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Abstract Detail

Seed-free Plants at the Genomic Scale

Sessa, Emily Butler [1], McDaniel, Stuart F. [2], Davis, E. Christine [3], Antonenko, Pavlo [4], von Konrat, Matt [5], Gaus, Eve [6], Cui, Hong [7], Burleigh, Gordon [8].

Building a comprehensive evolutionary history of flagellate plants.

For the first ~300 million years of plant life on land, Earth’s flora consisted entirely of flagellate plants, which today include approximately 30,000 species of bryophytes, lycophytes, ferns, and gymnosperms. Numerous major innovations, including stomata, vascular tissue, roots, leaves, woody stems, and seeds, evolved first in flagellate plant ancestors. The flagellate plants are represented today by vibrant and diverse lineages that contribute substantially to global ecology, particularly via contributions to global carbon and nitrogen cycles. These plants predominate in the modern taiga and tundra biomes, and drive key global biogeochemical cycles, with major implications for the Earth’s climate. Studies of flagellate plant lineages, therefore, provide a window not only into the early evolution of terrestrial plant life, but also into the ecological and evolutionary processes shaping biodiversity today. The first goal of this project is to generate a species-level phylogeny of the flagellate plants, based on both DNA sequence variation as well as morphological data extracted from floras and taxonomic resources using natural language processing methods. Molecular markers will include several hundred nuclear loci as well as plastid and mitochondrial genomes assembled from off-target reads. The use of morphological data will allow researchers to explicitly incorporate species known only from fossils, historically significant herbarium specimens, or other sources where DNA data are impossible to collect. These data and the resulting phylogeny will be freely distributed to support taxonomic studies across the flagellate plants. The second goal of the project is to link the phylogeny to numerous other data layers, including morphology, genome and life history variation, and geospatial distribution data, to facilitate analyses aimed at understanding the key forces that govern diversification. Collectively these tools and data will catalyze research into fundamental biological problems related to the generation and maintenance of biodiversity. Finally, we will develop, evaluate, and distribute online education tools that promote the appreciation of flagellate plant diversity and systematic biology, and support citizen science activities that promote flagellate plant awareness and scientific literacy. We are actively seeking partners for this project and encourage anyone working on flagellate plants to contact us.

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Related Links:
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1 - University Of Florida, Biology, Box 118525, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA
2 - University of Florida, Biology Department, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA
3 - University Of Florida, Department Of Biology, Bartram-Carr Hall, P.O Box 118525, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA
4 - University of Florida, College of Education, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA
5 - The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL, 60605
6 - Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL, 60605
7 - University of Arizona, School of Information, PO Box 210074, Tucson, AZ, 85721, USA
8 - University Of Florida, P.O. Box 118526, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA


Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: C4, Seed Free Plants at the Genomic Scale
Location: Chatham Ballroom - C/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
Time: 1:30 PM
Number: C4001
Abstract ID:432
Candidate for Awards:None

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