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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Kellar, Pamela Roxanne [1], Welch, Aaron [2].

Phylogenetic diversity assessment using GenBank data: a comparison among prairies at different latitudes.

Phylogenetic diversity (PD) is a measure of evolutionary differences between taxa in a phylogenetic tree. For conservation, various PD metrics can be used to assess biodiversity and prioritize sites for preservation. DNA sequence data are readily available through online databases such as GenBank, so researchers may obtain genetic markers for a wide range of species for phylogenetic inference. However, GenBank lacks sequences for the same genes for multiple species – an important criterion for the most informative PD metrics, which depend upon branch lengths. As a consequence, these phylogenetic diversity assessments rely on the sequences of congeners or more distantly related species to serve as substitutes in sequence alignments, but the effects of such substitutions on interpretations of diversity are unknown. In this study, we compared PD metrics between two prairies – Nine Mile Prairie (NMP; Latitude 40ºN; 93 hectares) northwest of Lincoln, Nebraska and the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center (LWC; Latitude 28ºN; 113 hectares) in Austin, Texas. We mined GenBank for two plastid genes (rbcL and matK) and the nuclear internal transcribed spacers (ITS1 and ITS2) for plants on lists of flora at the sites and investigated the effects of using surrogates in PD assessment. We estimated phylogenies for the two largest clades of angiosperms – asterids and rosids – and calculated seven PD metrics (PDFaith, MPD, MNTD, PDSES, MPDSES, MNTDSES, and IST) and three traditional diversity indices (S, SJ, and SS). We compared our results with those from a previous biodiversity assessment at NMP in which plant species were collected and sequenced on the Illumina platform, and no substitutes were used in the phylogenies. In total, 87 rosids and 117 asterids were included in the NMP calculations; 126 rosids and 194 asterids were included in the LWC calculations. The percentage of species with complete (all three) regions available on GenBank ranged from 23% to 33%, and congeners made up 50-60%. Interpretations of phylogenetic diversity varied across the PD metrics, but a Mann-Whitney U Test revealed diversity at NMP was lower than at LWC, which was expected since NMP is at higher latitude than LWC. A comparison between metrics based on mined GenBank data and those calculated from complete sequences led to mixed conclusions. Results from this and other studies like this will aid community ecologists and conservation biologists in future investigations of biodiversity and selection of priority regions for preservation.

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1 - University of Nebraska at Omaha, Biology, 6001 Dodge Street, AH211A, Omaha, NE, 68182, USA
2 - University of Nebraska at Omaha, Biology, 6001 Dodge Street, AH211A, Omaha, NE, 68182, United States


Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Conservation Biology Posters
Location: Exhibit Hall/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM This poster will be presented at 5:30 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PCB009
Abstract ID:621
Candidate for Awards:None

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