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Abstract Detail

Colloquium: Assembling the Tree of Life Colloquium

Latvis, Maribeth [3], Burleigh, J. Gordon [3], Mort, Mark E. [1], Soltis, Pamela S. [2], Soltis, Douglas E. [3].

Beyond Building the Tree of Life: Exploring Patterns of Evolution in Saxifragales Using Supertree and Supermatrix Methods.

A growing number of new computational tools and methods allow evolutionary biologists to synthesize tremendous amounts of sequence data into phylogenetic hypotheses covering large sections of the plant Tree of Life. These phylogenetic trees enable analyses of large-scale patterns of character evolution and diversification which would be impossible to do with less inclusive phylogenies. Although numerous studies have examined the effect of phylogenetic methods on the resulting trees, we know little about how the tree building method affects the subsequent evolutionary analyses that rely on these comprehensive trees. In other words, how does the way we build the plant Tree of Life affect how we interpret the patterns of evolution in plants? We constructed comprehensive phylogenetic hypotheses for the Saxifragales using supermatrix methods as well as both formal and informal supertree methods, and we tested hypotheses about the patterns of character evolution and diversification using the resulting trees. Saxifragales stem from an ancient, rapid radiation and includes trees, shrubs, lianas, annual and perennial herbs, succulents and aquatics. Flowers also show considerable variation in merosity, degree of fusion of perianth parts, stamen and carpel number, and ovary position. We discuss how not only differences in topology but also different approaches to quantifying branch lengths and phylogenetic uncertainty can drastically affect inferences of the patterns of evolution in Saxifragales. Enthusiasm about our newfound ability to construct trees of unprecedented scale must be tempered with a respect for the effect of the tree building methods on subsequent evolutionary analyses.

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1 - University of Kansas, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Haworth Hall, 1200 Sunnyside Drive, Lawrence, KS, 66045, USA
2 - University of Florida, Florida Museum of Natural History, PO Box 117800, Gainesville, FL, 32611-7800, USA
3 - University of Florida, Department of Biology, 220 Bartram Hall, P.O. Box 118526, Gainesville, Florida, 32611, USA

character evolution
Angiosperm Tree of Life.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: C1
Location: Cottonwood C/Snowbird Center
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 3:30 PM
Number: C1010
Abstract ID:875