Evolution of Biodiversity: A Southern Hemisphere Perspective - Inaugural lecture of Ladislav Mucina, honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

The inaugural lecture of Ladislav Mucina honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences took place at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences on 8 November, 2016.

6 December, 2016

Click here to see our gallery of the eventThe Southern Hemisphere has 16-times less dry land than the North. Yet, much of the tropical rainforests, majority of savannas, and three of five mediterranean-type ecosystems found their home on the Southern Hemisphere, and as do many biodiversity hotspots that support staggering levels of endemism, beta diversity and regional floras counting thousands of species in areas as small as several hundred square kilometres. The Southern Hemisphere is indeed a very a special place. This lecture focused on the evolution of flora and the evolutionary assembly of selected biomes in the Southern Hemisphere, and investigate the role of long-term disturbance drivers such as fire (in Brazilian cerrado savannas), explosive young speciation events (such as those found in the Greater Capensis of Africa), and the formation of evolutionary refugia (musea) that characterise ancient Australia.

Ladislav Mucina source: mta.hu/ Tamás Szigeti

The role of relative tectonic quiescence (lack of soil regeneration) and associated extremely nutrient poor soils, combined with long-term disturbance by fire (also functioning as serious evolutionary player) in Brazilian campos rupestres, the Cape and Southwestern Australian fynbos and kwongan shrublands are presumed to form the fabric of old, climatically stable landscapes supporting unprecedented taxonomic and biome diversity.