W.C. Wheeler

W.C. Wheeler
American Museum of Natural History · Division of Invertebrate Zoology

About

335
Publications
161,904
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20,337
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Introduction
W.C. Wheeler currently works at the Division of Invertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History. W.C. does research in Algorithms, Anthropological Linguistics and Systematics (Taxonomy). Their most recent publication is 'First global molecular phylogeny and biogeographical analysis of two arachnid orders (Schizomida and Uropygi) supports a tropical Pangean origin and mid‐Cretaceous diversification'.

Publications

Publications (335)
Article
Full-text available
Deciphering the evolutionary relationships of Chelicerata (arachnids, horseshoe crabs, and allied taxa) has proven notoriously difficult, due to their ancient rapid radiation and the incidence of elevated evolutionary rates in several lineages. While conflicting hypotheses prevail in morphological and molecular datasets alike, the monophyly of Arac...
Preprint
Full-text available
Deciphering the evolutionary relationships of Chelicerata (arachnids, horseshoe crabs, and allied taxa) has proven notoriously difficult, due to their ancient rapid radiation and the incidence of elevated evolutionary rates in several lineages. While conflicting hypotheses prevail in morphological and molecular datasets alike, the monophyly of Arac...
Article
Phylogenetic graph structures used in empirical and theoretical analysis have expanded beyond trees to more general directed acyclic graphs including networks and forests. Several methods to reconcile multiple such graphs are presented and discussed here, extending existing consensus and supertree techniques to form a set of phylogenetic supergraph...
Article
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True toads of the genus Rhinella are among the most common and diverse group of Neotropical anurans. These toads are widely distributed throughout South America, inhabiting a great diversity of environments and ecoregions. Currently, however, the genus is defined solely on the basis of molecular characters, and it lacks a proper diagnosis. Although...
Article
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Despite significant advances in invertebrate phylogenomics over the past decade, the higher-level phylogeny of Pycnogonida (sea spiders) remains elusive. Due to the inaccessibility of some small-bodied lineages, few phylogenetic studies have sampled all sea spider families. Previous efforts based on a handful of genes have yielded unstable tree top...
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In this paper we present a phylogenetic analysis of the treefrogs of the Boana pulchella Group with the goals of (1) providing a rigorous test its monophyly; (2) providing a test of relationships supported in previous studies; and (3) exploring the relationships of the several species not included in previous analyses. The analyses included more th...
Article
The relationships of the hyline tribe Dendropsophini remain poorly studied, with most published analyses dealing with few of the species groups of Dendropsophus. In order to test the monophyly of Dendropsophini, its genera, and the species groups currently recognized in Dendropsophus, we performed a total evidence phylogenetic analysis. The molecul...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite significant advances in invertebrate phylogenomics over the past decade, the higher-level phylogeny of Pycnogonida (sea spiders) remains elusive. This group of arthropods appeared early in the fossil record, with the oldest unambiguous fossils dating to the Silurian. Due to the inaccessibility of some small-bodied lineages, few phylogenetic...
Article
A statistical framework to infer areas of endemism from geographic distributions is proposed. This novel method is based on hidden Markov random fields (HMRFs), a type of undirected graph model commonly used in computer vision. This framework assumes areas of endemism are the states of the hidden layer of the model, whereas taxon distributions are...
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The new genus and species Myrmecicultor chihuahuensis Ramírez, Grismado, and Ubick is described and proposed as the type of the new family, Myrmecicultoridae Ramírez, Grismado, and Ubick. The species is ecribellate, with entelegyne genitalia, two tarsal claws, without claw tufts, and the males have a retrolateral palpal tibial apophysis. Some morph...
Article
The general problem of representing collections of trees as a single graph has led to many tree summary techniques. Many consensus approaches take sets of trees (either inferred as separate gene trees or gleaned from the posterior of a Bayesian analysis) and produce a single “best” tree. In scenarios where horizontal gene transfer or hybridization...
Article
Here, we define a sequence file format that allows for multi‐character elements (FASTC). The format is derived from the FASTA format and the custom alphabet format of POY4/5. The format is more general than either of these formats and can represent a broad variety of sequence‐type data. This format should be useful for analyses involving datasets e...
