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Tropical chemical ecology - current questions, future trends

Short title: Tropical chemical ecology

Chairs: Omer Nevo, Linh M.N. Nguyen

Contact: omer.nevo@evolutionary-ecology.de

Chemical cues and signals are widespread mechanisms that guide a diverse array of species interactions. In tropical systems, the complexity of species richness and intricate networks forms a highly diverse chemical environment. These chemical signals play a critical role in various essential processes, such as pollination, seed dispersal, predation, herbivory, and symbiotic relationships. Sometimes, these interactions are multifaceted, attracting both mutually beneficial and antagonistic partners, resulting in intricate trade-offs and dynamic interactions. Despite its significance, much of the complexity in chemical interactions within tropical systems remains unsettled, due to challenges in sampling, analyzing the vast diversity of compounds involved, and interpreting the complex systems. Recent advancements in chemical ecology, especially on the application of meta-omics, have presented exciting opportunities for integrated studies at the molecular level, offering broader insights into both the drivers of contemporary processes and their evolutionary history. This session will bring the current developments in chemical ecology and their application in understanding ecological processes within tropical systems. It aims to explore a wide range of interactions, spanning from pollinators to flowers, seed dispersers to fruits, symbiotic bacteria to roots, corals, and predators to their prey, in an effort to identify patterns and major drivers of variance in tropical chemical ecology. The session seeks to foster a comprehensive understanding of the chemical dynamics that shape the biodiversity and interactions within these ecosystems.

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