Data from: Hidden diversity within the lizard genus Liolaemus: genetic vs morphological divergence in the L. rothi complex (Squamata:Liolaeminae)
Contributors: Olave, Melisa, Avila, Luciano J., Sites Jr., Jack W., Morando, Mariana
... Currently, Liolaemus is the second most species-rich reptile genus in the world (257 species), and predictions of its real diversity suggest that it may be the most diverse genus. Originally, Liolaemus species were described as widely distributed and morphologically variable taxa, but extensive sampling in previously unexplored geographic areas, coupled with molecular and more extensive morphological studies, have discovered an unexpectedly high number of previously undetected species. Here, we study the level of molecular vs. morphological divergence within the L. rothi complex, combining a total of 14 loci (2 mitochondrial and 12 nuclear loci) for 97 individuals, as well as morphological data (nine morphometric and 15 color pattern variables), that represent all six described species of the L. rothi complex, plus two candidate species. We use the multi-coalescent species delimitation program iBPP and resolve strong differences in molecular divergence; and each species is inferred as an independent lineage supported by high posterior probabilities. However, morphological differences are not that clear, and our modeling of morphological characters suggests differential selection pressures implying some level of morphological stasis. We discuss the role of natural selection on phenotypic traits, which may be an important factor in “hiding” the real diversity of the genus.
Data from: Construction of a species-level tree of life for the insects and utility in taxonomic profiling
Contributors: Chesters, Douglas
... Although comprehensive phylogenies have proven an invaluable tool in ecology and evolution, their construction is made increasingly challenging both by the scale and structure of publically available sequences. The distinct partition between gene-rich (genomic) and species-rich (DNA barcode) data is a feature of data that has been largely overlooked, yet presents a key obstacle to scaling supermatrix analysis. I present a phyloinformatics framework for draft construction of a species-level phylogeny of insects (Class Insecta). Matrix-building requires separately optimized pipelines for nuclear transcriptomic, mitochondrial genomic, and species-rich markers, whereas tree-building requires hierarchical inference in order to capture species-breadth while retaining deep-level resolution. The phylogeny of insects contains 49,358 species, 13,865 genera, 760 families. Deep-level splits largely reflected previous findings for sections of the tree that are data rich or unambiguous, such as inter-ordinal Endopterygota and Dictyoptera, the recently evolved and relatively homogeneous Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Brachycera (Diptera), and Cucujiformia (Coleoptera). However, analysis of bias, matrix construction and gene-tree variation suggests confidence in some relationships (such as in Polyneoptera) is less than has been indicated by the matrix bootstrap method. To assess the utility of the insect tree as a tool in query profiling several tree-based taxonomic assignment methods are compared. Using test data sets with existing taxonomic annotations, a tendency is observed for greater accuracy of species-level assignments where using a fixed comprehensive tree of life in contrast to methods generating smaller de novo reference trees. Described herein is a solution to the discrepancy in the way data are fit into supermatrices. The resulting tree facilitates wider studies of insect diversification and application of advanced descriptions of diversity in community studies, among other presumed applications.
Data from: Dispersal and group formation dynamics in a rare and endangered temperate forest bat (Nyctalus lasiopterus, Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae)
Contributors: Santos, João D.
... For elusive mammals like bats, colonization of new areas and colony formation are poorly understood, as is their relationship with the genetic structure of populations. Understanding dispersal and group formation behaviors is critical not only for a better comprehension of mammalian social dynamics, but also for guiding conservation efforts of rare and endangered species. Using nuclear and mitochondrial markers, we studied patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation among and within breeding colonies of giant noctule bats (Nyctalus lasiopterus), their relation to a new colony still in formation, and the impact of this ongoing process on the regionwide genetic makeup. Nuclear differentiation among colonies was relatively low and mostly nonsignificant. Mitochondrial variation followed this pattern, contrasting with findings for other temperate bat species. Our results suggest that this may indicate a recent population expansion. On average, female giant noctules were not more closely related to other colony members than to foreign individuals. This was also true for members of the newly forming colony and those of another, older group sampled shortly after its formation, suggesting that contrary to findings for other temperate bats, giant noctule colonies are not founded by relatives. However, mother–daughter pairs were found in the same populations more often than expected under random dispersal. Given this indication of philopatry, the lack of mitochondrial differentiation among most colonies in the region is probably due to the combination of a recent population expansion and group formation events.