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Phylogenetic methods offer a promising advance for the historical study of language and cultural relationships. Applications to date, however, have been hampered by traditional approaches dependent on unfalsifiable authority statements: in this regard, historical linguistics remains in a similar position to evolutionary biology prior to the cladist...
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Gladiator Frogs (Boana) is a Neotropical group comprised of 92 species sorted into seven species groups. Herein, we present a phylogeny of the Boana semilineata species group, including all valid nominal species currently or suspected to be assigned to it- many sequenced for the first time. Parsimony and maximum likelihood analyses of two genes (16...
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Non‐equilibrium dynamics and non‐neutral processes, such as trait‐dependent dispersal, are often missing from quantitative island biogeography models despite their potential explanatory value. One of the most influential non‐equilibrium models is the taxon cycle, but it has been difficult to test its validity as a general biogeographical framework....
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We present a molecular phylogenetic analysis of the hylid tribe Hylini, with the goals of testing the monophyly of the genera Du- ellmanohyla, Isthmohyla, and Ptychohyla and providing a discussion on the monophyly of Bromeliohyla, Charadrahyla, Ecnomiohyla, Exerodonta, Megastomatohyla, and Sarcohyla. Our results indicate the paraphyly of Ptychohyla...
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Heteroptera, the true bugs, are part of the largest clade of non-holometabolous insects, the Hemiptera, and include > 42 000 described species in about 90 families. Despite progress in resolving phylogenetic relationships between and within infraorders since the first combined morphological and molecular analysis published in 1993 (29 taxa, 669 bp,...
Article
In our recent publication (Sharma et al., 2017), we tested the hypothesis that eggs attached to the legs of male Podoctidae (Opiliones, Laniatores) constituted a case of paternal care, using molecular sequence data in tandem with multiple sequence alignments to test the prediction that sequences of the eggs and the adults that carried them would in...
Article
Peloso et al. (2015: PELOSO) published a comprehensive phylogenetic study of the frog family Microhylidae, which resulted in the discovery that several taxa were not monophyletic. To remedy this, a series of nomenclatural changes were proposed (several generic synonymies and two new subfamilies named). A recent study published in this journal by Sc...
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We present a phylogenetic analysis of spiders using a dataset of 932 spider species, representing 115 families (only the family Synaphridae is unrepresented), 700 known genera, and additional representatives of 26 unidentified or undescribed genera. Eleven genera of the orders Amblypygi, Palpigradi, Schizomida and Uropygi are included as outgroups....
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The question whether taxonomic descriptions naming new animal species without type specimen(s) deposited in collections should be accepted for publication by scientific journals and allowed by the Code has already been discussed in Zootaxa (Dubois & Nemésio 2007; Donegan 2008, 2009; Nemésio 2009a–b; Dubois 2009; Gentile & Snell 2009; Minelli 2009;...
Data
This plot is not part of the published stance but derives from it. The plot shows the number of authors by geographic region (courtesy of Dr. Diego Astua).
Article
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Indo-Pacific members of the speciose and morphologically confusing group of Camponotus ants that resemble C. maculatus (FABRICIUS, 1782) have recently been the subject of a molecular phylogeny, and that analysis is used here as guidance to update the taxonomy of the Micronesian species. It is now known that Micronesian and some Melanesian specimens...
Article
A new practice in systematics, “semaphoront” coding, treats developmental stages as terminals, and it derives from Hennig's concept of the same name. Semaphoront coding has been implemented recently by Lamsdell and Selden (BMC Evol. Biol., 2013, 13:98) and Wolfe and Hegna (Cladistics, 2014, 30:366) in an effort to understand the relationships of fo...
Article
Scorpions (order Scorpiones) are unusual among arthropods, both for the extreme heteronomy of their bauplan and for the high gene family turnover exhibited in their genomes. These phenomena appear to be correlated, as two scorpion species have been shown to possess nearly twice the number of Hox genes present in most arthropods. Segmentally offset...
Article
Two commonly used heuristic approaches to the generalized tree alignment problem are compared in the context of phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data. These approaches, multiple sequence alignment + phylogenetic tree reconstruction (MSA+TR) and direct optimization (DO), are alternative heuristic procedures used to approach the nested NP-Hard o...
