Systems biology and ecology of CAM plants

Lake Tahoe - Tahoe City, CA, USA

15–18 July 2014


Thank you!

34th New Phytologist Symposium Logo. Systems biology and ecology of CAM plantsThanks to all of our symposium organisers, speakers and delegates who helped to make the 34th NPS a great success. We will continue to update this site with related information and meeting outputs as they become available, 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.


A free-to-access meeting report entitled 'Crassulacean acid metabolism biology' written by Travis Garcia, Karolina Heyduk, Emily Kuzmick and Jesse Mayer was published in issue 204:4 of New Phytologist.


Figure 1. from Garcia et al 2014. Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) pathway

A simplified view of the Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) pathway (Fig. 1 from Garcia et al. 2014).


34th New Phytologist Symposium. Systems biology and ecology of CAM plants. Delegation group photo


There are more photos from the symposium on the New Phytologist Facebook page (no sign-up required)

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


Poster prize winners


Many congratulations to the winner of the New Phytologist poster prize:


Juan Beltran, P2, ‘Evolutionary origins and ecophysiology of CAM photosynthesis in the montane genus Puya (Bromeliaceae)’


Juan David Beltran - poster prize winner - 34th New Phytologist Symposium: Systems biology & ecology of CAM plants

Congratulations also to the two equal runner-up prize winners:


Paul Abraham, P1, ‘Capturing the dynamics of CAM: transcriptome and proteome analysis of diel cycle gene expression in Agave americana


Paul Abraham - poster prize runner-up - 34th New Phytologist Symposium: Systems biology & ecology of CAM plants


Erin Casey, P4, ‘The role of the chloroplastic glucose transporter in the operation of CAM in Kalanchoë fedtschenkoi


Erin Casey - poster prize runner-up - 34th New Phytologist Symposium: Systems biology & ecology of CAM plants


Grant awardees

The following students and early career post-docs were awarded New Phytologist Symposium grants:


Paul Abraham Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA
Juan Beltran University of Oxford, UK
Erin Casey Newcastle University, UK
Catherine Cole Appalachian State University, USA
Jack Davies University of Liverpool, UK
Henrique De Paoli Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA
Travis Garcia University of Nevada, USA
Bruno Gobara University of São Paulo, Brazil
Lillian Hancock Brown University, USA
Karolina Heyduk University of Georgia, USA
Emily Kuzmick Ohio University, USA
Jamie Males University of Cambridge, UK
Paulo Mioto University of São Paulo, Brazil
Abigail Moore Brown University, USA
Nick Owen University of Cambridge, UK
Paula Pereira University of São Paulo, Brazil
Jacob Vogenberg University of California at Riverside, USA


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 and informal meeting. There will be dedicated time for discussions, posters, selected poster talks and a conference dinner.



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