Tao Su

Tao Su
Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden · Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology

PhD

About

199
Publications
94,767
Reads
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3,554
Citations
Introduction
I use plant fossils to understand the evolutionary pattern of biodiversity in response to Cenozoic environmental changes. I mainly focus on Cenozoic floras from the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and regions nearby. I believe that plant fossils can tell us many very interesting stories about life history on the earth. Welcome to join in our team as a graduate student or postdoc. Know more about my research: http://groups.xtbg.cas.cn/prg/about/
Additional affiliations
January 2019 - present
Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Position
  • Professor
January 2014 - December 2018
Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
March 2011 - December 2013
Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Position
  • Research Assistant
Education
September 2005 - January 2011
Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Field of study
  • Botany
September 2001 - July 2005
Sichuan Agricultural University
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (199)
Article
Plant-insect interactions are vital for structuring terrestrial ecosystems. It is still unclear how climate change in geological time might have shaped plant-insect interactions leading to modern ecosystems. We investigated the effect of Quaternary climate change on plant-insect interactions by observing insect herbivory on leaves of an evergreen s...
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The uplift history of southeastern Tibet is crucial to understanding processes driving the tectonic evolution of the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding areas. Underpinning existing palaeoaltimetric studies has been regional mapping based in large part on biostratigraphy that assumes a Neogene modernisation of the highly diverse, but threatened, Asian...
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The Late Paleogene surface height and paleoenvironment for the core area of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) remain critically unresolved. Here, we report the discovery of the youngest well-preserved fossil palm leaves from Tibet. They were recovered from the Late Paleogene (Chattian), ca. 25.5 ± 0.5 million years, paleolake sediments within the L...
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Significance The ancient topography of the Tibetan Plateau and its role in biotic evolution are still poorly understood, mostly due to a lack of fossil evidence. Our discovery of ∼47-Mya plant fossils from a present elevation of 4,850 m in central Tibet, diminishes, significantly, that lack of knowledge. The fossils represent a humid subtropical ve...
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Spinescence is an important functional trait possessed by many plant species for physical defence against mammalian herbivores. The development of spinescence must have been closely associated with both biotic and abiotic factors in the geological past, but knowledge of spinescence evolution suffers from a dearth of fossil records, with most studie...
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Cedrus Trew (Pinaceae) includes four species, which are disjunctively distributed in the Mediterranean region and western Himalaya. Understanding the historical distribution of Cedrus and the driving factors can provide valuable information for the conservation of these species. In this study, we collected current distribution data and pollen fossi...
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During the Miocene Climatic Optimum, a global long-term warm interval, European mid-latitude regions experienced a subtropical palaeoclimate. In particular, areas in eastern Germany were part of a vegetational zone with evergreen broadleaved forests, characterized by subtropical taxa. Regional palaeofloristic concepts denominated this palaeovegetat...
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The superfamily Cercopoidea is commonly named as “spittlebugs”, as its nymphs produce a spittle mass to protect themselves. Cosmoscartini (Cercopoidea: Cercopidae) is a large and brightly colored Old World tropical tribe, including 11 genera. A new genus Nangamostethos gen. nov. (type species: Nangamostethostibetense sp. nov.) of Cosmoscartini is d...
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Podocarpium is an extinct genus in Fabaceae with rich fossil records in Eurasia dating back to the Eocene. However, the diversification and biogeographic histories of Podocarpium are poorly known due to a lack of fossils in some key regions, such as the Tibetan Plateau, an area recently shown to be crucial for floristic exchanges worldwide in the g...
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In this article, we highlight the characteristic features of the Late Rupelian Buran flora of Eastern Kazakhstan. The species list contains 65 plant taxa belonging to Polypodiophyta (2), Gymnospermae (12) and Magnoliopsida (51). Its composition is dominated by leaves, fruits and pollen of Carya; there are also in noticeable quantities of remains of...
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Taxonomy plays an important role in understanding the origin, evolution, and ecological functionality of biodiversity. There are large number of unknown species yet to be described by taxonomists, which together with their ecosystem services cannot be effectively protected prior to description. Despite this, taxonomy has been increasingly underrat...
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The growth of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) during the Cenozoic drove dramatic climate and environmental change in this region. However, there has been limited comprehensive research into evolution of climate during this interval. Here we present a quantitative reconstruction using Bioclimatic Analysis (BA) and Joint Probability Density Functio...
