The mission of AmphibiaTree is the realization of a comprehensive phylogeny of all taxa of extant and extinct amphibians. The general goals are to:
- Gather data from diverse sources.
- Analyze and integrate these data in novel ways.
- Enhance the skill sets of the community of participants, and produce new and integrated informatics resources.
The sources of Data include characters from both genomics and phenotype, distributional and biodiversity data, and information from resources such as natural history collections.
Biodiversity.—The diversity of life gives richness to AmphibiaTree. Published and new, unpublished information will be used to populate pages of AmphibiaWeb (amphibiaweb.org). We will also sample amphibian hotspots to provide a complete assessment of biodiversity.
Genomics.—Genomic data will be collected at two levels: (1) a large sample of species--as many as possible--using 12S/16S mtDNA, and (2) a restricted taxon sample using selected nuclear genes.
Evolutionary Morphology.—The phenotype is historically the source of data about diversity through geological time. Areas of emphasis will include fossils, development, and evolutionary morphology including use of computed tomography.
Analysis of these data sources will focus on integration and interpretation:
Phylogenetics and Integration of Datasets.—Analysis of relationships within and among the groups, as well as relationships to extinct Paleozoic taxa. Molecular data will be integrated with nonmolecular data and congruence will be assessed.
Computational Biology.—Nascent technologies and algorithms, and new models of phyloinformatics will be applied to systematic analysis.
Molecular Evolution.—Collection of genomic datasets will further studies of molecular evolution such as rRNA secondary structure and gene order.
In addition to the phylogenies that will be produced, the Product component focuses on human and informatics resources:
Human Resources.—We emphasize cross-training and collaboration. We will provide opportunities for research collaboration so that individuals, especially graduate students, can travel to interact with AmphibiaTree personnel.
Informatics Web Resources.—This aspect has three goals: (1) Populating AmphibiaWeb with data from new, synthetic analyses, (2) Updating of the Tree of Life web pages for current and alternative hypotheses of relationships, (3) Integration of the Tree of Life and AmphibiaWeb through use of common data fields.