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Background: Many problems in comparative biology are, or are thought to be, best expressed as phylogenetic "networks" as opposed to trees. In trees, vertices may have only a single parent (ancestor), while networks allow for multiple parent vertices. There are two main interpretive types of networks, "softwired" and "hardwired." The parsimony cost...
Article
At both global and local scales, mite harvestmen (Opiliones, Cyphophthalmi) have been shown to have achieved their current global distribution strictly through vicariance. However, the implicit low dispersal capability of this group does not explain how they expand their ranges and come to occupy enormous landmasses prior to rifting. To investigate...
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Incongruence between morphological and molecular-based phylogenetic hypotheses has been reported across a wide range of taxa. Specifically, morphological and molecular hypotheses of squamate phylogeny have been consistently incongruent and have been notoriously difficult to reconcile. With the ever-rising popular view of the superiority of molecula...
Article
Sand flies in the psychodid subfamily Phlebotominae carry important human pathogens in the trypanosomatid protozoan genus Leishmania (Cupolillo). Despite the fact that hundreds of sequences for this group are now publicly available, they constitute different sets of taxa and genetic markers. Integrating these data to construct a molecular phylogeny...
Article
The segmental architecture of the arthropod head is one of the most controversial topics in the evolutionary developmental biology of arthropods. The deutocerebral (second) segment of the head is putatively homologous across Arthropoda, as inferred from the segmental distribution of the tripartite brain and the absence of Hox gene expression of thi...
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The blueberry tribe Vaccinieae (Ericaceae) is particularly diverse in South America and underwent extensive radiation in Colombia where many endemics occur. Recent fieldwork in Colombia has resulted in valuable additions to the phylogeny and as well in the discovery of morphologically noteworthy new species that need to be phylogenetically placed b...
Article
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Despite considerable progress in unravelling the phylogenetic relationships of microhylid frogs, relationships among subfamilies remain largely unstable and many genera are not demonstrably monophyletic. Here, we used five alternative combinations of DNA sequence data (ranging from seven loci for 48 taxa to up to 73 loci for as many as 142 taxa) ge...
Article
Ants that resemble Camponotus maculatus (Fabricius, 1782) present an opportunity to test the hypothesis that the origin of the Pacific island fauna was primarily New Guinea, the Philippines, and the Indo-Malay archipelago (collectively known as Ma-lesia). We sequenced two mitochondrial and four nuclear markers from 146 specimens from Pacific island...
Article
Chelicerata represents one of the oldest groups of arthropods, with a fossil record extending to the Cambrian, and is sister to the remaining extant arthropods, the mandibulates. Attempts to resolve the internal phylogeny of chelicerates have achieved little consensus, due to marked discord in both morphological and molecular hypotheses of chelicer...
Article
Introduction The practice of molecular dating is an essential tool for hypothesis testing in evolutionary biology. Vagaries of fossilization and taphonomic bias commonly engender high uncertainty in molecular dating in taxonomic groups wherein few fossils can be unambiguously assigned to phylogenetic nodes. A recent and novel implementation in mole...
Article
Finding the optimal evolutionary history for a set of taxa is a challenging computational problem, even when restricting possible solutions to be "tree-like" and focusing on the maximum-parsimony optimality criterion. This has led to much work on using heuristic tree searches to find approximate solutions. We present an approach for finding exact o...
Article
The evolutionary success of the largest animal phylum, Arthropoda, has been attributed to tagmatization, the coordinated evolution of adjacent metameres to form morphologically and functionally distinct segmental regions called tagmata. Specification of regional identity is regulated by the Hox genes, of which 10 are inferred to be present in the a...
Article
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Specimens of Metasiro from its three known disjunct population centers in the southeastern US were examined and had a 769 bp fragement of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) sequenced. These populations are located in the western panhandle of Florida and nearby areas of Georgia, in the Savannah River delta of South Carolina,...
Article
We present POY version 5, an open source program for the phylogenetic analysis of diverse data types including qualitative, aligned sequences, unaligned sequences, genomic data, and user-defined sequences. In addition to the maximum-parsimony optimality criterion supported by POY4, POY5 supports several types of maximum likelihood as well as poster...
