About this Research Topic
The ongoing mass extinction associated with the “Anthropocene” has necessitated (re)evaluation of extant biodiversity to understand the evolution of life on earth, guide environmental policies, and inform species conservation efforts. Rapid developments in high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics have facilitated the generation of phylogenomic data from across the tree of life. Genomic data from museum, archaeological, and palaeontological specimens has even permitted the evaluation of biodiversity across both time and space. These technological developments have required a rethinking of the collection and use of museum specimens to make best use of the possible genomic data available.
The greatly increased genomic resolution from recent phylogenomic analyses has revealed complex patterns that challenge current taxonomic and conservation unit designations. Phylogenomic analyses routinely detect previously unknown population structure and even cryptic species. Ongoing and past admixture and hybridization between designated described species and populations has challenged current paradigms in species conservation and legal protection as well as our understanding of the roles of hybridization in the generation and/or reduction of biodiversity. Moreover, phylogenomics has expanded beyond just the host organisms - investigations now include analyses of associated microbiomes, pathogens, and parasites to evaluate their roles in evolution.
In this Research Topic “Assessing Biodiversity in the Phylogenomic Era”, we provide a series of topical articles using current phylogenomic techniques to (re)assess patterns of biodiversity across the tree-of-life. In particular, the collection will focus on (but is not limited to) the following topics:
1. Phylogenomic assessments and refinement of current taxonomies and biological/conservation unit descriptions.
2. The collection and use of museum specimens for phylogenomic assessments of biodiversity.
3. The roles of hybridization, admixture, and cryptic population structure/speciation in the development and maintenance of biodiversity.
4. The roles of the microbiome, pathogens, and parasites in generating and maintaining biodiversity
Keywords: Biodiversity, Phylogenomics, Museum Specimens, Admixture, Speciation
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