OCTF hybrid seminar followed by Q&A and drinks – all welcome
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Speaker: Prof Toby Pennington, Professor of Tropical Plant Diversity and Biogeography, University of Exeter
When addressing what is special about species diversity in the tropics, the gaze of science, conservation and the general public is on tropical rain forests. This focus neglects that half of the global tropics is too seasonally dry to support rain forests and that this dry portion is home to one third of the global population. Focusing on tropical America, this talk will explain how the dry forest and savanna biomes of the tropics hold unique and high plant species diversity that current approaches to conservation and ecosystem restoration are often failing to protect. It will examine how understanding patterns of evolution and biogeography across all these biomes can help to understand tropical species diversification more broadly.
Toby’s research has aimed to address one of the fundamental questions of tropical biology – how and when did the huge species numbers in the tropics arise? It is grounded in taxonomic, floristic inventory and phylogenetic research, which provides the foundation to address evolutionary and biogeographic questions. In recent years he has focused more of his work on outcomes relevant to conservation and sustainable livelihoods in tropical Latin America. He has particular interest in raising the profile of neglected but highly threatened tropical dry forest and savanna biomes.