Article
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Language origins and diversification are vital for mapping human history. Traditionally, the reconstruction of language trees has been based on cognate forms among related languages, with ancestral protolanguages inferred by individual investigators. Disagreement among competing authorities is typically extensive, without empirical grounds for reso...
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sees sustainable scholarly publishing as an inherently collaborative enterprise connecting authors, nonprofit publishers, academic institutions, research libraries, and research funders in the common goal of maximizing access to critical research. BioOne (www.bioone.org) is a nonprofit, online aggregation of core research in the biological, ecologi...
Article
Abstract Scoring a given phylogenetic network is the first step that is required in searching for the best evolutionary framework for a given dataset. Using the principle of maximum parsimony, we can score phylogenetic networks based on the minimum number of state changes across a subset of edges of the network for each character that are required...
Article
The monophyly of Mandibulata - the division of arthropods uniting pancrustaceans and myriapods - is consistent with several morphological characters, such as the presence of sensory appendages called antennae and the eponymous biting appendage, the mandible. Functional studies have demonstrated that the patterning of the mandible requires the activ...
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Even as recent studies have focused on the construction of larger and more diverse datasets, the proper placement of the hymenopteran superfamilies remains controversial. In order to explore the implications of these new data, we here present the first direct optimization-sensitivity analysis of hymenopteran superfamilial relationships, based on a...
Article
Three additional phyletic group types, “periphyletic,” “epiphyletic”, and “anaphyletic” (in addition to Hennigian mono-, para-, and polyphyletic) are defined in terms of trees and phylogenetic networks (trees with directed reticulate edges) via a generalization of the algorithmic definitions of Farris. These designations concern groups defined as m...
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Aim Our aim was to elucidate the effect of mass extinctions on inferred crown ages of terrestrial clades endemic to ancient islands. We thereby assessed the potential for mass extinction events, such as the Zealandian marine incursion episode in the Oligocene, to skew the interpretation of the evolutionary history of clades of various sizes. Locati...
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Spiny-backed tree frogs of the genus Osteocephalus are conspicuous components of the tropical wet forests of the Amazon and the Guiana Shield. Here, we revise the phylogenetic relationships of Osteocephalus and its sister group Tepuihyla, using up to 6134bp of DNA sequences of nine mitochondrial and one nuclear gene for 338 specimens from eight cou...
Article
One of the most time-consuming aspects of Bayesian posterior probability analysis in the analysis of phylogenetic trees is the use of Metropolis-coupled Markov chain Monte Carlo (MC3) methods to determine relative posteriors and identify maximum a posteriori (MAP) trees. Here, analytical and numerical methods are presented to determine tree likelih...
Article
The description of venation patterns in neotropical Vaccinieae has been problematic because of the lack of an operational definition. Moreover, the underlying homologies remain unknown across and within lineages, thus precluding the use of venation characters in phylogenetic analyses. Venation patterns are often obscured in herbarium and living spe...
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The frog clade composed of the alsodid genera Alsodes + Eupsophus is the most species-rich of the Patagonian endemic frog clades, including nearly 31 of the slightly more than 50 species of that region. The biology of this group of frogs is poorly known, its taxonomy quite complex (particularly Alsodes), and its diversity in chromosome number strik...
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Background A phylogeny postulates shared ancestry relationships among organisms in the form of a binary tree. Phylogenies attempt to answer an important question posed in biology: what are the ancestor-descendent relationships between organisms? At the core of every biological problem lies a phylogenetic component. The patterns that can be observed...
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Background The inference of homologies among DNA sequences, that is, positions in multiple genomes that share a common evolutionary origin, is a crucial, yet difficult task facing biologists. Its computational counterpart is known as the multiple sequence alignment problem. There are various criteria and methods available to perform multiple sequen...
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Species of the genus Pleurodema are relatively small, plump frogs that mostly occur in strong-seasonal and dry environments. The genus currently comprises 14 species distributed from Panama to southern Patagonia. Here we present a phylogenetic analysis of Pleurodema, including all described species and several outgroups. Our goals include testing i...