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Abstract Detail

Phylogenetic approaches to understanding biodiversity and endemism

Kellar, P. Roxanne [1], Ahrendsen, Dakota L. [2], Aust, Shelly K. [2].

Phylogenetic diversity metrics using high-throughput sequencing: a comparison between Nebraska prairies.

Baseline knowledge of the inhabitants of ecosystems, communities, and populations is required for ecological and evolutionary biology investigations. Additionally, protection of Earth’s ecosystems requires identification of the geographical areas with greatest biodiversity. Assessment of biodiversity as well as basic understanding of ecosystems begins with knowledge of the species present and their evolutionary histories. Phylogenetic diversity (PD) measures the differences between taxa in an evolutionary tree and may be used as a biodiversity assessment tool. Multiple PD metrics have been developed to describe biodiversity beyond simple species counts, but sufficient empirical studies have not been conducted to provide an understanding of PD across varying ecosystems or to provide conservation planners and policy makers with evidence for incorporating phylogenetic diversity into selection of priority regions for preservation. In this study, we focused on the two largest clades of flowering plants, asterids and rosids, which make up over 60% of the species found in prairies. We compared the 14 most common PD metrics calculated from phylogenetic trees estimated from alignments containing data from three cellular organelles – plastids, mitochondria, and the nucleus – compiled from high-throughput sequencing. We compared these metrics to traditional measures of biodiversity and between two endangered prairie sites in Nebraska: Niobrara Valley Preserve and Nine-Mile Prairie. We also compared PD metrics calculated from a multi-gene alignment, which consisted of over 65,000 base pairs, to metrics calculated from phylogenies estimated from only matK, rbcL, or matK+rbcL. Our results indicate the following: 1) species richness may be a good indicator of overall phylogenetic diversity, but it may not predict relatedness between species either at the tips or deep in the tree, 2) a large number of species is needed to detect phylogenetic diversity beyond species richness, 3) when comparing PD metrics between sites or groups of species, it is important to use equivalent datasets, and 4) unresolved phylogenies or those with low bootstrap support do not result in reliable "species relatedness" metrics. These data and conclusions are contributing to a growing collection of results that will clarify the value in and applications for phylogenetic diversity in ecology and conservation biology.

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Related Links:
Kellar Lab Web page

1 - University of Nebraska at Omaha, Biology, 6001 W. Dodge St. - AH 211A, Omaha, NE, 68182, USA
2 - University Of Nebraska At Omaha, Biology Graduate Program, 6001 W. Dodge Street - AH228, Omaha, NE, 68182, USA

Community ecology

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY17
Location: Salon 15/16/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
Number: SY17002
Abstract ID:414
Candidate for Awards:None

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