Wiley Online Library : Cladistics


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January 29, 2015

This paper examines a recent proposal to calculate supertrees by minimizing the sum of subtree prune-and-regraft distances to the input trees. The supertrees thus calculated may display groups present in a minority of the input trees but contradicted by the majority, or groups that are not supported by any input tree or combination of input trees. The proponents of the method themselves stated that these are serious problems of “matrix representation with parsimony”, but they can in fact occur in their own method. The majority rule supertrees, being explicitly clade-based, cannot have these problems, and seem much more suited to retrieving common clades from a set of trees with different taxon sets. However, it is dubious that so-called majority rule supertrees can always be interpreted as displaying those clades present (or compatible with) with a majority of the trees. The majority rule consensus is always a median tree, in terms of the Robinson–Foulds distances (i.e. it minimizes the sum of Robinson–Foulds distances to the input trees). In contrast, majority rule supertrees may not be median—different, contradictory trees may minimize Robinson–Foulds distances, while their strict consensus does not. If being “majority” results from being median in Robinson–Foulds distances, this means that in the supertree setting a “majority” is ambiguously defined, sometimes achievable only by mutually contradictory trees.

January 26, 2015

Quantitative analyses of areas of endemism have rarely considered higher taxa. This paper discusses aspects related to the use of higher taxa in the analysis of areas of endemism, and computer implementations. An example of the application of the method is provided, with a data set for Nearctic mammals, showing that some of the areas recognized by species-level taxa also adjust well to the distribution of other taxa of higher level (genera, monophyletic groups).

January 20, 2015

Viruses of influenza A subtype H7 can be highly pathogenic and periodically infect humans. For example, there have been numerous outbreaks of H7 in the Americas and Europe since 1996. More recently, a reassortant H7N9 has emerged among humans and birds during 2013–2014 in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. This H7N9 genome consists of genetic segments that assort with H7 and H9 viruses previously circulating in chickens and wild birds in China and ducks in Korea. Epidemic risk modellers have used agricultural, climatic and demographic data to predict that the virus will spread to northern Vietnam via poultry. To shed light on the traffic of H7 viruses in general, we examine genetic segments of influenza that have assorted with many strains of H7 viruses dating back to 1902. We focus on use cases from the United States, Italy and China. We apply a novel metric, betweenness, an associated phylogenetic visualization technique, transmission networks, and compare these with another technique, route mapping. In contrast to traditional views, our results illustrate that segments that assort with H7 viruses are spread frequently between the Americas and Eurasia. In summary, genetic segments that historically assort with H7 influenza viruses have been spread from China to: Australia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mongolia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the UK, the US, and Vietnam.

January 12, 2015

The taxonomic rank and phylogenetic relationships of the pipizine flower flies (Diptera: Syrphidae: Pipizini) were estimated based on DNA sequence data from three gene regions (COI, 28S and 18S) and 111 adult morphological characters. Pipizini has been treated as a member of the subfamily Eristalinae based on diagnostic adult morphological characteristics, while the larval feeding mode and morphology is shared with members of the subfamily Syrphinae. We analysed each dataset, both separately and combined, in a total evidence approach under maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood. To evaluate the influence of different alignment strategies of rDNA 28S and 18S genes on the resulting topologies, we compared the topologies inferred from a multiple alignment using fast Fourier transform (MAFFT) program with those topologies resulting from aligning the secondary structure of these rDNA genes. Total evidence analyses resolved pipizines as a sister group of the subfamily Syrphinae. Although the structural alignment and the MAFFT alignment differed in the inferred relationships of some clades and taxa, there was congruence in the placement of pipizines. The homogeneous morphology of the Pipizini clade in combination with their unique combination of characters among the Syrphidae suggest a change of rank to subfamily. Thus, we propose to divide Syrphidae into four subfamilies, including the subfamily Pipizinae stat. rev.

January 9, 2015

A phylogeny of the lacewing family Nymphidae based on morphology and DNA sequences is presented including representatives of all living genera and selected fossil genera. Widely distributed Jurassic and Cretaceous genera gave rise to recent taxa now restricted to Australasia. Two previously defined clades (i.e. Nymphinae and Myiodactylinae) were recovered and reflect the diverging adult and larval morphology of members of these two subfamilies. From Chinese Cretaceous deposits, a new genus (Spilonymphes gen. nov.) is described with one new species, as well as new species described in the genera Baissoleon Makarkin and Sialium Westwood.

January 8, 2015

The marmosets, tribe Callitrichini, are the most speciose clade in the subfamily Callitrichinae, containing 21 species. However, there is no consensus among molecular and morphological systematists as to how many genera should be recognized for the group. To test the morphological support for the alternative generic classifications, this study presents a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis. It is the first such analysis to include all 21 species and employ continuous and discrete osteological, pelage and tegument, karyological and vocal characters. This dataset was combined with nucleotide sequences from two mitochondrial and four nuclear regions. Separate analyses showed that, among morphological datasets, osteological characters were best at solving relationships at more inclusive levels, whilst pelage characters were most informative at the interspecific level. This suggests the presence of different transformation rates for the two character sets. When a single most parsimonious tree was obtained using the 83-character matrix, three main clades were identified, supporting the division of the marmosets into three genera: Callithrix, Cebuella and Mico. The total evidence analysis that included an additional 3481 molecular characters corroborated most of the morphology-based clades and also supported a three-genus classification of the marmosets. This is the first morphological study to support an Amazonian marmoset clade (Cebuella + Mico), which is also strongly supported in exclusively molecular phylogenies, and to synonimize Callibella under Mico.

December 23, 2014

The phylogeny of the paper wasp genus Polistes is investigated using morphological and behavioural characters, as well as molecular data from six genes (COI, 12S, 16S, 28S, H3, and EF1-α). The results are used to investigate the following evolutionary hypotheses about the genus: (i) that Polistes first evolved in Southeast Asia, (ii) that dispersal to the New World occurred only once, and (iii) that long-term monogyny evolved as an adaptation to overwintering in a temperate climate. Optimization of distribution records on the recovered tree does not allow unambiguous reconstruction of the ancestral area of Polistes. While the results indicate that Polistes dispersed into the New World from Asia, South America is recovered as the ancestral area for all New World Polistes: Nearctic species groups evolved multiple times from this South American stock. The final tree topology suggests strongly that the genus first arose in a tropical environment, refuting the idea of monogyny as an overwintering adaptation.

November 6, 2014

Ants that resemble Camponotus maculatus (Fabricius, 1782) present an opportunity to test the hypothesis that the origin of the Pacific island fauna was primarily New Guinea, the Philippines, and the Indo-Malay archipelago (collectively known as Malesia). We sequenced two mitochondrial and four nuclear markers from 146 specimens from Pacific islands, Australia, and Malesia. We also added 211 specimens representing a larger worldwide sample and performed a series of phylogenetic analyses and ancestral area reconstructions. Results indicate that the Pacific members of this group comprise several robust clades that have distinctly different biogeographical histories, and they suggest an important role for Australia as a source of Pacific colonizations. Malesian areas were recovered mostly in derived positions, and one lineage appears to be Neotropical. Phylogenetic hypotheses indicate that the orange, pan-Pacific form commonly identified as C. chloroticus Emery 1897 actually consists of two distantly related lineages. Also, the lineage on Hawaiʻi, which has been called C. variegatus (Smith, 1858), appears to be closely related to C. tortuganus Emery, 1895 in Florida and other lineages in the New World. In Micronesia and Polynesia the C. chloroticus-like species support predictions of the taxon-cycle hypothesis and could be candidates for human-mediated dispersal.