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Title: Evolution of Western Palaearctic oak gallwasp communities
Author: Challis, Richard
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis has three major aims: (i) to utilise phylogenetic approaches to address a specific set of phylogeographic questions; (ii) to develop bioinformatics methods; and (iii) to improve understanding of the evolutionary history of the Western Palaearctic oak gallwasps and oak inquilines. A review of the literature on Western Palaearctic phylogeography reveals that relatively few studies address the aims of longitudinal phylogeography. Within these studies, an emerging pattern of eastern origin of widespread Western Palaearctic taxa is identified and further investigated using the oak gallwasps as a model system. Eastern origins are identified in three widespread species of oak gallwasp, with a common timescale of origin approximately corresponding to the onset of the Pleistocene. Model-based trait mapping techniques are adopted for phylogeographic reconstruction, and a model reduction technique is developed that allows directions of longitudinal range expansion to be inferred. Given the potential importance of longitudinal phylogeographic concordance, a direct comparative method is proposed to allow quantitative comparison of intraspecific phylogenies. A further method is developed to allow consistent sets of molecular taxa to be identified across multiple genes, allowing DNA bar-coding to be applied to identify taxa in situations where data are missing for some genes in some samples, which should facilitate longitudinal phylogeography where morphological taxonomy is unresolved. This thesis resolves some of the outstanding issues in the oak gallwasp and oak inquiline research. Cryptic lineages are identified in areas to the east of Europe, highlighting the importance of these areas as cradles of oak gallwasp diversity. The potential for human activity to alter longitudinal phylogeographic patterns is demonstrated for the oak gallwasp Andricus kollari, whose gals were historically important in trade. The scale of this trade is illustrated by the transfer of an entire phylogeographic clade into the UK from its region of origin to the east of the Mediterranean. Molecular taxonomy of the oak inquiline Synergini is shown to be inconsistent with the current morphological taxonomy, which will require extensive revision.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available