Abstract Detail


Whitehurst, Lauren [1], Soltis, Pamela [2], Soltis, Douglas [2].

Assessing Phylogenetic Diversity Patterns for the Vascular Flora of Florida.

The striking variety of ecosystems and plant communities in Florida are unfortunately endangered in many ways, including increased urbanization, habitat destruction, and fragmentation. However, as these environments change and sea levels rise, proper action must be taken to document the history and diversity of the vascular flora of Florida. The utilization of powerful computational methods and large data repositories afford opportunities to better inform how to identify and preserve the evolutionary diversity represented by the vascular flora of Florida. The large number of institutions participating in the digitization of herbarium collections has facilitated access to herbarium collections worldwide. The increasing availability of species distribution data and environmental variables in combination with the generation of large phylogenetic trees and new methods of phylogenetic analyses can aid in process of identifying areas of significantly high phylogenetic diversity (PD). The integration of open data sources utilized through advanced computational programs allows the analysis of plant diversity on a grand scale and potential predictions of how patterns may shift over time. A preliminary study, using multiple metrics of PD, multiple input trees, and niche modeling, developed high-throughput methods for generating patterns of PD across spatial scales and identified patterns of plant phylogenetic diversity across Florida; however, this analysis included only ~1,500 of the ~4,100 species of vascular plants that occur in Florida; but that has since been improved to ~3500. My goal is to supplement the phylogeny further through data mining for additional sequences, obtaining leaf tissue from herbarium samples for missing taxa, or collect from wild populations only when necessary. I will then generate a phylogeny for testing several phylogenetic metrics, including PD and relative PD (RPD), which account for both evolutionary relationships between organisms, to characterize the vascular flora of Florida, infer the processes that contributed to community assembly, and develop strategies for preserving these processes as components of conservation efforts. For example, areas exhibiting high levels of phylogenetic diversity, and therefore diverse evolutionary history and ecological processes, may be useful foci for concentrating conservation efforts. I will compare current protected areas in Florida with the resulting PD patterns to assess how well PD is currently captured by local, state, and federal protection. Through comparing areas of significantly high PD to currently conserved lands, my goal is to ultimately discover areas ideal for increased conservation concern and develop useful educational outreach and reach policymakers and land managers.

1 - University of Florida, Department of Biology, Florida Museum of Natural History, 1659 Museum Rd, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA
2 - University Of Florida, Florida Museum Of Natural History, Dickinson Hall, Gainesville, FL, 32611, United States
3 - University Of Florida, Florida Museum Of Natural History, Dickinson Hall, Gainesville, FL, 32611, United States

phylogenetic diversity

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Systematics Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Thursday, July 30th, 2020
Time: 5:00 PM Time and date to be determined
Number: PSY015
Abstract ID:538
Candidate for Awards:None

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