belt, with a focus on the fossil record.
You will then study current patterns of geographic distribution of plant diversity on Earth – discovering that it is not homogeneous, but dramatically different between continents. You will overfly the tropical belt to understand which regions have the highest species richness and face the strongest threats - known as “biodiversity hotspots”. Angela will then discuss the main factors that threaten this biodiversity and the local and ex-situ efforts that are in place to counteract their effects.
The second part of the course will then focus on plant systematics - understanding how plants have evolved, and how taxonomists have classified them as a result of this understanding. You will focus on different tropical plant groups, starting with non-flowering plants –such as mosses, ferns and conifers and then cover the most representative tropical Angiosperm families.