Ongoing projects

1- Multigenomic evolution of temperate grasses (Pooideae, Poaceae). Biogeography and phylogeography of key pooid species (FestucaBrachypodiumAnthoxanthum-HierochloeBromus) in the Old World (CGL2009-12955-C02-01 project)

funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (2010-2012)
University of Zaragoza (Spain): P. Catalan (PI), L. Inda, E. Perez-Collazos, A. Diaz, M. Minaya, D. López
University of Coruña (Spain): E. Sahuquillo, M. Pimentel
University of Leon (Spain): C. Acedo, F. Llamas, A. Alonso
We have extended our phylogenetic analyses to representatives of Pooideae using a large number of nuclear (GBSS, b-amylase, pgiC1, pgiC2, ITS, ETS), mitochondrial (rps3), and plastid (ndhF, matK, rbcL, trnH-psbA, trnTL, trnLF) genes. We want to obtain a solid Pooideae tree-of-life that would allow us to: i)  infer relationships among taxa; ii) estimate the evolutionary rates of lineages, genes and genomes; iii) evaluate potential adaptive selection operating on non-synonymous positions of genes, and iv) test correlations between evolutionary rates and different biological and ecological features. We are investigating intringuing, recently discovered cases of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) of both mitochondrial genes and pseudogenes and nuclear functional genes among Festuca and other non-related subfamilial lineages. We want to assess: i) the frequency of these phenomena across the Pooideae, ii) their impact on phylogenetic reconstruction, iii) their importance on the evolutionary processes of these grasses, and iv) the putative mechanisms that have caused them. Our research on the origins and nature of polyploidy in the pooids have been expanded through comparative analysis of biparentally inherited single copy and multiple copy nuclear alleles and  maternally inherited non-recombinant plastid sequences.
Biogeography and phylogeography of key pooid species: We are conducting a broad comparative biogeographical study of four key pooid genera (FestucaBrachypodiumAnthoxanthum-Hierochloë and Bromus) in the Mediterranean region (Europe, Africa, W Asia), the centre of diversity of these grasses. Our analyses aimed at inferring well constructed historical distribution scenarios on the origins, speciation events and colonization patterns of their main lineages. Divergence times have been calculated and alternative dispersal hypotheses have been tested through statistical methods based on both deterministic and probabilistic models.  The recovered patterns are going to be contrasted with paleogeographical data and used to construct predictive models within a common biogeographical frame. Exhaustive phylogeographical studies are being conducted with selected restrictive groups (Festuca sects. Lojaconoa-SubbulbosaeFestuca gr. “afrofestuca”, Brachypodium distachyonAnthoxanthum sect. Eu-AnthoxanthumBromus gr. alopecurus-lanceolatus) through large genome sequencing and retrospective methods based on coalescence. The objectives are to recover the past history of their populations, to test hypotheses of dispersal vs isolation and to answer the questions about their continental and transcontinental migrations (E-W Mediterranean, out of Africa-into Africa, S-N Europe, NW Africa-S Iberia-N Iberia) within different ancient and recent spatial and climatic scenarios. 

.- López-Alvarez D, Manzaneda A J, Rey PJ, Giraldo P, Benavente E, Allainguillaume J, Mur LAJ, Caicedo AL, Hazen SP, Breiman A, Ezrati S, Catalán P. 2015. Environmental niche variation and evolutionary diversification of the Brachypodium distachyon grass complex species in their native circum-Mediterranean range. American Journal of Botany 102: 1-16. A

.-Minaya M, Díaz-Pérez AJ, Mason-Gamer R, Pimentel M, Catalán P. 2015. Evolution of the beta-amylase gene in the temperate grasses: non-purifying selection, recombination, semiparalogy, homeology and phylogenetic signal. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 91: 68-85. A

.- Dündar E, Bush D, Catalán P. 2014. Plant phylogenetics and molecular genetics in the new era of genomics. Turkish Journal of Botany 38: i-ii. A

.- Diaz-Pérez A, Sharifi-Tehrani M, Inda LA, Catalán P. 2014. Polyphyly, gene-duplication and extensive allopolyploidy framed the evolution of the ephemeral Vulpia grasses and other fine-leaved Loliinae (Poaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 79: 92-105. A

.- Catalan P, Chalhoub B, Chochois V, Garvin DF, Hasterok R, Manzaneda AJ, Mur LAJ, Pecchioni N, Rasmussen SK, Vogel JP, Voxeur A. 2014. Update on genomics and basic biology of Brachypodium. Trends in Plant Science 19:414-418. A

.- Inda L.A., Sanmartin I, Buerki S, Catalán P. 2014. Mediterranean origin and Miocene-Holocene Old World diversification of meadow fescues and ryegrasses (Festuca subgen. Schedonorus and Lolium). Journal of Biogeography 41: 600-614. A

.- Torrecilla P, Acedo C, Marques I, Diaz-Pérez AJ, López-Rodríguez JA, Mirones V, Sus A, Llamas F, Alonso A, Pérez-Collazos E, Viruel J, Sahuquillo E, Sancho MC, Komac B, Manso JA, Segarra-Moragues JG, Draper D, Villar L, Catalán P. 2013. Morphometric and molecular variation in concert: taxonomy and genetics of the reticulate Pyrenean and Iberian alpine spiny fescues (Festuca eskia complex, Poaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 173: 676-706. A

.- Inda LA, Wolny E. 2013. Fluorescent in situ hybridization of the ribosomal RNA genes (5S and 35S) in the genus Lolium: Lolium canariense, the missing link with Festuca?. Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid 70: 97-102.

