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Scientia-ex-machina: explicit biogeographic inferences and the phylogenomic age

The nice thing about huge datasets is that they can give quick results, often trivial to interpret. In phylogenomics: a fully resolved, unambigously supported phylogenetic tree. The not-so-nice thing is that downstream analyses using these fully resolved trees, such as ancestral area analyses, may be utter nonsense because the experimental set-up was fundamentally flawed to start with. A post-review of Areces-Berazain et al. (2021), including the results from Li et al. (2019) and Yu et al. (2022).

Searching for a research object? Why not maples!

In course of my career as a professional scientist, I had to leave a lot of threads open. Mainly, because I need to make sure to fund my own position, which consumed 80–90% of the money the mighty research councils granted me. One easy pick for those that have money to do molecular research are the western Eurasian super-species of Acer sect. Acer.

Oaks systematics and complete plastome trees

We are living in the era of Big Data. You just need the money and/or workforce, and you drown in data. As consequence an increasing amount of researchers study complete plastomes of organisms, they have little idea about. The oaks (Quercus; beech family: Fagaceae) are becoming a prominent example.

Monophyletic species

Probably the most common line one can read in phylogenetic papers scratching at the surface of evolution is "species xxx is not monophyletic" or "supports species yyy as monophyletic". While appearing to be trivial, clade = monophylum, such statements are often naive, too often incomprehensive or, occasionally, just wrong. A clarification.

A fully resolved, and perfectly misleading, species tree

The ultimate promise of phylogenomics is to get a fully resolved species tree: a tree, where the individuals finely sort per species, and where all branches, especially the deepest ones, have high or, better, unambiguous support. A look behind such a tree, Jiang et al.'s (2021) Tree of Beeches.

Die Wahl der Qual

In meinem Heimatland steht mal wieder das 4-jährliche Abnicken der Legislative an: die Bundestagswahl 2021. Wieder mal Zeit, den Wahl-O-Mat der bpb zu visualisieren, und in allgemeineren Kontext zu stellen.

Wahl der (H)Ampelmännchen

Diesen Sonntag wird in meinen beiden Heimatländern gewählt: Rheinland-Pfalz (meinem Geburtsland) und Baden-Württemberg (meinem Zweitland, bevor die DFG mich ins schwedische Exil schickte). Zeit die Wahl-O-Maten der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung zu vernetzen.