DEALING WITH INCOMPLETE TAXON SAMPLING AND DIVERSIFICATION OF A LARGE CLADE OF MUSHROOM-FORMING FUNGI

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Abstract

The absence of an adequate fossil record can hinder understanding the process of diversification that underlies the evolutionary history of a given group. In such cases, investigators have used ultrametric trees derived from molecular data from extant taxa to gain insights into processes of speciation and extinction over time. Inadequate taxon sampling, however, impairs such inferences. In this study, we use simulations to investigate the effect of incomplete taxon sampling on the accumulation of lineages through time for a clade of mushroom-forming fungi, the Hebelomateae. To achieve complete taxon sampling, we use a new Bayesian approach that incorporates substitute lineages to estimate diversification rates. Unlike many studies of animals and plants, we find no evidence of a slowdown in speciation. This indicates the Hebelomateae has not undergone an adaptive radiation. Rather, these fungi have evolved under a relatively constant rate of diversification since their most recent common ancestor, which we date back to the Eocene. The estimated net diversification rate (0.08–0.19 spp./lineage/Ma) is comparable with that of many plants and animals. We suggest that continuous diversification in the Hebelomateae has been facilitated by climatic and vegetation changes throughout the Cenozoic. We also caution against modeling multiple genes as a single partition when performing phylogenetic dating analyses.

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