DONOGHUE, MICHAEL J. Harvard University Herbaria, 22 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CN 06511. - Frontiers in phylogenetic biology.
Although tremendous progress has been made in resolving phylogenetic
relationships, phylogenetic biology is still in its infancy, and we
will see major breakthroughs both in phylogenetic analysis and in the
use of phylogenetic trees in solving problems. For the last decade
much of the effort of the plant systematics community has been focused
on a relatively few phylogenetic problems and genes. This has been
productive, but extensions are needed in several directions. Much
more attention is needed to the smallest phylogenetic problems,
involving very closely related lineages. This will require new
markers and new coalescence-oriented theory. In studies of character
evolution and rates of diversification we should take better advantage
of the phylogenetic knowledge that is accumulating. Methods for
piecing together this information need more attention, as do methods
for inferring character changes and historical correlations. I also
imagine a new set of links between phylogeny and ecology, focused
especially on the structure and assembly of ecological communities.
These links will leverage the methods of historical biogeorgaphy and
co-diversification, but require a variety of new models and tools.
Finally, in view of the unprecedented rate of clade discovery, and the
increasing desire to make use of phylogenetic hypotheses, we
desperately need new approaches to nomenclature and to databasing
Key words: character evolution, community ecology, nomenclature, phylogeny, systematics