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Abstract Detail

Recent Topics Posters

Hermsen, Elizabeth J. [1], Gandolfo, Maria A. [2].

A Planned Database for Vetted Fossil Calibrations.

Studies using the ages of fossils to calibrate the dating of divergences on molecular phylogenetic trees are becoming increasingly prevalent, and the results of such studies increasingly influential in reconstructing the evolutionary history of extant plant clades. One important facet of such analyses is identifying appropriate fossils to use to calibrate nodes in molecular phylogenies, i.e., fossils whose systematic affinities have been adequately demonstrated and whose age is well established. For investigators unfamiliar with the paleobotanical and geological literature, however, extracting the necessary information to evaluate a candidate fossil calibration point can be daunting. For paleobotanists, on the other hand, spending the many hours it may take to review the literature or even visit museum collections to identify the best fossils to constrain nodes within a particular tree may not seem worthwhile if the results of that effort are to be buried in the fine print of a Materials and Methods section, appendix, or on-line supplement. In order to address these problems, members of the "Synthesizing and Databasing Fossil Calibrations: Divergence Dating and Beyond" working group - a group coordinated through the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center - are planning to launch a database and publication series through Palaeontologica Electronica with the express purpose of: 1) providing a forum, the Fossil Calibrations Series, where paleontologists can publish peer-reviewed papers making recommendations concerning which fossils to use to constrain the ages of particular nodes in the tree of life, and 2) providing a searchable database where systematists can look up recommended calibration points for groups of interest. Each vetted calibration point will have to meet a rigorous set of guidelines to insure its reliability and to help investigators apply it to the best node possible in their analyses, using the most accurate and current date available. We anticipate that paleobotanists may wish to contribute to this database in conjunction with publication of a new and significant fossil find, after revision of the fossil record of a given group, or in coordination with a molecular systematic study as a complementary paper that will be cited to justify use of particular calibration points. This poster will provide more information on the proposed guidelines and plans for the publication series and database.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Cornell University, Department of Plant Biology, 412 Mann Library Building , Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA
2 - Cornell University, L. H. BAILEY HORTORIUM, 410 Mann Library Building, ITHACA, NY, 14853-4301, USA

molecular dating
on-line database.

Presentation Type: Recent Topics Poster
Session: P
Location: Battelle South/Convention Center
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PRT013
Abstract ID:1306

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