A comprehensive kelp phylogeny sheds light on the evolution of an ecosystem.

08:00 EDT 10th April 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "A comprehensive kelp phylogeny sheds light on the evolution of an ecosystem."

Reconstructing phylogenetic topologies and divergence times is essential for inferring the timing of radiations, the appearance of adaptations, and the historical biogeography of key lineages. In temperate marine ecosystems, kelps (Laminariales) drive productivity and form essential habitat but an incomplete understanding of their phylogeny has limited our ability to infer their evolutionary origins and the spatial and temporal patterns of their diversification. Here, we reconstruct the diversification of habitat-forming kelps using a global genus-level phylogeny inferred primarily from organellar genome datasets, and investigate the timing of kelp radiation. We resolve several important phylogenetic features, including relationships among the morphologically simple kelp families and the broader radiation of complex kelps, demonstrating that the initial radiation of the latter resulted from an increase in speciation rate around the Eocene-Oligocene boundary. This burst in speciation rate is consistent with a possible role of recent climatic cooling in triggering the kelp radiation and pre-dates the origin of benthic-foraging carnivores. Historical biogeographical reconstructions point to a northeast Pacific origin of complex kelps, with subsequent colonization of new habitats likely playing an important role in driving their ecological diversification. We infer that complex morphologies associated with modern kelp forests (e.g. branching, pneumatocysts) evolved several times over the past 15-20 MY, highlighting the importance of morphological convergence in establishing modern upright kelp forests. Our phylogenomic findings provide new insights into the geographical and ecological proliferation of kelps and provide a timeline along which feedbacks between kelps and their food-webs could have shaped the structure of temperate ecosystems.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Molecular phylogenetics and evolution
ISSN: 1095-9513


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A genus of BROWN ALGAE in the family Lessoniaceae, and one of the major forms of KELP. The species Macrocystis pyrifera, also known as giant kelp, is the largest of the marine algae.

The interdisciplinary science that studies evolutionary biology, including the origin and evolution of the major elements required for life, their processing in the interstellar medium and in protostellar systems. This field also includes the study of chemical evolution and the subsequent interactions between evolving biota and planetary evolution as well as the field of biology that deals with the study of extraterrestrial life.

Large, robust forms of brown algae (PHAEOPHYCEAE) in the order Laminariales. They are a major component of the lower intertidal and sublittoral zones on rocky coasts in temperate and polar waters. Kelp, a kind of SEAWEED, usually refers to species in the genera LAMINARIA or MACROCYSTIS, but the term may also be used for species in FUCUS or Nereocystis.

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