The Rise and Fall of Species
How long does a species exist, and what factors determine this time length? Despite substantial advances in evolutionary biology in the last decade, the answer to this apparently simple question remains largely unknown. In this project, we will i) build a Dated Tree of Life for all monocot plant species for which there are publicly available DNA sequences; ii) analyse these dated trees and all publicly available fossil records to estimate how long species have lasted in the past; iii) identify which major biotic and abiotic factors determine rates of species formation (speciation) and disappearance (extinction); and thereby iv) identify which major taxa and geographical regions have been most affected by past climate change. In a previous project (SNIC 2015/1-494), we established a proof-of-concept of our workflow using all mammal species, which allowed us to test the feasibility and scalability of our approach and to dubug and further develop our tools. A publication about our analyses on mammal species will be prepared. In the continuation of the project, we aim to tackle a larger clade: the monocots, representing the next step towards global-level analysis including all known species.