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Biodiversity hotspots are key regions for understanding the evolutionary history of biodiversity as well as the processes initiating and maintaining it [...]
Article
Quantifying the interactions between topography, climate and plant diversity within one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, the southeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, remains elusive due to few reliable quantitative paleoelevation reconstructions, precise geological age constraints and well-preserved plant fossils. The Lühe Basin, on the sou...
Article
Quantitative Miocene climate and vegetation data from the Siwalik succession of western Nepal indicate that the development of the Indian summer monsoon has had an impact, though in part, on vegetation changes. The climate and vegetation of the Lower (middle Miocene) and Middle (late Miocene–Pliocene) Siwalik successions of Darjeeling, eastern Hima...
Article
Cupressaceae fossil tree stumps from the early Oligocene Lühe coal mine in southwestern China contain abundant quartz-petrified damage traces. The wood fossils were assigned to Taxodioxylon (very similar to extant Taxodium) based on wood anatomy analysis. Within the woods, three types of arthropods- and one fungus-mediated ichnofossils LHIF 1–4 (Lü...
Article
The antiquity of the tropical Asian flora is being revealed by recent detailed work on a number of Cenozoic plant megafossil sites, some of which have been radiometrically dated for the first time, but our knowledge of how the highly diverse modern biota came into being remains poor due to a sparsity of records. In this paper, we describe fossil pl...
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Extant Bauhinia (Leguminosae) is a genus of 300 species of trees, shrubs, and lianas, widely distributed in pantropical areas, but its diversification history in southeastern Asia, one of its centers of highest diversity, remains unclear. We report new fossils of three Bauhinia species with cuticular preservation from the Paleogene of Puyang Basin,...
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Reconstructing the Paleogene topography and climate of central Tibet informs understanding of collisional tectonic mechanisms and their links to climate and biodiversity. Radiometric dates of volcanic/sedimentary rocks and paleotemperatures based on clumped isotopes within ancient soil carbonate nodules from the Lunpola Basin, part of an east-west...
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Two new fossil taxa of the ash tree, namely F. zlatkoi Meng-Xiao Wu et J.Huang sp. nov. and Fraxinus cf. honshuensis Tanai et Onoe were reported from the early Oligocene of the Lühe flora, Yunnan Province, Southwest China. The fruit traits were used to assign the proposed species to the genus Fraxinus. These traits were a flattened and symmetrical...
Article
The genus Mucuna Adans. (Papilionoideae, Fabaceae) contains approximately 105 extant species. It is widely distributed in pantropical areas, with its center of diversity located in Asia. Recent molecular phylogenetic analyses investigated the historical biogeography of the genus; however, a lack of fossil evidence has limited a fuller understanding...
Article
Neogene fossil records from the Indus Basin sedimentary rocks (IBSR), deposited in the Indus Tsangpo Suture Zone (ITSZ), are very rare, but are important to understand the history of plant diversity and paleoclimate in the Himalaya. We report fossil wood ascribed to Ebenoxylon siwalicus Prakash from late Miocene sediments of the Karit Formation bel...
Article
Plant–arthropod interaction offers insight into the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems in the geological past. In this study, leaf fossils with arthropod traces, collected from the Miocene Huaitoutala flora, Qaidam Basin, northern Tibetan Plateau, were studied to provide direct evidence of plant–arthropod interactions on the Tibetan Plateau. The r...
Preprint
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During the late Eocene to the early Oligocene, marine records document a globally congruent record of declining carbon dioxide concentrations, Antarctic icesheet growth, and associated reorganisation of the global climate system. In contrast, the few existing terrestrial records demonstrate high heterogeneity of environmental change and are difficu...
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Sclerophyllous evergreen broad-leaved forests, mainly made up of sclerophyllous oak, Quercus section Heterobalanus (Øerst.) Menitsky, Fagaceae, represent the most typical forest type in the Hengduan Mountains. Their distribution pattern is closely related to the growth and formation of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). The oldest fossil record of...
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Recent paleobotanical investigations in Vietnam provide a good opportunity to improve our understanding of the biodiversity and paleoclimatic conditions in the geological past of Southeast Asia. Palms (Arecaceae) are a diverse family of typical thermophilous plants with a relatively low tolerance for freezing. In this study, we describe well-preser...