Data from: Towards a self-updating platform for estimating rates of speciation and migration, ages, and relationships of taxa
Contributors: Antonelli, Alexandre, Hettling, Hannes, Condamine, Fabien L., Vos, Karin, Nilsson, R. Henrik, Sanderson, Michael J., Sauquet, Hervé, Scharn, Ruud, Silvestro, Daniele, Töpel, Mats
... Rapidly growing biological data –including molecular sequences and fossils– hold an unprecedented potential to reveal how evolutionary processes generate and maintain biodiversity. However, researchers often have to develop their own idiosyncratic workflows to integrate and analyse these data for reconstructing time-calibrated phylogenies. In addition, divergence times estimated under different methods and assumptions, and based on data of various quality and reliability, should not be combined without proper correction. Here we introduce a modular framework termed SUPERSMART (Self-Updating Platform for Estimating Rates of Speciation and Migration, Ages, and Relationships of Taxa), and provide a proof of concept for dealing with the moving targets of evolutionary and biogeographical research. This framework assembles comprehensive datasets of molecular and fossil data for any taxa and infers dated phylogenies using robust species tree methods, also allowing for the inclusion of genomic data produced through next-generation sequencing techniques. We exemplify the application of our method by presenting phylogenetic and dating analyses for the mammal order Primates and for the plant family Arecaceae (palms). We believe that this framework will provide a valuable tool for a wide range of hypothesis-driven research questions in systematics, biogeography, and evolution. SUPERSMART will also accelerate the inference of a “Dated Tree of Life” where all node ages are directly comparable.
Data from: Multi-locus sequence data illuminate demographic drivers of Pleistocene speciation in semi-arid southern Australian birds (Cinclosoma spp.)
Contributors: Dolman, Gaynor, Joseph, Leo
... Background: During the Pleistocene, shifts of species distributions and their isolation in disjunct refugia led to varied outcomes in how taxa diversified. Some species diverged, others did not. Here, we begin to address another facet of the role of the Pleistocene in generating today’s diversity. We ask which processes contributed to divergence in semi-arid southern Australian birds. We isolated 11 autosomal nuclear loci and one mitochondrial locus from a total of 29 specimens of the sister species pair, Chestnut Quail-thrush Cinclosoma castanotum and Copperback Quail-thrush C. clarum. Results: A population clustering analysis confirmed the location of the current species boundary as a well-known biogeographical barrier in southern Australia, the Eyrean Barrier. Coalescent-based analyses placed the time of species divergence to the Middle Pleistocene. Gene flow between the species since divergence has been low. The analyses suggest the effective population size of the ancestor was 54 to 178 times smaller than populations since divergence. This contrasts with recent multi-locus studies in some other Australian birds (butcherbirds, ducks) where a lack of phenotypic divergence was accompanied by larger historical population sizes. Post-divergence population size histories of C. clarum and C. castanotum were inferred using the extended Bayesian skyline model. The population size of C. clarum increased substantially during the late Pleistocene and continued to increase through the Last Glacial Maximum and Holocene. The timing of this expansion across its vast range is broadly concordant with that documented in several other Australian birds. In contrast, effective population size of C. castanotum was much more constrained and may reflect its smaller range and more restricted habitat east of the Eyrean Barrier compared with that available to C. clarum to the west. Conclusions: Our results contribute to awareness of increased population sizes, following significant contractions, as having been important in shaping diversity in Australian arid and semi-arid zones. Further, we improve knowledge of the role of Pleistocene climatic shifts in areas of the planet that were not glaciated at that time but which still experienced that period’s cyclical climatic fluctuations.
Data from: Phylogenomic reconstruction of sportive lemurs (genus Lepilemur) recovered from mitogenomes with inferences for Madagascar biogeography
Contributors: Lei, Runhua, Frasier, Cynthia L., Hawkins, Melissa T.R., Engberg, Shannon E., Bailey, Carolyn A., Johnson, Steig E., McLain, Adam T., Groves, Colin P., Perry, George H., Nash, Stephen D.
... The family Lepilemuridae includes 26 species of sportive lemurs, most of which were recently described. The cryptic morphological differences confounded taxonomy until recent molecular studies; however, some species’ boundaries remain uncertain. To better understand the genus Lepilemur, we analyzed 35 complete mitochondrial genomes representing all recognized 26 sportive lemur taxa and estimated divergence dates. With our dataset we recovered 25 reciprocally monophyletic lineages, as well as an admixed clade containing Lepilemur mittermeieri and Lepilemur dorsalis. Using modern distribution data, an ancestral area reconstruction and an ecological vicariance analysis were performed to trace the history of diversification and to test biogeographic hypotheses. We estimated the initial split between the eastern and western Lepilemur clades to have occurred in the Miocene. Divergence of most species occurred from the Pliocene to the Pleistocene. The biogeographic patterns recovered in this study were better addressed with a combinatorial approach including climate, watersheds, and rivers. Generally, current climate and watershed hypotheses performed better for western and eastern clades, while speciation of northern clades was not adequately supported using the ecological factors incorporated in this study. Thus, multiple mechanisms likely contributed to the speciation and distribution patterns in Lepilemur.
Data from: Parapatric genetic introgression and phenotypic assimilation: testing conditions for introgression between Hercules beetles (Dynastes, Dynastinae)
Contributors: Huang, Jen-Pan
... The prevalence and consequences of genetic introgression between species have been intensively debated. I used Hercules beetles as examples to test for conditions that may be associated with the occurrence of introgression. RADseq data were used to reconstruct the species tree and history of introgression between Hercules beetles. Image data from museum specimens were used to investigate the phenotypic similarity of two adaptive traits between species from two distinct climatic realms (Nearctic vs. Neotropical). Genetic introgression was identified between Hercules beetles living in geographic proximity (parapatric). Phylogenetic relatedness and phenotypic similarity did not predict nor preclude genetic introgression between species. Phenotypic assimilation in body coloration was evident between distantly related Hercules beetles codistributed in Central America, where directional introgression was also statistically supported from the putative donor to receiver lineages. The number of introgressed loci was significantly higher between species with than without phenotypic similarity. I discuss the implications of recent studies on adaptive genetic introgression by providing supporting evidence from the Hercules beetle system.
