Project proposal details

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Project title
The global biogeography of major lineages of Coleoptera (beetles)
Contact name
Alfried Vogler
Project based at
Natural History Museum
Project description
Biogeographic distributions are phylogenetically conserved, as first recognized by A.R. Russell, whose evidence for evolution (unlike Darwin’s) was based on biogeographical observations that found closely related species in geographic vicinity (“…the natural sequence of the species by affinity is also geographical”; Wallace, 1870). Based on species distributions, the Earth can be subdivided into 6-7 major zoogeographic regions, but it is less clear how deeply the lineages in each region are separated. Do the zoogeographically separated lineages go back deep in time, possibly to the separation of the Gondwana supercontinent in the Jurassic and Cretaceous? What are the links between these regions, and how often did various lineages transition between regions? The worldwide phylogenetic biogeography will be tested for the Coleoptera, the arguably most species rich radiation on Earth, using large-scale phylogenetics of samples from sites around the globe. This includes the use of an unpublished dataset of some 5000 mitochondrial genomes, in addition to a large number of DNA barcode sequences from a global Malaise trap program. The outcome will be a phylogenetic tree of the major lineages of Coleoptera in relation to their biogeographic distributions, and a first map of the frequency and date of transitions between the major zoogeographic realms.
Date uploaded
2021-02-12

Project proposal limitations

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Suitable for
Ecology Evolution and Conservation, Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution (MRes), Taxonomy and Biodiversity [NHM MSc], Biosystematics [NHM MRes]