New paper in Proceedings of Royal Society B


Phylogenomics reveals deep relationships and diversification within phylactolaemate bryozoans.

Saadi AJBibermair J, Kocot KM, Roberts NG, Hirose M, Calcino ABaranyi C, Chaichana R, Wood TS & Schwaha T. 2022.
 Proc. R. Soc. B.2892022150420221504 Published online 9 November 2022


Bryozoans are mostly sessile colonial invertebrates that inhabit all kinds of aquatic ecosystems. Extant bryozoan species fall into two clades with one of them, Phylactolaemata, being the only exclusively freshwater clade. Phylogenetic relationships within the class Phylactolaemata have long been controversial owing to their limited distinguishable characteristics that reflect evolutionary relationships. Here, we present the first phylogenomic analysis of Phylactolaemata using transcriptomic data combined with dense taxon sampling of six families to better resolve the interrelationships and to estimate divergence time. Using maximum-likelihood and Bayesian inference approaches, we recovered a robust phylogeny for Phylactolaemata in which the interfamilial relationships are fully resolved. We show Stephanellidae is the sister taxon of all other phylactolaemates and confirm that Lophopodidae represents the second offshoot within the phylactolaemate tree. Plumatella fruticosa clearly falls outside Plumatellidae as previous investigations have suggested, and instead clusters with Pectinatellidae and Cristatellidae as the sister taxon of Fredericellidae. Our results demonstrate that cryptic speciation is very likely in F. sultana and in two species of Plumatella (P. repens and P. casmiana). Divergence time estimates show that Phylactolaemata appeared at the end of the Ediacaran and started to diverge in the Silurian, although confidence intervals were large for most nodes. The radiation of most extant phylactolaemate families occurred mainly in the Palaeogene and Neogene highlighting post-extinction diversification.