The Coastal Plain of the Southeastern United States is among the world’s top biodiversity hotspots of great conservation concern. It houses a large diversity of habitats and plant species, many of which are endemic and occur nowhere else in the world- yet so many of these habitats are largely gone with their endemic plants in peril. To truly understand this region and how to conserve it, we need to discern what makes it a hotspot in the first place. Where did all this diversity come from, and why here? Where is diversity and endemism particularly concentrated in the region, and what’s so special about those places? Here, we will explore the patterns of diversity and endemism within this global hotspot, how these plant species and their ancestors moved around and arrived where they are now, and what characteristics of this hotspot are important features to its great diversity and endemism. We will then zoom in on the Coastal Plain’s endemic long leaf pine ecosystems to investigate what builds their plant diversity so we can better understand what land management practices will preserve them for many generations to come.
Tal Kinser is finalizing his PhD in Botany at the University of Florida where he researches longleaf pine community ecology and Southeastern plant biodiversity. He also teaches a field-based local flora course. He received his master’s degree at the College of William and Mary, researching epigenomics and anatomy during hybrid seed development. Prior to his graduate education, he worked as a technician in a biomedical lab at UT Southwestern and received his undergraduate degree in Biology and Environmental Studies at Austin College in North Texas. During his undergrad, he developed his passion for ecosystems and land management. Followig his dissertation, he hopes to focus his career on the preservation of plants and habitats in the Southeast and on expanding botanical education. He also enjoys fiddle music, books and human history.
This event is free following admission into the Garden and will be available to view online via Facebook Live.
May 18, 6 p.m. ET
Location: Mershon Hall