New phylogeny of Calcaronea, high levels of homoplasy
Added on 2018-06-15 08:48:07 by Cárdenas, Paco
Alvizu, A., Eilertsen, M. H., Xavier, J. R. & Rapp, H. T. (2018) Increased taxon sampling provides new insights into the phylogeny and evolution of the subclass Calcaronea (Porifera, Calcarea). Organisms Diversity & Evolution.
Calcaronean sponges are acknowledged to be taxonomically difficult, and generally, molecular data does not support the current morphology-based classification. In addition, molecular markers that have been successfully employed in other sponge taxa (e.g., COI mtDNA) have proven challenging to amplify due to the characteristics of calcarean mitochondrial genomes. A short fragment of the 28S rRNA gene (C-region) was recently proposed as the most phylogenetically informative marker to be used as a DNA barcode for calcareous sponges. In this study, the C-region and a fragment of the 18S rRNA gene were sequenced for a wide range of calcareous taxa, mainly from the subclass Calcaronea. The resulting dataset includes the most comprehensive taxon sampling of Calcaronea to date, and the inclusion of multiple specimens per species allowed us to evaluate the performance of both markers, as barcoding markers. 18S proved to be highly conserved within Calcaronea and does not have sufficient signal to resolve phylogenetic relationships within the subclass. Although the C-region does not exhibit a “proper” barcoding gap, it provides good phylogenetic resolution for calcaronean sponges. The resulting phylogeny supports previous findings that the current classification of the subclass Calcaronea is highly artificial, and with high levels of homoplasy. Furthermore, the close relationship between the order Baerida and the genus Achramorpha suggest that the order Baerida should be abandoned. Although the C-region currently represents the best available marker for phylogenetic and barcoding studies in Calcaronea, it is necessary to develop additional molecular markers to improve the classification within this subclass.