Novel approaches to building the Dated Tree of Life and identifying its species

Prof. Alexandre Antonelli & Prof. Bengt Oxelman, from Göteborg University, Sweden will present the Department of Biological Sciences seminar entitled, " Novel approaches to building the Dated Tree of Life and identifying its species".  

Biodiversity is the next frontier in natural sciences, and understanding the nature of its basic units – species – has been one of biology’s greatest challenges ever since Linnaeus. In a multidisciplinary framework, we use Next Generation Sequencing technologies to generate an unparalleled amount of high-quality genomic data spanning across ecosystems, climatic zones, and organisms. We will use these data to re-assess global estimates of biodiversity, test the relation between taxonomic and model-based phylogenetic diversity, and unveil the evolutionary processes shaping the Tree of Life. Here we will provide a brief account on our ongoing work on the tribe Sileneae (Caryophyllaceae), where we use a recently developed species tree model where uncertainties in species delimitation are taken into account. We will then present some of our newly developed bioinformatic tools for synthesising phylogenetic and biodiversity information, including SUPERSMART for automating phylogenetic reconstruction, and how these can be applied to biogeographic and evolutionary research”. 

Friday, September 2, 2016 - 12:00

Lecture Theatre 3, John Day Building, Upper Campus, UCT