Delimitation of species based on network data

Theme: Biodiversity & Ecology

Primary Supervisor:

Christian Hennig

Statistical Science, UCL

Christian Hennig's Profile Picture
Additional Supervisor(s):

Project Description:

Species are the fundamental units in biology. Therefore the delimitation of species is of basic importance. Molecular genetic data from a set of individuals can be used to estimate a phylogenetic network, summarising and visualising the genetic relations between the individuals.

The proposed project is about using statistical cluster analysis techniques to find out about the number and the delimitation of different species among individuals based on phylogenetic networks.

This involves the adaptation of various clustering methods to this problem and the development and application of biological criteria that help to decide between different statistical solutions. Data are available from the Natural History Museum and the Zoology Museum of the University of Hamburg.

Policy Impact of Research:

Programmes for protecting biodiversity by conservation rely heavily on species delimitation; impact will be on planning and analysis of such efforts.

Medical therapies often depend on the correct identification of parasites or germs, which is governed by species classification.

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