Abstract Detail


Kennedy, Helen [1], Bruhl, Jeremy [2], Crayn, Darren [3], Rose, Andrew [2], Ian, Telford [2].

An integrative taxonomic revision of Melichrus R.Br. (Ericaceae) reveals several new species in botanically megadiverse eastern Australia.

Melichrus R.Br. is an Australian endemic genus of shrubs in the heath and heather family (Ericaceae) with just six currently described species, all of which are confined to eastern Australia. This genus has received very little taxonomic study and its few treating authors have largely disagreed on species delimitation. Our research has tested species boundaries and inferred a species-level phylogeny to comprehensively describe the diversity in Melichrus for the first time. A total evidence approach to species delimitation was used, integrating morphological and molecular data, including a large SNP dataset for over 500 samples from 110 populations across eastern Australia.  Various clustering and population statistics (including spatially referenced ancestry estimation using ConStruct) based analyses were used to describe patterns of continuous and discrete variation across the genus. This variation was interpreted in the context of the results of the analysis of a large morphological dataset to produce a robust species-level taxonomy for Melichrus. A phylogeny for Melichrus was produced as part of the Genomics for Australian Plants Initiative to resolve the Australian angiosperm tree of life to species level using the Angiosperm- 353 bait set in a target-capture approach. This first look at the updated taxonomy and phylogenetics for Melichrus, reveals several new species and provides a framework for future ecological and biogeographic research. 

1 - University Of New England, Botany (S02), University Of New England, Armidale, NSW, 2351, Australia
2 - University of New England, Botany and N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium, Armidale, NSW, 2351, Australia
3 - James Cook University, Australian Tropical Herbarium, Sir Robert Norman (E2) Building, PO Box 6811, Cairns, QLD, 4870, Australia

integrative method.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: SYST II012
Abstract ID:54
Candidate for Awards:None

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