Molecular and morphological systematics of the Ellisellidae (Coelenterata: Octocorallia): Parallel evolution in a globally distributed family of octocorals

Bilewitch, Jaret P., Ekins, Merrick, Hooper, John and Degnan, Sandie M. (2014) Molecular and morphological systematics of the Ellisellidae (Coelenterata: Octocorallia): Parallel evolution in a globally distributed family of octocorals. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 73 1: 106-118. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2014.01.023


Author Bilewitch, Jaret P.
Ekins, Merrick
Hooper, John
Degnan, Sandie M.
Title Molecular and morphological systematics of the Ellisellidae (Coelenterata: Octocorallia): Parallel evolution in a globally distributed family of octocorals
Journal name Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1055-7903
1095-9513
Publication date 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.ympev.2014.01.023
Open Access Status
Volume 73
Issue 1
Start page 106
End page 118
Total pages 13
Place of publication Maryland Heights, MO United States
Publisher Academic Press Inc.
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Subject 1105 Dentistry
1312 Molecular Biology
1311 Genetics
Abstract The octocorals of the Ellisellidae constitute a diverse and widely distributed family with subdivisions into genera based on colonial growth forms. Branching patterns are repeated in several genera and congeners often display region-specific variations in a given growth form. We examined the systematic patterns of ellisellid genera and the evolution of branching form diversity using molecular phylogenetic and ancestral morphological reconstructions. Six of eight included genera were found to be polyphyletic due to biogeographical incompatibility with current taxonomic assignments and the creation of at least six new genera plus several reassignments among existing genera is necessary. Phylogenetic patterns of diversification of colony branching morphology displayed a similar transformation order in each of the two primary ellisellid clades, with a sea fan form estimated as the most-probable common ancestor with likely origins in the Indo-Pacific region. The observed parallelism in evolution indicates the existence of a constraint on the genetic elements determining ellisellid colonial morphology. However, the lack of correspondence between levels of genetic divergence and morphological diversity among genera suggests that future octocoral studies should focus on the role of changes in gene regulation in the evolution of branching patterns.
Keyword Ancestral morphologies
Branching evolution
Molecular systematics
Morphological diversification
Octocorallia
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
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