[Seminar] When does taxonomy matter?
Seminar title: When does taxonomy matter?
Andrew H. Baird1, Tom C.L. Bridge1, 2, Peter F. Cowman1, 2,David J. Miller1, 3
1 ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811 Australia
2 Biodiversity and Geosciences Program, Museum of Tropical Queensland, Queensland Museum, Townsville, QLD 4810, Australia
3 Molecular & Cell biology, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811 Australia
Molecular approaches have revolutionised our understanding of the systematics and evolution of most branches on the tree of life, including corals. Over the last twenty-five years molecular research has revealed that few of the 18 families and 111 genera recognised by Veron (2000) were monophyletic. New techniques and vision promise a more robust and consistent species level taxonomy, but it will take time and there is always likely to be some uncertainty. It is therefore important to establish when taxonomy matters and when it does not. To illustrate problems with the current species level taxonomic framework we reassess the identity of 23 recently sequenced genomes of the genus Acropora (Family Acroporidae) using multiple lines of evidence, including an phylogeny based on targeted capture of ultraconserved elements and exonic loci and comparisons with the type material, to demonstrate that most of these genomes have been incorrectly identified. This is not necessarily a problem, depending on the research question, however, we present a number of examples from the literature to highlight times when a robust taxonomy is essential. We also present our research on the phylogeography of the genus Acropora to show that the true species richness is likely to be up to 4 times the number of species recognised in the most recent taxonomy revision. This is because few synonymies were correct plus there are dozens of new species. We conclude by outlining a framework towards a robust and consistent species level taxonomy for the hermatypic Scleractinia.
Professor Andrew Baird is a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. He has broad interests in coral reef science having produced original research on coral reproductive biology, larval ecology and climate change. His current research focuses on the systematics and biogeography of reef-building corals, in particular, the Family Acroporidae.
Meeting ID: 998 8037 0946 | Passcode: 428272
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