How does phylogenetic uncertainty impact biogeographic inference?

Phylogenetics and biogeography are intimately linked fields that, when integrated, aim to elucidate general principles of how and why species are distributed where they are in a comparative context. A robust phylogenetic framework is central to testing large-scale biogeographic hypotheses, but how does phylogenetic uncertainty impact biogeographic inference? Phylogenetic uncertainty can arise due to analytical factors, such as incomplete taxon sampling, or biological factors, such as incomplete lineage sorting or hybridization. Biased phylogenies may therefore lead to spurious conclusions about evolutionary relatedness and past colonization processes. More specifically, this uncertainty affects our ability to reconstruct ancestral ranges and retrace species histories and it therefore impacts phylogenetically based predictions of contemporary or future biodiversity responses to environmental change. This uncertainty is especially prevalent in groups that have radiated extensively and is particularly problematic because these taxa are key to understanding how environmental change can trigger adaptive radiation to new bioregions. In this satellite symposium, we aim to bring together researchers who study historical biogeography and future range shifts to discuss how phylogenetic uncertainty impacts biogeographic inference. We will use this opportunity to discuss new methods that either improve phylogenetic resolution or allow us to account for phylogenetic uncertainty in this work.

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