Data from: Shortspine thornyhead and rockfish (Scorpaenidae) distribution in response to substratum, biogenic structures and trawling
Contributors: Du Preez, Cherisse, Tunnicliffe, Verena
... Learmonth Bank in northern British Columbia sustains an active trawl fishery that returns large bycatches of deep-sea sponges and corals. To examine effects of biogenic structures on the distribution of fish, we examined nearly 30 km of high-definition imagery from a remotely operated vehicle and documented locations of 2770 scorpaenid fish. The 2 local genera have similar abundances, averaging about 1.2 individuals 100 m–2, but have different spatial abundance patterns: shortspine thornyhead Sebastolobus alascanus are randomly distributed on featureless substrata and their abundance increases with depth. Rockfish Sebastes spp. associate with higher seafloor relief nonrandomly and select for sponges and corals over the inert substrata alone; 95% of the rockfish occurred on 27% of the seafloor surveyed. Sponges (Demospongia and Hexactinellida) were abundant on the bedrock and boulders of the bank and adjacent moraine and covered 30 to 55% of the seafloor compared with 1% of the sediment and aggregates of the surrounding basin. The majority of rockfish (80%) occurred with sponges ≥50 cm in height, and even beds of short sponges attracted 4 times as many rockfish than did substrata with no large epifauna. While over half of primnoid corals over 30 cm tall had associated rockfish, less than 2% of the seafloor had large coral, and small coral had no associated rockfish. On the adjacent seafloor with past trawling activity, Primnoa pacifica was 13 times less abundant, and large corals and sponges were rare. Thornyhead abundance doubled but rockfish had a 3-fold reduction in numbers. Our study indicates that degradation of biogenic structures is a long-term detriment to rockfish species and, although the mechanism remains unclear, our data suggest it occurs through the destruction of a habitat that is more effective for shelter than rough inert seafloor.
Data from: Ancestral gene flow and parallel organellar genome capture result in extreme phylogenomic discord in a lineage of angiosperms
Contributors: Folk, Ryan A., Mandel, Jennifer R., Freudenstein, John V.
... While hybridization has recently received a resurgence of attention from systematists and evolutionary biologists, there remains a dearth of case studies on ancient, diversified hybrid lineages-clades of organisms that originated through reticulation. Studies on these groups are valuable in that they would speak to the long-term phylogenetic success of lineages following gene flow between species. We present a phylogenomic view of Heuchera, long known for frequent hybridization, incorporating all three independent genomes: targeted nuclear (~400,000 bp), plastid (~160,000 bp), and mitochondrial (~470,000 bp) data. We analyze these data using multiple concatenation and coalescence strategies. The nuclear phylogeny is consistent with previous work and with morphology, confidently suggesting a monophyletic Heuchera. By contrast, analyses of both organellar genomes recover a grossly polyphyletic Heuchera,consisting of three primary clades with relationships extensively rearranged within these as well. A minority of nuclear loci also exhibit phylogenetic discord; yet these topologies remarkably never resemble the pattern of organellar loci and largely present low levels of discord inter alia. Two independent estimates of the coalescent branch length of the ancestor of Heuchera using nuclear data suggest rare or nonexistent incomplete lineage sorting with related clades, inconsistent with the observed gross polyphyly of organellar genomes (confirmed by simulation of gene trees under the coalescent). These observations, in combination with previous work, strongly suggest hybridization as the cause of this phylogenetic discord.
Data from: Higher fungal diversity is correlated with lower CO2 emissions from dead wood in a natural forest
Contributors: Yang, Chunyan, Schaefer, Douglas A., Liu, Weijie, Popescu, Viorel D., Yang, Chenxue, Wang, Xiaoyang, Wu, Chunying, Yu, Douglas W.
... Wood decomposition releases almost as much CO2 to the atmosphere as does fossil-fuel combustion, so the factors regulating wood decomposition can affect global carbon cycling. We used metabarcoding to estimate the fungal species diversities of naturally colonized decomposing wood in subtropical China and, for the first time, compared them to concurrent measures of CO2 emissions. Wood hosting more diverse fungal communities emitted less CO2, with Shannon diversity explaining 26 to 44% of emissions variation. Community analysis supports a ‘pure diversity’ effect of fungi on decomposition rates and thus suggests that interference competition is an underlying mechanism. Our findings extend the results of published experiments using low-diversity, laboratory-inoculated wood to a high-diversity, natural system. We hypothesize that high levels of saprotrophic fungal biodiversity could be providing globally important ecosystem services by maintaining dead-wood habitats and by slowing the atmospheric contribution of CO2 from the world’s stock of decomposing wood. However, large-scale surveys and controlled experimental tests in natural settings will be needed to test this hypothesis.