Invited essay: New frontiers in bryology and lichenology. Phylogeography and phylodemography
Phylogenetic analyses of infraspecific molecular data in relation to geographic and ecological information has come to be known as phylogeography. Bryophytes offer fertile material for such analyses, which can help clarify long standing biogeographic questions that were intractable before molecular data became available. In particular, molecular data can help distinguish between dispersal and fragmentation explanations for disjunct distributions that characterize many bryophytes at the specific as well as higher levels. Phylodemography is the application of molecular data and phylogenetic analyses to infer past changes in population size within species. Grounded in coalescence theory from population genetics, this new field could be fruitfully applied to bryophytes. Combining phylogeography and phylodemography yields a powerful strategy for elucidating evolutionary processes.