A roadmap for global synthesis of the plant tree of life

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

DOI

  • Wolf L. Eiserhardt
  • Alexandre Antonelli, Gothenburg Bot Garden
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  • Dominic J. Bennett, Gothenburg Bot Garden
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  • Laura R. Botigue, Royal Bot Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
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  • J. Gordon Burleigh, Univ Florida, University of Florida, State University System of Florida, Dept Biol
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  • Steven Dodsworth, Royal Bot Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
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  • Brian J. Enquist, Santa Fe Inst, The Santa Fe Institute
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  • Felix Forest, Royal Bot Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
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  • Jan T. Kim, Royal Bot Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
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  • Alexey M. Kozlov, Heidelberg Inst Theoret Studies, Sci Comp Grp
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  • Ilia J. Leitch, Royal Bot Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
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  • Brian S. Maitner, Univ Arizona, University of Arizona, Dept Ecol & Evolutionary Biol
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  • Siavash Mirarab, Univ Calif San Diego, University of California System, University of California San Diego, Dept Elect & Comp Engn
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  • William H. Piel, Natl Univ Singapore, National University of Singapore, Yale NUS Coll
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  • Oscar A. Perez-Escobar, Royal Bot Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
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  • Lisa Pokorny, Royal Bot Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
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  • Carsten Rahbek, Imperial Coll London, Imperial College London, Ctr Environm Policy, Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen
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  • Brody Sandel
  • Stephen A. Smith, Univ Michigan, University of Michigan, University of Michigan System, Dept Ecol & Evolutionary Biol
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  • Alexandros Stamatakis, Karlsruhe Inst Technol, Helmholtz Association, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Inst Theoret Informat
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  • Rutger A. Vos, Inst Biol Leiden, Leiden University
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  • Tandy Warnow, Univ Illinois, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois System, Dept Comp Sci
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  • William J. Baker, Royal Bot Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Providing science and society with an integrated, up-to-date, high quality, open, reproducible and sustainable plant tree of life would be a huge service that is now coming within reach. However, synthesizing the growing body of DNA sequence data in the public domain and disseminating the trees to a diverse audience are often not straightforward due to numerous informatics barriers. While big synthetic plant phylogenies are being built, they remain static and become quickly outdated as new data are published and tree-building methods improve. Moreover, the body of existing phylogenetic evidence is hard to navigate and access for non-experts. We propose that our community of botanists, tree builders, and informaticians should converge on a modular framework for data integration and phylogenetic analysis, allowing easy collaboration, updating, data sourcing and flexible analyses. With support from major institutions, this pipeline should be re-run at regular intervals, storing trees and their metadata long-term. Providing the trees to a diverse global audience through user-friendly front ends and application development interfaces should also be a priority. Interactive interfaces could be used to solicit user feedback and thus improve data quality and to coordinate the generation of new data. We conclude by outlining a number of steps that we suggest the scientific community should take to achieve global phylogenetic synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Volume105
Issue3
Pages (from-to)614-622
Number of pages9
ISSN0002-9122
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

    Research areas

  • angiosperms, bryophytes, GenBank, cyberinfrastructure, land plant phylogeny, megaphylogenies, phylogenomics, phyloinformatics, pteridophytes, sampling, LAND PLANTS, GENE TREES, SYNONYMOUS SUBSTITUTIONS, SPECIES TREES, PHYLOGENIES, INFERENCE, GENOME, DIVERSITY, INFORMATION, DATABASE

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