Skip to main content

Origin of biodiversity in Gondwanan Arthropods: from phylogeography to phylogenomic

Final Report Summary - GONDWANA (Origin of biodiversity in Gondwanan Arthropods: from phylogeography to phylogenomic)

Project context and objectives

Current biodiversity is the product of past evolution, just as future biodiversity will be a product of contemporary evolution. Various hypotheses have been proposed to explain current patterns of species richness and endemism. Testing those hypotheses is essential if we want to understand how the present biodiversity emerged and reacted to past climatic changes. It is also fundamental to our understanding of the impact of future climatic changes, the sustainable management of our biodiversity and the strategic planning of conservation objectives.

The objectives of the project were to enhance the ability of the beneficiary so as to generate and analyse data related to every aspect of biodiversity research. Three training objectives were targeted in relation to the different levels of organisation of evolutionary biology.

Work performed:
Studies of population levels were conducted to investigate the contribution of ecological and geographical factors in the formation and maintenance of distinct lineages, as well as their relation to the level of observed genetic divergence and gene flow between entities.
Studies of phylogenetic levels were conducted. Paleontological information from the fossil records was combined with molecular sequence data in order to investigate the timing of origin and diversification of different groups. We proposed an approach for integrating fossils as terminals rather than age constraints for an extant group.
Molecular phylogenies of extant taxa provided a useful window into the tempo and mode of species diversification.

Main results
We now have a framework to study macro-evolutionary processes often obscured by the incompleteness of the fossil record. We can characterise parameters of species diversification through time in a given region in order to highlight potential congruent temporal patterns among lineages. We investigated how paleoclimatological or paleogeographical events can be related to shifts in species diversification. Finally, phylogenomic studies were conducted in order to fully grasp the potential of next-generation-sequencing technologies to trace the history of lineages.