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5. Cenozoic plants and biosphere surrounding them

(SS03) Uplift of the Himalaya and its impact on the climatic and biodiversity changes in East Asia

Organizers: Zhekun Zhou & Arata Momohara

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Purpose: The uplift of the Himalayas is one of the most outstanding geological events in the Cenozoic. This event has dramatically changed the geological and physiognomic aspects of Asia, and in turn has greatly affected the atmospheric circulation pattern, thus caused the onset and evolution of the East Asian monsoon system. In turn,this monsoon system has deeply impacted the East Asian biodiversity and climates from continental to local scales. Researches into these aspects have remained so hot that a great number of papers and books have been published recently. However, some key issues are still highly in debate, those of which include the details of time and rate of the uplift of Himalayas, the onset and subsequent evolution of the East Asian monsoon, and the biodiversity change under this dramatic climate change along the Cenozoic. Exploring these questions keeps an enduring attraction to paleobotanists, botantists, palynologists and geologists worldwide. The research field is very active and new findings are reported with a remarkable speed. We anticipate a number of interesting contributions to this symposium which will focus on all aspects of Palynology, Paleobotany, geology ecology, and biogeography.

(SS08) Climatically-forced vegetation changes short-termed (a NECLIME symposium)

Organizers: Andrea K. Kern & Torsten Utescher

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Purpose: Cenozoic studies around the globe allow us to draw substantial conclusions about Earth’s evolution related to climatic changes. At the very best, proxy data based spatial reconstructions considering palaeovegetation or palaeoclimatic parameters can be compared with results obtained from adequate modeling studies which are highly useful to create an overall image. However, vegetation change caused by short-term climate variability usually remain concealed due to the delimited time resolution such studies permit. 

Our symposium aims to discuss climate-vegetation interactions from decadal- to millennial-scale. This information is in great extent only supplied by high-frequency palynological analyses. Focusing on local vegetation dynamics climatic events and transitions can be deciphered and, if possible, compared with other geological and environmental proxy estimations. Besides, thematic priority lies on finding a potential climate-vegetation-equilibrium of fossil plant communities as well as up to what temporal extent, changes within the studied assemblage can be resolved. Only due to a deeper understanding of past short-term events, recent and future climate change and biotic response can be conceived.

We invite all contributions referring to high-resolving, quantitative vegetation and climate reconstructions in the Cenozoic.

(SS12) East Asian vegetational responses in the critical climate change events of the Cenozoic

Organizers: Yusheng (Christopher) Liu & Cheng Quan

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Purpose: It is now clear that during the Cenozic Era, climates have dramatically been changed both in the sea and on land. To name a few, these climatically transitional events in a descending order of geological time include the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, aka Eocene Thermal Maximum1 [ETM1]), Eocene Thermal Maximum2, Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO), Mid Eocene Climatic Optimum, Eocene-Oligocene Transition (EOT), Mid Miocene Climatic Optimum, and Early Pliocene Warming Period. The formation of modern vegetations on Earth has been a product of environmental change and biotic response during the Cenozoic. East Asia occupies an important portion of land in the Northern Hemisphere and is a home to a great number of Tertiary relicts. Therefore, Cenozoic (micro- and mega-) plant remains in East Asia provide essential materials to be studied to better understand how the responses of diverse vegetations to the dramatic climate changes could be. Although much work still remains to be done in East Asia, East Asian Cenozoic Paleobotany has achieved much progress in the past decade. This symposium aims to combine the efforts of paleobotanists and alike worldwide who are interested in the geological history of East Asian vegetations to get insights on the East Asian vegetational responses in the critical climate change events of the Cenozoic.

(SS14) The evolutionary history of conifers that are now endemic to Asia

Organizers: Atsushi Yabe & Ben LePage

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Purpose: Most of the conifer genera that are now endemic to Asia were once distributed widely across the different continents in the Northern Hemisphere during the Quaternary, "Tertiary," and even Cretaceous. Despite the large amount of fossils that have so far been described, the evolutionary history of these paleoendemics, biogeographic dispersal patterns, and habitats of these early representatives are still not well understood. This symposium is intended to synthesize the current advances in the study of these conifers that are now endemic to Asia to better understand their evolutionary history. The symposium will include systematic relationships, ecology, phytogeography, and any other topics related to these conifers.

