|Tuesday, July 06|
Prof. Vamosi is a biodiversity scientist involved in the conservation of Canada's plant species. Her lab researches the factors influencing declines in threatened plant species in Canada, and aims to pinpoint species for which the threat of climate change will increase extinction risk. Her research programme brings evolutionary perspectives to questions pertaining to the study of polyploidy and plant-insect interactions in the species at risk of extinction in Canada. https://people.ucalgary.ca/~jvamosi/ Tweets @jvamosi
Reversing extinction trends: new uses for (old) herbarium specimens to accelerate conservation of threatened species
* Jana Vamosi, University of Calgary, Canada
Although often not collected specifically for the purposes of conservation, herbarium specimens can offer sufficient information to reconstruct parameters needed to designate a species as 'at-risk of extinction. In this seminar, I illustrate how historical records of rare species can, in conjunction with advances in species distribution modelling, help us effectively estimate the scope and severity of the threat of climate change in rare plant species of Canada. These estimates are especially relevant to rare species in northern ecosystems that have previously been assumed to experience reduced or no threats from human activities due to their remote habitats. Herbarium specimens can also offer further information on the co- occurrence of cold-adapted species in southerly habitats, as well as their pollination and fruiting success. These pieces of information can offer valuable insight on how to halt the decline of these species by improving our ability to mitigate threats and execute successful species recovery. Collected specimens in Canada have largely been used to fill knowledge gaps in systematics, range extent, and past genetic diversity. This limited use represents untapped potential and I offer ways to increase our use of collected material to foster species recovery and reverse current extinction trends.