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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Ahrendsen, Dakota [1], Aust, Shelly [1], Jones, Amanda [2], Kellar, P. Roxanne [3].

Biodiversity assessment using next-generation sequencing: rosid comparison of phylogenetic and functional diversity between Nebraska grassland prairies.

As the global biodiversity crisis continues, it is imperative that scientists develop new ways to determine how limited conservation resources are distributed. Many biodiversity assessment approaches currently used to identify areas of high conservation priority use species richness counts to indicate the level of biodiversity in a region; however, these counts do not provide insight about the evolutionary potential of the region being assessed. Phylogenetic diversity (PD) measures the evolutionary difference between taxa in a community and can be used as a biodiversity assessment tool. Maximizing PD in a region will maximize the options for future adaptations as ecosystems continue to change. Additionally, comparing the pattern of specific leaf area (SLA) in a region to the phylogenetic diversity of a region will provide information on the functional diversity (FD) over evolutionary time. In this study, many species from the rosid clade were collected from two endangered grassland prairies in Nebraska: The Niobrara Valley Preserve and Nine-Mile Prairie. Three fully expanded, mature leaves were collected from three individuals of each species for FD analysis. Total DNA was extracted from 40 samples, and next-generation sequencing was used to estimate robust phylogenies. Phylogenies were used to calculate eight PD metrics that were compared within and between study sites as well as to FD and species richness (SR). The questions investigated were 1) How do various PD metrics characterize biodiversity differently?; 2) How does PD differ between geographic locations?; 3) How is PD related to SR and FD?; and 4) How do PD metrics calculated from a phylogeny estimated using complete plastid genomes differ from one estimated using only three to five genes? Current results have led to the following conclusions: 1) various PD metrics lead to different interpretations of biodiversity, 2) PD varies between geographic locations and between communities within a location, and 3) PD increases slightly with SR, while there are mixed results for the pattern of SLA for each location. Further analysis is underway to determine how PD metrics vary depending on the size of the data set used to infer the phylogenies. These results begin to reveal the value of using PD as a biodiversity assessment tool.

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1 - University Of Nebraska At Omaha, Biology Graduate Program, 6001 W. Dodge Street - AH228, Omaha, NE, 68182, USA
2 - University of Nebraska at Omaha, Biology , 6001 W. Dodge Street, Omaha, NE, 68182, USA
3 - University Of Nebraska At Omaha, Plant Biology Graduate Program, 6001 W. Dodge St. - AH 211A, Omaha, NE, 68182, USA

conservation biology
next-generation sequencing
grassland prairies
phylogenetic diversity.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 27
Location: Firs North/Boise Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Number: 27002
Abstract ID:491
Candidate for Awards:None

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