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1.  Taking the First Steps towards a Standard for Reporting on Phylogenies: Minimal Information about a Phylogenetic Analysis (MIAPA) 
In the eight years since phylogenomics was introduced as the intersection of genomics and phylogenetics, the field has provided fundamental insights into gene function, genome history and organismal relationships. The utility of phylogenomics is growing with the increase in the number and diversity of taxa for which whole genome and large transcriptome sequence sets are being generated. We assert that the synergy between genomic and phylogenetic perspectives in comparative biology would be enhanced by the development and refinement of minimal reporting standards for phylogenetic analyses. Encouraged by the development of the Minimum Information About a Microarray Experiment (MIAME) standard, we propose a similar roadmap for the development of a Minimal Information About a Phylogenetic Analysis (MIAPA) standard. Key in the successful development and implementation of such a standard will be broad participation by developers of phylogenetic analysis software, phylogenetic database developers, practitioners of phylogenomics, and journal editors.
PMCID: PMC3167193  PMID: 16901231
2.  Progressive island colonization and ancient origin of Hawaiian Metrosideros (Myrtaceae) 
Knowledge of the evolutionary history of plants that are ecologically dominant in modern ecosystems is critical to understanding the historical development of those ecosystems. Metrosideros is a plant genus found in many ecological and altitudinal zones throughout the Pacific. In the Hawaiian Islands, Metrosideros polymorpha is an ecologically dominant species and is also highly polymorphic in both growth form and ecology. Using 10 non-coding chloroplast regions, we investigated haplotype diversity in the five currently recognized Hawaiian Metrosideros species and an established out-group, Metrosideros collina, from French Polynesia. Multiple haplotype groups were found, but these did not match morphological delimitations. Alternative morphologies sharing the same haplotype, as well as similar morphologies occurring within several distinct island clades, could be the result of developmental plasticity, parallel evolution or chloroplast capture. The geographical structure of the data is consistent with a pattern of age progressive island colonizations and suggests de novo intra-island diversification. If single colonization events resulted in a similar array of morphologies on each island, this would represent parallel radiations within a single, highly polymorphic species. However, we were unable to resolve whether the pattern is instead explained by ancient introgression and incomplete lineage sorting resulting in repeated chloroplast capture. Using several calibration methods, we estimate the colonization of the Hawaiian Islands to be potentially as old as 3.9 (−6.3) Myr with an ancestral position for Kaua'i in the colonization and evolution of Metrosideros in the Hawaiian Islands. This would represent a more ancient arrival of Metrosideros to this region than previous studies have suggested.
PMCID: PMC2602662  PMID: 18426752
chloroplast; Hawaiian Islands; Metrosideros; parallel evolution; plasticity; polymorphism
3.  Ice-age survival of Atlantic cod: agreement between palaeoecology models and genetics 
Scant scientific attention has been given to the abundance and distribution of marine biota in the face of the lower sea level, and steeper latitudinal gradient in climate, during the ice-age conditions that have dominated the past million years. Here we examine the glacial persistence of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) populations using two ecological-niche-models (ENM) and the first broad synthesis of multi-locus gene sequence data for this species. One ENM uses a maximum entropy approach (Maxent); the other is a new ENM for Atlantic cod, using ecophysiological parameters based on observed reproductive events rather than adult distribution. Both the ENMs were tested for present-day conditions, then used to hindcast ranges at the last glacial maximum (LGM) ca 21 kyr ago, employing climate model data. Although the LGM range of Atlantic cod was much smaller, and fragmented, both the ENMs agreed that populations should have been able to persist in suitable habitat on both sides of the Atlantic. The genetic results showed a degree of trans-Atlantic divergence consistent with genealogically continuous populations on both sides of the North Atlantic since long before the LGM, confirming the ENM results. In contrast, both the ENMs and the genetic data suggest that the Greenland G. morhua population post-dates the LGM.
PMCID: PMC2596182  PMID: 17999951
cod; ecological-niche-modelling; DNA sequence; glacial
4.  From Offshore to Onshore: Multiple Origins of Shallow-Water Corals from Deep-Sea Ancestors 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(6):e2429.
Shallow-water tropical reefs and the deep sea represent the two most diverse marine environments. Understanding the origin and diversification of this biodiversity is a major quest in ecology and evolution. The most prominent and well-supported explanation, articulated since the first explorations of the deep sea, holds that benthic marine fauna originated in shallow, onshore environments, and diversified into deeper waters. In contrast, evidence that groups of marine organisms originated in the deep sea is limited, and the possibility that deep-water taxa have contributed to the formation of shallow-water communities remains untested with phylogenetic methods. Here we show that stylasterid corals (Cnidaria: Hydrozoa: Stylasteridae)—the second most diverse group of hard corals—originated and diversified extensively in the deep sea, and subsequently invaded shallow waters. Our phylogenetic results show that deep-water stylasterid corals have invaded the shallow-water tropics three times, with one additional invasion of the shallow-water temperate zone. Our results also show that anti-predatory innovations arose in the deep sea, but were not involved in the shallow-water invasions. These findings are the first robust evidence that an important group of tropical shallow-water marine animals evolved from deep-water ancestors.
PMCID: PMC2424010  PMID: 18560569

Results 1-4 (4)