Replicate Phylogenies and Post-Glacial Range Expansion of the Pitcher-Plant Mosquito, Wyeomyia smithii, in North America

Clayton Merz, Julian M. Catchen, Victor Hanson-Smith, Kevin J. Emerson, William E. Bradshaw, Christina M. Holzapfel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Herein we tested the repeatability of phylogenetic inference based on high throughput sequencing by increased taxon sampling using our previously published techniques in the pitcher-plant mosquito, Wyeomyia smithii in North America. We sampled 25 natural populations drawn from different localities nearby 21 previous collection localities and used these new data to construct a second, independent phylogeny, expressly to test the reproducibility of phylogenetic patterns. Comparison of trees between the two data sets based on both maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood with Bayesian posterior probabilities showed close correspondence in the grouping of the most southern populations into clear clades. However, discrepancies emerged, particularly in the middle of W. smithii's current range near the previous maximum extent of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, especially concerning the most recent common ancestor to mountain and northern populations. Combining all 46 populations from both studies into a single maximum parsimony tree and taking into account the post-glacial historical biogeography of associated flora provided an improved picture of W. smithii's range expansion in North America. In a more general sense, we propose that extensive taxon sampling, especially in areas of known geological disruption is key to a comprehensive approach to phylogenetics that leads to biologically meaningful phylogenetic inference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere72262
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 6 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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