"Why poorly known taxa are critical to understanding animal evolution"
Abstract: We know much more about a small set of animal species than we do about the millions of others. We have learned a great deal from these intensively studied species, and there is sometimes a perception that the goal of working with poorly known taxa is to just fill in the holes. There is, however, growing evidence that some broad conclusions about general patterns in animal diversity suffer from ascertainment biases resulting from our very sparse sampling across species of genomic, functional genomic, developmental, and morphological data. As we learn more about understudied taxa, it is likely that our understanding of animal diversity and evolution won't just become more detailed, it will change in fundamental ways. This talk will explore the structure of these ascertainment biases, how they affect the questions we focus on, what we can do about them, and several case studies that show the value of better understanding poorly known animal taxa and traits.
Host: OEB Graduate Students