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The Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP) played a crucial role in shaping the biodiversity in Asia during the Cenozoic. However, fossil records attributed to insects are still scarce from the QTP, which limits our understanding on the evolution of biodiversity in this large region. Fulgoridae (lanternfly) is a group of large planthopper in body size, whic...
Article
The sedimentary basins of Yunnan, Southwest China, record detailed histories of Cenozoic paleoenvironmental change. They track regional tectonic and palaeobiological evolution, both of which are critically important for the development of modern floral diversity in southwestern China and throughout Asia more generally. However, to be useful, the se...
Article
Trapa (water chestnut or water caltrop) is a genus of annual free-floating plants mostly native to Africa and Eurasia and included in the family Lythraceae. The genus only contains 10 species today but has a large number of species in the Neogene record, mainly based on fruits but also on the occurrence of pollen grains. In China, several species h...
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壳斗科栎属高山栎组植物(Quercus section Heterobalanus (Øerst.) Menitsky)组成的硬叶常绿阔叶林,是横断山地区生态系统中的重要森林类型,其分布格局与青藏高原的形成和演变密切相关。此前,高山栎组植物的最早化石记录产自西藏南部南木林县的中中新统嘎扎村组,而我们最近在青藏高原东南缘芒康盆地的上始新统拉屋拉组发现的高山栎组叶片化石,表明该组植物的起源时间至少比之前认识的提前了近20Myr。通过几何形态测量法,结合该组植物在青藏高原及横断山地区的分布区扩张和群落中生态位的转变,推测高山栎组植物叶片至少在晚始新世时已出现适应局部区域特殊的高寒干旱生境的特征;之后随着高原隆升和新生代后期的全球降温,逐步寒化旱化的生境使其叶片的较强适应性得以发挥,并通过稳定选择表...
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Quantifying how land surface height, such as that of the Tibetan region, has changed with time is crucial for understanding a range of Earth processes, including atmospheric dynamics, biotic evolution and tectonics. Elevation reconstructions are highly uncertain and controversial, in part because of assumptions used in their calculation. The larges...
Article
While a recent molecular phylogeographical study shows that, Cladrastis, a small woody genus in the bean family (Leguminosae), may have been established in Asia after the middle to late Eocene, fossils of the genus have not been previously documented in the Paleogene of Asia. Here we report an infructescence and four fossil fruits of Cladrastis fro...
Article
The Hengduan Mountains region (HMR) on southeastern Tibetan Plateau, supports a high diversity of herbs, particularly in its subalpine to alpine ecosystems due to high altitude and cool temperate climate. Current understandings on the formation of such herbaceous richness is based chiefly on molecular phylogenies, while direct geological evidence i...
Article
Today, Northeastern India receives some of the highest annual rainfall totals globally. The major portion of annual precipitation in this region falls during the Indian Summer Monsoon season (June–September); however, this region also receives a significant amount of rainfall during the pre-monsoon season (March–May). Here, we quantitatively recons...
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The West Kunlun region forms the northern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, and sedimentation in this region contributed to plateau formation and its northwards expansion, as well as the development of central Asian aridification. However, the stratigraphic dating framework in this region has been ambiguous, hampering the understanding of both tectoni...
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The growth of the Tibetan Plateau throughout the past 66 million years has profoundly affected the Asian climate, but how this unparalleled orogenesis might have driven vegetation and plant diversity changes in eastern Asia is poorly understood. We approach this question by integrating modeling results and fossil data. We show that growth of north...
Article
In this paper, we review evidence for a major biotic turnover across the Oligocene/Miocene in the Tibetan Plateau region. Based on the recent study of six well-preserved fossil sites from the Cenozoic Lunpola and Nima basins in the central Tibetan Plateau, we report a regional changeover from tropical/subtropical ecosystems in the Late Oligocene ec...
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Determining whether the high-latitude Bering land bridge (BLB) was ecologically suitable for the migration of mesothermal plants is significant for Holarctic phytogeographic inferences. Paleobotanical studies provide a critical source of data on the latitudinal positions of different plant lineages at different times, permitting assessment of the e...
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The Tibetan Plateau was built through a succession of Gondwanan terranes colliding with Asia during the Mesozoic. These accretions produced a complex Paleogene topography of several predominantly east-west trending mountain ranges separated by deep valleys. Despite this piecemeal assembly and resultant complex relief, Tibet has traditionally been t...
Article
Menispermaceae are a pantropical and temperate family with an extensive fossil record during the Paleogene, especially in North America and Europe, but with much less evidence from Asia. The latest fossil evidence indicates a succession of tropical to sub‐tropical flora on the central Tibetan Plateau during the Paleogene. However, the biogeographic...
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Icacinaceae are well represented in the modern tropical flora of East Asia, but this family has no confirmed macrofossils from this region. Most of the unambiguous fossils (e.g., endocarps) are from the Paleogene of North America and Europe, where the family is no longer present. Here we report a fossil endocarp of the liana genus Iodes from the Ol...
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Compressed materials of fossil foliage described here as Itea polyneura sp. nov. (Iteaceae) were collected from the Oligocene of Wenshan, Yunnan Province, southwestern China. The identification is based on the following characters: eucamptodromous secondary veins, strict scalariform tertiary veins, irregular tooth with setaceous apex. The leaf morp...
Article
Illigera (Hernandiaceae) is a liana genus distributed mainly in the tropical Asia and Africa. Previous fossil records suggested that Illigera was restricted in western North America during the Eocene. Recent paleobotanical investigation has unveiled a Paleogene flora that is totally different from today's vegetation in central Tibet. This provides...
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Views differ on the uplift history of the SE Tibetan Plateau and causal geodynamic mechanisms, yet reliable age-constrained paleoaltimetry in this region could test growth models of the entire plateau. Here we apply carbonate clumped isotope thermometry to well-dated carbonate paleosols and marls in the Gonjo Basin, SE Tibet, to reveal the topograp...
Article
Herbivore damage patterns on fossil leaves are essential to explore the evolution of plant-herbivore interactions under paleoenvironmental changes and to better understand the evolutionary history of terrestrial ecosystems. The Eocene–Oligocene transition (EOT) is a period of dramatic paleoclimate changes that significantly impacted global ecosyste...
Article
The early Oligocene represents the beginning of the modern icehouse world. To better understand how vegetation and climate changed during this period, we reconstruct quantitively the early Oligocene vegetation and climate by analyzing fossil spore and pollen assemblages from Lühe basin, Yunnan Province, in southwestern China. The reconstructed pale...
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Mechanisms driving the tectonic evolution of the southeast (SE) margin of Tibet include the Paleogene extrusion of the coherent Indochina lithospheric block and the continuous deformation caused by lower crustal flow since the middle Miocene. The timing and style of regional deformations are keys to determining the role of each mechanism. Fault‐bou...
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The biodiversity of the Himalaya, Hengduan Mountains and Tibet, here collectively termed the Tibetan Region, is exceptional in a global context. To contextualize and understand the origins of this biotic richness, and its conservation value, we examine recent fossil finds and review progress in understanding the orogeny of the Tibetan Region. We ex...
Article
Ceratophyllaceae Gray is a cosmopolitan submersed family in angiosperm. The fossil record is mainly composed of fruits ranging in age from the Cretaceous to the Neogene within the Northern Hemisphere. However, its fossil record in Asia is sparse. Here we report on a fossil fruit attributed to Ceratophyllum aff. muricatum Cham. from the early middle...
Article
Yunnan at southeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau is subject to frequent wildfires each year, while its wildfire history remains poorly known due to the lack of studies on palaeofire in the region. In this study, we report a local fire from the late Pliocene of northwestern Yunnan, based on macroscopic fossil charcoals recovered from the Sanying...
Article
The first fossil leaf-mimicking katydids from the eastern Palaearctic are described and attributed to the genus Archepseudophylla under the names Archepseudophylla nanzhaoica sp. nov. and Archepseudophylla wenshanensis sp. nov., both from the Early to Middle Miocene strata in Wenshan, Yunnan, southwestern China, which is the core of the southwester...
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Metasequoia glyptostroboides is a well-known relict conifer species that was widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere from the Mesozoic (Cretaceous) to early Cenozoic, after which its distributional range was contracted significantly. To explore the possible reasons for the disappearance of Metasequoia in southwest China, controlled experiment...