LOWREY, TIMOTHY K. Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131. - Origins and biology of desert flora.
This symposium deals with the origin and evolution of floristic
elements and selected plant groups in deserts. Deserts cover about one
fifth of the Earth's surface and occur where rainfall is less than 50
cm/year. Deserts comprise landscapes that are subjected to extremes of
temperature, high evapo-transpiration, unpredictable precipitation,
and complex soil types. The extreme nature of these desert
environments presents numerous difficulties to the plants that inhabit
them. Plants have developed a number of adaptations to cope with these
harsh conditions. The symposium will address the systematics and
biology of particular plant groups that are important constituents of
deserts. Patterns of desert flora will be discussed as well as the
hypotheses concerning the origin of particular floras.
Key words: adaptations, biogeography, desert, evolution, plant, systematics