Systems biology and ecology of CAM plants

Lake Tahoe - Tahoe City, CA, USA

15–18 July 2014


Welcome and invitation


34th New Phytologist Symposium Logo. Systems biology and ecology of CAM plantsOn behalf of the New Phytologist Trust and symposium organisers I am pleased to invite you to participate in a symposium entitled ‘Systems biology and ecology of CAM plants’ to be held at the Granlibakken Resort and Conference Center, on the North shore of Lake Tahoe - Tahoe City, CA, USA 15–18 July 2014. Full details about the meeting are below and on the linked pages, however if you have any questions please do contact us by email: New Phytologist Symposia on twitter @NewPhyt (symposium hashtag is #34NPS) or on Facebook.


We look forward to welcoming you in Lake Tahoe.

Michael Panagopulos
Development Coordinator, New Phytologist


**The abstract book for the 34th New Phytologist Symposium can be downloaded by clicking here**


Symposium scope

Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a striking example of convergent evolution found in about 7% of higher plants that significantly enhances plant water use efficiency by facilitating the nocturnal uptake of CO2 coupled with day-time stomatal closure. The increased frequency of drought over the past century as well as substantial current variation and predicted future increases in its global occurrence has intensified interest in understanding how CAM plants are so well adapted to survive in water-limited environments.  High-throughput sequencing of transcriptome, genome and proteome has been initiated internationally for several CAM species and the large-volume datasets generated from these projects look set to provide a step-change in our understanding of the mechanistic basis and evolutionary origins of CAM biochemistry. Effective utilization of these resources requires collaboration among molecular geneticists, physiologists, ecologists and taxonomists to generate hypotheses that expand the potential of the CAM system for developing more water-use-efficient crops, and for informing the improvement of economically and ecologically relevant CAM species for bioenergy production and maintenance of ecosystem services.


The following major topical themes will be covered :


  • Ecology: CAM species are key components of threatened biomes that include tropical montane cloud forests and xerophytic succulent scrub.  
  • Evolution: Date-calibrated phylogenies are generating specific hypotheses about the evolutionary origins of CAM and the palaeoecological context in which particular lineages arose.
  • Ecophysiology and metabolism: How is the diel supply and demand for carbon coordinated with stomatal conductance to optimize carbon gain and water-use efficiency?  
  • Genomics: What are the molecular triggers that underpin the C3-CAM transition? How does transcriptional/post-transcriptional regulation achieve the manifestation of CAM on a background of C3 biochemistry?  
  • Exploiting CAM for sustainable productivity: What are the prospects for engineering CAM into C3 crops? Can species such as Agave be exploited for biofuel production on non-agricultural or under utilized semi-arid lands?


Symposium format


We aim to promote basic research in crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) by integrating functional genomics with biochemistry, physiology, development, ecology, and evolutionary studies to gain new insights into the regulatory mechanisms and evolutionary origins of the pathway. We will highlight the potential of CAM research for tackling bioenergy and environmental challenges pertaining to water security and resource limitation and the maintenance of productivity and ecosystems services in a changing world. In addition to this, specific talks will look at new research areas and address the big questions for future research.

The symposium will take place over four days starting at around lunchtime on Tuesday 15th July 2014 and ending in the evening of Friday 18th July 2014. Twenty four invited talks will stimulate focused discussion and the exchange of ideas at what will be a relatively small (around 120 delegates) and informal meeting. There will be dedicated time for discussions, posters, selected poster talks and a conference dinner.



Registration has now closed. If you have any queries or concerns please contact us.

For registered delegates the registration fee includes:

  • Three breakfasts (Wed/Thu/Fri)
  • Three lunches (Wed/Thu/Fri)
  • Three dinners (Tue/Wed/Thu)
  • Coffee/tea breaks
  • Field trip (short hike in the vicinity, details TBC)
  • Registration options with accommodation include three nights accommodation (Tue/Wed/Thu)



Please feel free to download, use, print, and/or distribute the official 34th New Phytologist Symposium promotional material:

34th NPS Flyer (pdf)

34th NPS Poster (pdf)

34th NPS slide (ppt)

For printed versions please contact us at


Systems biology and ecology of CAM plants logo produced by APPS