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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

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

Phylogenetic diversity assessment of Fabaceae in two grassland prairies using next-generation sequencing.

The world’s ecosystems and biodiversity are at risk of being lost as a result of global climate change and habitat degradation and destruction. 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 utilize species richness counts to indicate the level of biodiversity in a region; however, these counts do not provide insight about the vital genetic information or the evolutionary potential of the region being assessed. Therefore, additional evaluation strategies are necessary to augment current biodiversity assessment tools that are used in making conservation decisions. Our research demonstrates that the genetic variation and evolutionary distinctiveness of a region can be assessed, beyond simple species counts, using phylogenetic diversity (PD) as a metric. PD measures the evolutionary difference between taxa in a community, and maximizing PD in a region will maximize the options for future adaptations. This research represents the first project in which next-generation technology was used to sequence a multitude of DNA markers from two cellular components that were analyzed to estimate PD from robust phylogenies. In our investigation, robust phylogenies were estimated for the Fabaceae at two endangered tallgrass prairies in Nebraska. Eight PD metrics were calculated and compared to each other and to species richness both within and between sites. The questions investigated were: 1) Do various PD metrics characterize diversity distinctively? 2) Does PD differ between geographical sites? 3) How are PD and species richness correlated? and 4) How are PD and functional diversity (FD) correlated? Complete plastid genomes plus nrDNA genes were recovered for 15 species of Fabaceae for phylogeny estimation using total genomic DNA extractions and Illumina sequencing. The conclusions are as follows: 1) various PD metrics lead to different interpretations of biodiversity, 2) PD varies between geographical sites, and 3) PD and species richness are not always positively correlated. Data analysis is underway to determine the relationship of PD to FD. These empirical results provide information to scientists and conservation planners about the value of measuring PD which allows for better understanding of the phylogenetic variation that may be beneficial in continuously changing ecosystems.

Broader Impacts:

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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 St. - AH 211A, Omaha, NE, 68182, USA

conservation planning
next generation sequencing

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Session: P
Location: Grand Salon A - D/Riverside Hilton
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PCB002
Abstract ID:275
Candidate for Awards:None

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