Species delimitation for southern African Silene (Caryophyllaceae)
Title: Species delimitation for southern African Silene (Caryophyllaceae)
DNr: NAISS 2023/22-982
Project Type: NAISS Small Compute
Principal Investigator: Ntwai Moiloa <ntwai.moiloa@bioenv.gu.se>
Affiliation: Göteborgs universitet
Duration: 2023-09-21 – 2024-10-01
Classification: 10612


Despite the central role of the concept of species in biology, no universal consensus has been reached on its exact meaning. The nomenclatural rules of taxonomy govern the formal requirements for naming species, which is in this context is a categorical rank among others, albeit given central status. Recently, the multispecies coalescent (MSC) has gained much attention in phylogenetics. In the MSC model, “species” has a precise mathematical meaning, which enable researchers to classify individuals into such species with a maximal fit to the model. However, it is unclear how robust the simple assumptions of the model are to violations, and even so, it is possible that species currently named by Linnaean binomials are much more inclusive than MSC species. In this project, we will explore this relationship in a group of southern African species of Silene. In the southern African context, the indigenous Silene have recently been taxonomically revised and classified on the basis of the morphological characters (Manning & Goldblatt, 2012a). However, the phylogenetic position as well species relationships among the southern African groups remain unexplored. Therefore, this project aims to explore the current taxonomy of southern African Silene using innovative NGS sequencing techniques and species delimitation methods.