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"Global Biogeography of desert cyanobacteria". Stephen Brian Pointing, University of Hong Kong


El lunes 04 de junio de 2012 a las 12h, Salón de Actos del Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales.


Título: "Global Biogeography of desert cyanobacteria"
Ponente: Stephen Brian Pointing, University of Hong Kong



Factors governing large-scale spatio-temporal distribution of microorganisms remain unresolved, yet are pivotal to understanding ecosystem value and function. My research has utilized the value of drylands as the most abundant terrestrial biome and as a relatively simple oligotrophic system, to investigate global patterns in microbial biogeography. Application of community modeling revealed that multi-trophic microbial systems may not be fully described by a single set of niche or neutral assembly rules and that stochasticity is likely a major determinant of such systems.  I used temporal phylogenetic analysis calibrated using microfossil data to test the hypothesis that this stochasticity was due to evolutionary isolation.  

The results strongly support a lack of recent inter-regional gene flow, indicating populations have not shared common ancestry over extended timescales. These results indicate that global distribution of desert cyanobacteria has not resulted from widespread contemporary dispersal but is an ancient evolutionary legacy.

Stephen Pointing is from Hong Kong.  He completed his studies in biochemistry and microbiology in England, attending Portsmouth and Leicester universities.  Postdoctoral work in Hong Kong led to fruitful collaborations with the US space agency NASA and an interest in microbes that survive under extreme conditions.  He joined faculty at The University of Hong Kong in 2001 and leads a thriving research group that has developed strong ties with MNCN-CSIC through collaboration with Dr Asuncion de los Rios Murillo (Environmental Biology Department, MNCN).



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