Plant Ecology and Evolution in Harsh Environments


Nishanta Rajakaruna (Editor)
College of the Atlantic, ME, USA

Robert S. Boyd (Editor)
Auburn University, AL, USA

Tanner B. Harris (Editor)
WRA, Inc., San Rafael, CA, USA

Series: Environmental Research Advances
BISAC: SCI020000

Harsh environments found around the world harbor unique organisms adapted to extreme ranges in climatic, edaphic, and other environmental variables. Whether they occur in extreme climates such as alpine summits or inland deserts, in habitats frequently disturbed by fire or floods, or on edaphic islands created by unique geologies or anthropogenic contamination, the adaptations demonstrated by organisms found in such environments shed light on basic and applied aspects of ecology and evolution. This volume brings together current research on plants, fungi and microbes from harsh environments to reveal underlying patterns and common themes of these especially challenging habitats.

Topics include the role of bedrock geochemistry and soil evolutionary processes in generating extreme habitats; the biology, ecology, and evolution of non-vascular and vascular plants, lichens, herbivores and pathogens, mycorrhizal fungi, and other beneficial microbes found in extreme environments. Habitats discussed in the book include alpine and arctic settings, fire-prone Mediterranean climates, serpentine outcrops, gypsum soils, metal-rich mine tailings, and saline soils. In addition to summarizing current research, the Editors highlight new tools and emerging techniques in high-throughput phenotyping, genomics, and phylogenetics that are being used to develop our understanding of evolution in harsh environments. They also emphasize results gained from classical ecological approaches which allowed them to examine adaptation to and evolution in harsh environments. In addition to discussing basic research, the Editors cover applied work focusing on the threats posed by climate change and other anthropogenic impacts as well as efforts to restore and protect extreme habitats and the unique organisms they harbor.

Finally, they discuss the uses of plant species found in extreme environments for agriculture and biotechnology, including the relatively new fields of phytoremediation and phytomining. The work highlighted in this volume demonstrates what these species and their environments can teach about ecological and evolutionary theory, conservation, and restoration: knowledge that can be applied well beyond the habitats and species described in this book. (Imprint: Nova)


Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Bedrock and Geochemical Controls on Extremophile Habitats
Dawn Cardace, D’Arcy R. Meyer-Dombard, Amanda A. Olsen and M. Niki Parenteau (University of Rhode Island, Department of Geosciences, RI, USA)

Chapter 2. The Ecology and Evolution of Mycorrhizal Fungi in Extreme Soils
Shannon Schechter and Sara Branco (Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA)

Chapter 3. Lichens on Metal-Rich Substrates
Sergio Enrico Favero-Longo (Università di Torino, Torino, Italy)

Chapter 4. Evolution of Salt Tolerance in Angiosperms: A Phylogenetic Approach
C. Haris Saslis-Lagoudakis, Camile Moray and Lindell Bromham (Centre for Macroevolution and Macroecology, Research School of Biology, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia)

Chapter 5. The Ecology, Assembly and Evolution of Gypsophile Floras
Michael J. Moore, Juan F. Mota, Norman A. Douglas, Hilda Flores Olvera and Helga Ochoterena (Department of Biology, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, USA)

Chapter 6. Physiological Adaptations of Plants to Serpentine Soil
Emily R. Palm and Elizabeth Van Volkenburgh (University of Washington, Department of Biology, Seattle, WA, USA)

Chapter 7. Ecology and Evolution of Plants in Arctic and Alpine Environments
Amy L. Breen, David F. Murray, Martha K. Raynolds, Ina Timling and Donald A. Walker (International Arctic Research Center, Museum of the North Herbarium, and Institute of Arctic Biology, Alaska Geobotany Center, University of Alaska, AK, USA)

Chapter 8. Drivers of Diversity in Evergreen Woody Plant Lineages Experiencing Canopy Fire Regimes in Mediterranean-Type Climate Regions
Michael C. Vasey and V. Thomas Parker (Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, CA, USA)

Chapter 9. The Evolutionary Ecology and Genetics of Stress Resistance Syndrome (SRS) Traits: Revisiting Chapin, Autumn and Pugnaire (1993)
Eric J. B. von Wettberg, Jayanti Ray-Mukherjee, Nathan D’Adesky, Damian Nesbeth and Seeta Sistla (Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA)

Chapter 10. Ecology and Evolution of Metal-Hyperaccumulating Plants
Robert S. Boyd (Department of Biological Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA)

Chapter 11. Methods and Discoveries in the Pursuit of Understanding the Genetic Basis of Adaptation to Harsh Environments in Mimulus
Jessica P. Selby, Annie L. Jeong, Katherine Toll, Kevin M. Wright and David B. Lowry (Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA)

Chapter 12. Bryophytes: Survival in a Dry World through Tolerance and Avoidance
Dale H. Vitt, Barbara Crandall-Stotler and Andrew Wood (Department of Plant Biology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, USA)

Chapter 13. Climate Change and the Future of Edaphic Floras
Barbara Fernandez-Going (Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, USA and others)

Chapter 14. Conservation and Restoration of Chemically Extreme Edaphic Endemic Flora in the Western US
Ryan E. O’Dell (Bureau of Land Management, Hollister, CA, USA)

Chapter 15. Phytoremediation and Phytomining: Using Plants to Remediate Contaminated or Mineralized Environments
Rufus L. Chaney, Roger D. Reeves, Ilya A. Baklanov, Tiziana Centofanti, C. Leigh Broadhurst, Alan J. M. Baker, Antony van der Ent and Richard J. Roseberg (USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD, USA)

Chapter 16. Synthesis and Future Directions: What Have Harsh Environments Taught Us about Ecology, Evolution, Conservation, and Restoration?
Nishanta Rajakaruna, Robert S. Boyd and Tanner B. Harris (College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME, USA)

Editors’ Contact Information

Species Index

Subject Index

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