phylogenetics

Myrmecos

Tag archives for phylogenetics

The phylogeny of bug blogging

What happens if you score bug blogs for various characters and crunch them through a phylogenetic analysis? Morgan Jackson investigates: Although Morgan’s exercise was tongue-in-cheek, he did uncover a pattern worthy of further exploration: The last thing I want to comment on is the huge skew between male and female insect bloggers. Of the 58…

The Myrmica Phylogeny

The online early section of Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution this week has the first comprehensive phylogeny of a rather important genus of ants: Myrmica. Myrmica is ubiquitous in the colder climates of North America and Eurasia, with a few seemingly incongruous species inhabiting the mountains of tropical southeast Asia. The genus contains about 200 species,…

The most ambitious arthropod phylogeny yet

The top-tier journal Nature doesn’t often deal in purely phylogenetic research. So when such a study graces their pages we know it’s big stuff. Yesterday, Nature published a 62 gene, 75 species analysis of the evolutionary history of the arthropods. Arthropods, as readers of this blog likely know, are animals with a chitinous exoskeleton and…

The problem with “Basal”

Earlier I chastised Christian Peeters and Mathieu Molet for misinterpreting the term “basal” in a phylogenetic context.  What was that about?

Basal Ants?

Let me preface this post by saying that Christian Peeters is one of my absolute favorite myrmecologists.  If lost in a remote African jungle and stalked by ravenous leopards, for example, Christian is the first ant guy I’d pick to help get me out of the predicament. Having said that, this paper in Insectes Sociaux…

The trouble with MrBayes

Sorry for an uncharacteristically technical post.  But, I’ve produced an excellent example of a problem that’s been plaguing the widely-used phylogenetics program MrBayes and thought it might be of interest to the handful of systematists who read this blog. I’ve been running analyses on the Azteca y’all sent after my desperate plea last month and…

The trouble with phylogenetics

Here’s an issue that’s been on my mind as I’m shuffling trees around from several concurrent phylogenetic projects. The primary output from phylogenetics programs is tree diagrams depicting the relationships among organisms.  Very clean, very crisp, very precise diagrams.  Precision isn’t in itself a problem, but for the human foible of mistaking precision for accuracy.…

This tree depicts how colony size evolves in ants.  The purple/blue colors represent small colonies with only a few to a few dozen ants, while the yellows and oranges represent species with enormous colonies of tens or hundreds of thousands of individuals.  What’s exciting about this rainbow-colored figure? If you were expecting ant evolution to…

In the comments, Eric Eaton makes an observation: I’m left wondering (just a little) why Alex has such a beef with Dr. Wilson. This is not the first post taking a jab at Wilson, so while Alex makes an excellent point, I’m also sensing some underlying issues here…. Eric is right there’s an issue.  It…

Our first paper from the Beetle Tree of Life study has been published. Here’s the citation: Wild, A. L. & Maddison, D. R. 2008. Evaluating nuclear protein-coding genes for phylogenetic utility in beetles. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2008.05.023 My co-author David Maddison once summarized the point of the paper as “Hey guys! New genes!”