Friday, October 8, 2010

New Issue of Systematic Biology

The October issue of Systematic Biology is online, and there are a few really interesting articles to check out. First of all, the cover image (image stolen from Syst. Biol. website) comes from a paper by Parfrey et al. that seeks to resolve the Eukaryotic portion of the tree of life. One issue with many phylogenetic analyses at this scale is the shape of the data matrix - many characters, sometimes whole genomes, but very few taxa, typically representing "key lineages" in the tree. Parfrey et al. use sequences from a moderate number of genes (16) across many lineages (>400). They have some success in resolving the tree - in particular, they are able to place a few old enigmatic taxa in the tree - but some branches are still unresolved.

Another paper worth checking out is a short note by Folmer Bokma that represents one of the first applications of Approximate Bayesian Computation in comparative methods. If you haven't heard of ABC yet - you will. There is another remarkable aspect of the Bokma paper - let me just quote the funding section:

The author awards SEK 10,000 to the first who provides an analytical form of φ.

According to google currency converter that's about USD $1500, which would just about pay for that R. A. Fisher tattoo you've been wanting.

On another note, please watch this:


Luke J. Harmon said...

I forgot to add that people should also check out the book review section - i'd like to hear reactions to the review of Nelson and Platnik.

Glor said...

I'm still waiting for my paper copy to arrive. Did Jack get priority to delivery to Idaho as a perk of editorship:)

Glor said...

Finally got my paper copy. I thought the review of Nelson and Platnik did a nice job of summarizing the major features of this important work. I'd like to hear more about the 'hardening' of the vicariance school of biogeography and whether the search for general area cladograms may have gone too far.

Glor said...

Upon further review of my paper copy of Systematic Biology, I've noticed that the table of contents is wrong. For example, a paper by Wiens et al. on squamate phylogenetics is listed in the table of contents as being on pages 573-588. In reality, the issue includes a paper by Huang et al. on species trees at 573-583. It looks like the Wiens paper hasn't been printed yet, but is available on-line: