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Abstract Detail

Systematics Section/ASPT

Almeda, Frank [1], Alvear, Marcela [2], Humberto, Mendoza-Cifuentes [3].

Colombia, biodiversity hotspot and major center of diversity for Melastomataceae.

The pantropical Melastomataceae, a family of 5000 + species and about 170 genera, are one of the ten largest families of flowering plants. Approximately 3000 species are known from the neotropics, 1000 from tropical Asia, 240 from Africa, and 225 from Madagascar. Colombia (1,141,748 or 440,831 sq.mi.), one of the world’s 10 biologically richest countries on the planet, includes significant portions of two biodiversity hotspots (The Tropical Andes and Tumbes- Chocó -Magdalena) but it covers less than 1% of the Earth’s land surface. Colombia stands out as an extraordinary center of diversity for Melastomataceae with 57 genera and 962 species. Three genera (Allomaieta, Catocoryne, Kirkbridea) and 311 (34%) species are endemic. Six genera are near-endemics with some species occurring in Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru (Bucquetia, Castratella, Centradeniastrum, Chalybea, Killipia, Wurdastom). Miconia is the largest melastome genus in Colombia with 340 species (116 endemics). Using data from three recent expeditions to Colombia and species tallies from the forthcoming Catalogue of the Plants of Colombia, we summarize melastome diversity in Colombia’s 10 biogeographic regions and use coefficients of similarity to compare its diversity with published data from Brazil, Mesoamerica, other tropical Andean countries, and the Guianas. There are almost twice as many melastome species in Colombia than in all of Mesoamerica, and three times more than all of the Guianas. Colombia has about 40% more melastome species than Ecuador which has 553 species, and 30% more than Venezuela which has 653 species. Brazil with 1,326 species has 27% more taxa than Colombia, but it is also more than seven times larger. For its size, Colombia is one of the richest countries for Melastomataceae globally. Our recent fieldwork has generated dozens of new species and collections of others that were previously known only from the type. Species numbers are certain to grow with improved understanding of the larger genera and continued exploration of remote and little-known areas.

Broader Impacts:

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Related Links:
California Academy of Sciences, Department of Botany
Miconieae: Planetary Biodiversity Inventory website

1 - California Academy of Sciences, Department of Botany, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, 94118, USA
2 - California Academy of Sciences, Department of Botany, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, 94118, USA
3 - Claustro de San Agustín , Villa de Leyva, Boyacá, Colombia

South America.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 39
Location: Elmwood/Riverside Hilton
Date: Wednesday, July 31st, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM
Number: 39003
Abstract ID:276
Candidate for Awards:None

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