|The Origins of C-4 Grasslands: Integrating Evolutionary and Ecosystem Science
|Year of Publication
|Edwards EJ, Osborne CP, Strömberg CAE, Smith SA, Consortium GC4
The evolution of grasses using C-4 photosynthesis and their sudden rise to ecological dominance 3 to 8 million years ago is among the most dramatic examples of biome assembly in the geological record. A growing body of work suggests that the patterns and drivers of C-4 grassland expansion were considerably more complex than originally assumed. Previous research has benefited substantially from dialog between geologists and ecologists, but current research must now integrate fully with phylogenetics. A synthesis of grass evolutionary biology with grassland ecosystem science will further our knowledge of the evolution of traits that promote dominance in grassland systems and will provide a new context in which to evaluate the relative importance of C-4 photosynthesis in transforming ecosystems across large regions of Earth.
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