NSF-PEET project in Systematic Bryology

Missouri Botanical Garden



Phylogenetic Analyses



We collaborated with the Shaw lab at Duke University to investigate monophyly of the traditionally defined Meteoriaceae.  We added approximately 80 taxa to the data set described by Buck et al. (2000a & b); the expanded data set includes 150 pleurocarpous taxa (plus eight acrocarpous and cladocarpous taxa as outgroups) sequenced for two cpDNA loci: rps4 and trnL-trnF.  Our results agree with suggestions made on the basis of morphology (Buck 1994, 1998, Ignatov 1999) that the Meteoriaceae sensu Brotherus (1925) are polyphyletic.  From these results, based on these two gene regions, the tradiational concept of the Meteoriaceae is not supported. Instead the affinities of the genera are as follows: some near the Brachytheciaceae, some near the Lembophyllaceae and a core group that represents a monophyletic Meteoriaceae (Fig. 1).




Clearly, the traditional Meteoriaceae groups together taxa based on convergent morphological characters apparently related to shifts between terrestrial and epiphytic habitats.  In agreement with arguments made by Buck (1994) based on morphology, Pilotrichella s.s is closely related to Weymouthia, Lembophyllum, and Neobarbella in the Lembophyllaceae.  Bootstrap support for the family is not strong (Fig. 1), however the groupings seen are present in the strict consensus of all most parsimonious trees.



Fig. 1.  One MPT tree from analyses of rps4 and trnL-trnF sequences of pleurocarpous moss.  Numbers in parentheses indicate bootstrap support for selected families.  Arrows indicate placement of taxa traditionally included in the Leskeaceae, Anomodontaceae, or Thuidiaceae.



One of our PEET students, Michelle Price, spent three months in the Shaw lab working on these phylogenetic analyses and also on molecular studies directly related to her dissertation topic, a systematic revision of the dicranaceous genus, Holomitrium (Link to: Holomitrium project). 


Ms. Price obtained valuable information that complements her monographic work on Holomitrium, including species-level phylogeographic data that provide evidence of vicariance between Old- and New World populations, and an investigation of the phylogenetic relationship between Holomitrium and close allies in the subfamily Dicranoideae (Dicranaceae). Link to projects on Eucamptodontopsis and Schliephackea, and Macrodictyum.



Brotherus, V.F. 1924-1925.  Musci (Laubmoose).  Spezieller Teil.  In A. Engler (ed.), Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien, ed. 2 10, 11.  Wilhelm Englemann, Leipzig.

Buck, W. R. 1994.  A new attempt at understanding the Meteoriaceae.  J. Hattori Bot. Lab. 75: 51-72.

_____. 1998.  Pleurocarpous mosses of the West Indies.  Mem. NY Bot. Gard. 82: 1-400.

_____, B.G. Goffinet, & A.J. Shaw. 2000a.  Testing morphological concepts of orders of pleurocarpous mosses (Bryophyta) using phylogenetic reconstructions based on trnL-trnF and rps4 sequences.  Mol. Phyl. Evol. 16: 180-198.

_____. 2000b.  Novel relationships in pleuropcarpous mosses as revealed by cpDNA sequences.  The Bryologist 103: 774-789.

Ignatov, M.S. 1999.  Bryophyte flora of the Hunan Peninsula, Papau, New Guinea.  XLIII. On the pseudoparaphyllia in Brachytheciaceae and Meteoriaceae (Musci).  Acta Bot. Fenn. 165: 73-83.



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Web page prepared by Michelle Price - March, 2001