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Abstract Detail

Integrative species delimitation: incorporating multiple types of data

Zapata, Felipe [1].

Mind the gap: species delimitation using morphological data.

In the last fifteen years, systematics has witnessed two important conceptual and methodological advances in the topic of species delimitation. First, clarifying the distinction between the ontology of species and the operational criteria that are used for its empirical delimitation has provided a solid conceptual framework for integrating different lines of evidence to assessing species boundaries. Second, the ease of obtaining large amounts of data (e.g., multilocus datasets, global climate layers data) relevant to evaluating species boundaries along with major advances in statistical modeling (e.g., coalescent theory, ecological niche modeling) have fostered the development of a wide rage of methods for species delimitation. However, there has been relatively little recent work on quantitative methods that use morphological data for species delimitation even though morphology is almost always readily available and, more importantly, the vast majority of species limits are still inferred, at least initially, based on analyses of patterns of morphological variation. In this talk, I will present a recently developed approach that uses continuous morphological measurements and spatial/geographic information to evaluate hypothesis of species boundaries. Specifically, this approach can help systematists to addresses two common issues that arise when analyzing patterns of variation in morphological data: i) how to infer whether there is a morphological gap separating two species, and ii) how to assess whether a morphological gap interpreted as a species boundary can be alternatively explained as geographic variation within a species. I will use real-world data sets of the kind typically available to systematists to illustrate how this method can be used and integrated with other lines of evidence to evaluate hypotheses of species limits. This approach can increase the transparency and consistency of taxonomic decisions based on morphology, thus contributing to integrative approaches for species delimitation.

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1 - Brown University, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 80 Waterman Street, Box G-W , Providence, RI, 02912, USA

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Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: C1
Location: Delaware C/Hyatt
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 9:30 AM
Number: C1002
Abstract ID:970

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