in Animals, Microbes, and Plants: Comparative Mechanisms and
Evolution" to be held at the Society for Integrative and
Comparative Biology meeting, January 4-8, 2005, San Diego, California.
For most organisms, drying to equilibrium with even moderately
humid air is fatal. Accordingly, mechanisms to acquire and
conserve water are one of the most conspicuous features of
life on land. However, at least three phyla of animals and
all but one of the major plant taxa also contain species that
tolerate desiccation. Recent comparisons of desiccation-tolerant
plants suggest that tolerance has evolved many times, converged
on similar biochemical mechanisms, and entrained parallel
trade offs between tolerance and both complexity and productivity.
This symposium will extend this comparison to include animals
and microbes, providing the first synthesis of knowledge of
desiccation tolerance across all the major kingdoms of life
in over 15 years. The symposium will integrate studies of
the biophysics, biochemistry, genetics, anatomy, physiology,
and ecology of tolerance to help understand the comparative
mechanisms of tolerance and the evolutionary basis for the
apparent trade off between tolerance and growth.
Technical advances in molecular biology have stimulated a
recent flush of integrative, basic research on desiccation
tolerance in plants. One important practical application could
be in genetic engineering of tolerance in crops. Likewise,
research is being done on the use of knowledge gained from
the study of desiccation-tolerant animals to stabilize and
make stress-resistant mammalian cells in culture - even human
blood platelets. These results could find ready application
in the current emphasis on using "lessons from nature"
to induce stability and stress resistance in a wide variety
of biological systems. The time has come to integrate these
two bodies of research and to compare their lessons for agriculture
and health. The symposium will take place on two of the days
of the 2005 meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative
Biology in San Diego, California, on January 4-8 and is planned
for publication as a special issue of the journal Integrative
and Comparative Biology.
Peter Alpert, Associate Professor, Biology Dept., University
of Massachusetts, 611 N. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01003-9297;
413 545 4357; fax: 545 3243; firstname.lastname@example.org
James Clegg, Professor, Bodega Marine Laboratory, University
of California at Davis, 2099 Westside Road, Bodega Bay, CA,
Brent Mishler, Professor, Department of Integrative Biology,
University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720; email@example.com
Melvin Oliver, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, 3810 4th
Street, Lubbock, TX 79415; firstname.lastname@example.org
The symposium will consist of 14 speakers and span two days,
ending each day at 3 pm. The symposium will be held during
the 2005 SICB meeting, on January 4-8; the program committee
has not yet assigned the exact days. The schedule of speakers,
together with their institutional affiliations, areas of expertise,
and titles, is as follows.
Malcolm Potts, Virginia Technical University, USA; biochemistry
"The desiccome: humble beginnings"
Folkert Hoekstra, Wageningen Agricultural University, The
Netherlands; pollen and spores
"Differential storage behavior in dried pollen and spores"
John Crowe, University of California at Davis, USA; biophysics
"Real-world applications of lessons learned from the
world of anhydrobiosis"
Ilse Kranner, Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, UK; biochemistry
"The lichen symbiosis - antioxidants confer desiccation
Ingemar Jönsson, University of Lund, Sweden; life history
"A life history perspective on desiccation tolerance"
Dorothea Bartels, University of Bonn, Germany; genetics of
"The evolution of desiccation tolerance in higher plants:
Alan Tunnacliffe, Cambridge University, UK; rotifers and LEA
Mel Oliver, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of
Agriculture, USA; genetics of bryophytes
"Desiccation tolerance in bryophytes: evidence for whether
tolerance is the primitive condition in plants"
Amy Treonis, Creighton University, USA; ecology of nematodes
"Worms bite the dust: ecological tradeoffs for nematode
survival in arid environments"
(This paper will be co-authored with Diana Wall, Colorado
State University, USA)
Brent Mishler, University of California at Berkeley, USA;
green plant phylogenetics and evolution
"The evolution and ecology of desiccation tolerance in
Jill Farrant, University of Cape Town, South Africa; genetics,
ultrastructure, and morphology of angiosperms
"Molecular, biochemical and physiological mechanisms
of desiccation tolerance in a range of angiosperm resurrection
Takashi Okuda, National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences,
Japan; physiology of insects
"Anhydrobiosis in an African chironomid"
Peter Alpert, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA;
ecology of plants
"The constraints of tolerance: why are desiccation-tolerant
organisms small and rare?"
James Clegg, University of California at Davis, USA; biochemistry
"Anhydrobiosis or dehydrobiosis: how dry is 'dry'?’"