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Open Access Phylogeography unplugged: comparative surveys in the genomic era

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In March 2012, the authors met at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) in Durham, North Carolina, USA, to discuss approaches and cooperative ventures in Indo-Pacific phylogeography. The group emerged with a series of findings: (1) Marine population structure is complex, but single locus mtDNA studies continue to provide powerful first assessment of phylogeographic patterns. (2) These patterns gain greater significance/power when resolved in a diversity of taxa. New analytical tools are emerging to address these analyses with multi-taxon approaches. (3) Genome-wide analyses are warranted if selection is indicated by surveys of standard markers. Such indicators can include discordance between genetic loci, or between genetic loci and morphology. Phylogeographic information provides a valuable context for studies of selection and adaptation. (4) Phylogeographic inferences are greatly enhanced by an understanding of the biology and ecology of study organisms. (5) Thorough, range-wide sampling of taxa is the foundation for robust phylogeographic inference. (6) Congruent geographic and taxonomic sampling by the Indo-Pacific community of scientists would facilitate better comparative analyses. The group concluded that at this stage of technology and software development, judicious rather than wholesale application of genomics appears to be the most robust course for marine phylogeographic studies. Therefore, our group intends to affirm the value of traditional (“unplugged”) approaches, such as those based on mtDNA sequencing and microsatellites, along with essential field studies, in an era with increasing emphasis on genomic approaches.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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