The 9th International Conference on Cycad Biology was held in Shenzhen, China and organized by Fairylake Botanical Garden, the Cycad Society of China, the IUCN/SSC Cycad Specialist Group, the New York Botanical Garden and Montgomery Botanical Center, and co-organized by Shenzhen Urban Management Bureau, Department of National Reserves & Wildlife Conservation, the National Forestry Bureau, and the China Wild Plant Conservation Association during the week of Dec. 1-7, 2011.

The conference brought together over 100 delegates from 14 different countries, including 50 cycad experts from China.  Talks and posters were presented in eight main study areas: Genetics and Genomics, Conservation, Taxonomy and Phylogeny, Ecology, Horticulture, Toxicology, Economic Botany, and Information Management.  A total of 54 talks and 22 posters were presented for a total of 76 presentations!

The conference was held at the Shenzhen International Garden and Flower Expo Park, which is run off a solar power grid, making this a very green conference.

Montgomery Botanical Center was well represented at the gathering, with MBC staff authoring or co-authoring a variety of talks and posters — from genetics to horticulture:

  • A phylogeny of Zamia, presented by Michael Calonje.
  • Thermogenesis of cycad cones, presented by Irene Terry.
  • Microcycas calocoma: conservation horticulture, presented by Patrick Griffith.
  • Conservation genetics of Caribbean Zamia, presented by Alan Meerow.
  • Structural evolution of cycads (Griffith).
  • Phenology of Zamia, presented by James Clugston.
  • Conservation action plan for Zamia lucayana, (Michael Calonje).
  • Evaluating media for growth of Zamia species, presented by Chad Husby.
  • Botanic gardens cycad collections, (Griffith).
  • Genetic variation of the Zamia pumila complex, (Meerow).
  • Cycad horticulture at MBC, presented by Stella Cuestas.
  • Assessing coffee grounds to control cycad scale, presented by Tracy Magellan.
  • Cycad sex ratios, presented by Claudia Calonje.

Many of MBC’s research colleagues also presented their work. A full list of presentations including full titles, abstracts, and authors can be found in the Special Issue of the Journal of Fairylake Botanical Garden. 2011. Vol. 10(3-4).

This conference allowed cycad biologists from around the world to present new scientific discoveries and discuss critical future directions.  Central to the conference was the IUCN Cycad Specialist Group, which met to update information on cycads on the Red List for 2011 with new data gained from recent research.

This conference was an immense success.  Being able to hear about three years of cycad research being conducted around the world at one conference was spectacular.  It is great to see the leaps and bounds being taken by cycad biologists internationally.

The MBC Team would like to thank the excellent people at Fairylake Botanical Garden for expertly hosting this very important event.