(SS17) Palaeoecology of Cenozoic conifers – limits of actualisms?

Organizers: Lutz Kunzmann, Martina Dolezych & Wilfrid Schneider

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Purpose: Cenozoic conifers are often regarded as crucial for reconstructing of ancient ecosystems including lignite-forming swamp vegetation and mixed broad-leaved polar forests. The purpose of this symposium is to elucidate methods for palaeocological investigations and to evaluate their validity for the reconstruction of palaeoecosystems. Special focus will be on:

(1) Taphonomical investigations: Plant taphonomy has a great potential for palaeoecological reconstructions. In-situ plants and (par-)autochthonous assemblages provide a direct insight into the structure of the ancient phytocoeneses.

(2) Vegetational reconstruction: Cenozoic conifers are common in zonal mesophytic forests of nearly all palaeolatitudes as well as in azonal vegetationtypes including swamps and riparian forests. Not all of the fossil conifers may provide decisive environmental information based on the ecological requirement of the next living relative species. Autecology of present-day species that are typical relics surviving in niches do often not match the habitat of their Cenozoic ancestors. The interpretation of autecology of extinct taxa is of particular interest.

(SS30) Late Cretaceous and Tertiary Woods. Ecological, Systematic, and Biogeographic Insights from the Fossil Wood Record

Organizers: Kazuo Terada, Kyungsik Kim & Elisabeth Wheeler

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Purpose: Variations in growth ring structure and features of tracheary elements provide information about environmental conditions. Analyses of Late Cretaceous and Tertiary woods of both the Southern and Northern Hemisphere yield data important for understanding the responses of woody plant structure and distribution to environmental changes. Careful determination of the systematic affinities of fossil woods to extant plants is important to biogeographic studies in revealing past distributions of woody plants.

(SS37) The flora of the Paleogene: diversity, distribution and regional to global responses to changing climates

Organizers: Carlos Jaramillo, Diana Ochoa & Monica Carvalho

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Purpose: The (shifting) warm-to-cold climates of the Paleogene seem to correlate with plant dispersal and diversification during the initial stages of the Cenozoic. This symposium aims to present a scenario to 1) integrate the latest discoveries from Paleogene floras around the world; 2) evaluate the responses of vegetation to long-term climate fluctuations; and 3) discuss past distribution and biogeographic patterns, in search of potential commonalities in dispersal routes across tropical and temperate plant lineages.

A proper review and integration of worldwide Paleogene floras will help to better understand local and regional geographic and climatic features that influenced plant dispersal, as well as the post K/Pg boundary recovery and the initial diversification of early Cenozoic floras that established the onset for modern biota. Finally, the data brought to this symposium will contribute an adequate state of art on which to base for independently testing hypotheses derived from phylogeographic and biogeographic inferences of modern taxa.

(SS42) Neogene global tectonic and climatic change as drivers in plant evolution: linking the palynological, palaeobotanical and molecular records

Organizers: Carina Hoorn, Andres Pardo & Alexandre Antonelli

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Purpose: The Neogene period represents the transition to our modern world, when crucial geographical features such as topographic relief, drainage patterns and oceanic currents were laid out. It also represents the run-up to the ‘icehouse’ world with final bleeps of a ‘greenhouse’ during the Middle Miocene (c. 15 Ma) and Middle Pliocene (c. 4 Ma). The combined effects of global tectonic and climatic change was critical for floral and faunal evolution, but also determined present biodiversity patterns, particularly this latter aspect was only identified by scientists in recent years.  Interdisciplinary studies that include the geological history, palynology, palaeobotany and molecular phylogeny potentially can offer new insights into our understanding of plant evolution and diversification. In this session we encourage palynologists, palaeobotanists and molecular biologists who work at the interface of their disciplines to present their research on the Neogene evolution of plants and algae in geologically dynamic regions from all over the globe and from both marine and/or continental settings. The insights gained from this type of research are relevant when modeling the impact of future climatic change, but also where it concerns drafting guidelines for conservation policies in regions of high biodiversity.