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Split Diversity: Measuring and Optimizing Biodiversity Using Phylogenetic Split Networks


About 20 years ago the concepts of phylogenetic diversity and phylogenetic split networks were separately introduced in conservation biology and evolutionary biology, respectively. While it has been widely recognized that biodiversity assessment should better take into account the phylogenetic tree of life, it has also been widely acknowledged that phylogenetic networks are more appropriate for phylogenetic analysis in the presence of hybridization, horizontal gene transfer, or contradicting trees among genomic loci. Here, we aim to combine phylogenetic diversity and networks into one concept, split diversity (SD), which properly measures biodiversity for conflicting phylogenetic signals. Moreover, we reformulate well-known conservation questions under the SD framework and present computational methods to solve these, in general, computationally intractable questions. Notably, integer programming, a technique widely used to solve many real-life problems, serves as a general and efficient strategy that delivers optimal solutions to many biodiversity optimization problems. We finally discuss future directions for the new concept.

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Book Section/Chapter
Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Title of Book
Biodiversity Conservation and Phylogenetic Systematics
Page Range
pp. 173-195
November 2016
Official URL
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University of Vienna

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