Background: Understanding the phylogenetic relationships among species is one of the main goals of systematic biology. Simultaneously, credible phylogenetic hypotheses are often the first requirement for unveiling the evolutionary history of traits and for modelling macroevolutionary processes. However, many non-model taxa have not yet been sequenced to an extent such that statistically well-supported molecular phylogenies can be constructed for these purposes. Here, we use a genome-skimming approach to extract sequence information for 15 mitochondrial and 2 ribosomal operon genes from the cheilostome bryozoan family, Adeonidae, Busk, 1884, whose current systematics is based purely on morphological traits. The members of the Adeonidae are, like all cheilostome bryozoans, benthic, colonial, marine organisms. Adeonids are also geographically widely-distributed, often locally common, and are sometimes important habitat-builders.
Results: We successfully genome-skimmed 35 adeonid colonies representing 6 genera (Adeona, Adeonellopsis, Bracebridgia, Adeonella, Laminopora and Cucullipora). We also contributed 16 new, circularised mitochondrial genomes to the eight previously published for cheilostome bryozoans. Using the aforementioned mitochondrial and ribosomal genes, we inferred the relationships among these 35 samples. Contrary to some previous suggestions, the Adeonidae is a robustly supported monophyletic clade. However, the genera Adeonella and Laminopora are in need of revision: Adeonella is polyphyletic and Laminopora paraphyletically forms a clade with some Adeonella species. Additionally, we assign a sequence clustering identity using cox1 barcoding region of 99% at the species and 83% at the genus level.
Conclusions: We provide sequence data, obtained via genome-skimming, that greatly increases the resolution of the phylogenetic relationships within the adeonids. We present a highly-supported topology based on 17 genes and substantially increase availability of circularised cheilostome mitochondrial genomes, and highlight how we can extend our pipeline to other bryozoans.
Keywords: Cheilostome bryozoans; Genome skimming; Mitogenome; Phylogeny; rRNA.