.- Pimentel M., Sahuquillo E., Torrecilla Z., Popp M., Catalán P., Brochmann C. 2013. Hybridizations and long-distance colonizations at different time scales: towards resolution of long-term controversies in the sweet vernal grasses (Anthoxanthum). Annals of Botany 112: 1015-1030. A.

.- Minaya M, Pimentel M, Mason-Gamer R, Catalán P. 2013. Distribution and evolutionary dynamics of Stowaway Miniature Inverted repeat Transposable Elements (MITEs) in grasses. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 68: 106-118. A

Catalán P, López-Alvarez D, López-Herranz ML. 2013. Código de barras genético de gramíneas modelo (Brachypodium): incremento de la biodiversidad. Conservación Vegetal17: 3-6. A

.- Devesa J, Catalán P, Müller J, Cebolla C, Ortuñez E. 2013. Checklist de Festuca L. (Poaceae) en la Península Ibérica. Lagascalia (in press). A

.- Catalán P, Gonzalez-Candelas F. 2012. Técnicas y marcadores filogenéticos. In: Zardoya R, Vargas P (eds.): El árbol de la vida: sistemática y evolución de los seres vivos. Madrid 533-542. CL

.- López-Alvarez D, López-Herranz ML, Betekhtin A, Catalán P. 2012. A DNA barcoding method to discriminate between the model plant Brachypodium distachyon and its close relatives B. stacei and B. hybridum (Poaceae).  PLoS ONE 7(12): e51058. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051058 A

.- Catalán P, Müller J, Hasterok R, Jenkins G, Mur LAJ, Langdon T, Betekhtin A, Siwinska D, Pimentel M, López-Alvarez D. 2012. Evolution and taxonomic split of the model grass Brachypodium distachyon (L.) P. Beauv. Annals of Botany 109: 385–405. A

.- Diaz-Pérez A, Sequeira M, Santos-Guerra A, Catalán P. 2012. Divergence and biogeography of the recently evolved Macaronesian red Festuca (Gramineae) species inferred from coalescence-based analyses. Molecular Ecology 21: 1702-1726. A

.- Catalán P., Müller J. 2012. Festuca L., in Zuloaga F. et al (eds.). Flora de Argentina. CONICET. Buenos Aires. vol. 3, tomo II: 219-250. CL

.- Catalán P. 2011. 23. Festuca L., in Blanca G., Cabezudo B., Cueto M., Morales-Torres C., Salazar C. (eds.): Claves de la Flora Vascular de Andalucía Oriental. pp. 128-133. Universidades de Granada, Almería, Jaen y Málaga. Granada. CL

.- Mur L., Allainguillaume J., Catalán P., Hasterok R., Jenkins G., Lesniewska K., Thomas I., Vogel J. 2011. Exploiting the Brachypodium Tool Box in cereal and grass research. New Phytologist 191: 334-347. A

.- Pimentel M., Catalán P., Sahuquillo E. 2010. Morphological and molecular taxonomy of the annual diploids Anthoxanthum aristatum and A. ovatum (Poaceae) in the Iberian Peninsula. Evidence of introgression in natural populations. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 164: 53-71. A

.- Müller J, Catalán P. 2010. A new rhizomatous species of Festuca L. (Poaceae-Poeae) from northwestern Argentina. Darwiniana 48: 87-92. A

.- Quintanar A., Catalán P., Castroviejo S. 2010. A review of the systematics and phylogenetics of the Koeleriinae (Poaceae: Poeae), in Seberg O, Petersen G, Barfod & Davis JD (eds.): Diversity, phylogeny and evolution in the monocotyledons, pp. 539-556.  Aarhus University Press. Aarhus. CL

.- Sequeira M, Diaz-Pérez A, Santos-Guerra A, Catalán P. 2009. Karyological analysis of the five native Macaronesian Festuca (Gramineae) grasses supports a distinct diploid origin of two schizoendemic groups. Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid 66:55-63. A

.- Sharifi-Tehrani M., Mardi M., Sahebi J., Díaz-Pérez A., Catalán P. 2009. Genetic diversity and structure among Iranian tall fescue phenotypes based on SSR and EST-SSR marker analysis. Plant Systematics and Evolution 282: 57-70. A

.- Catalán P. 2009. Festuca L. In: Blanca G, Cabezudo B, Cueto M, Fernández López C, Morales Torres C.  (eds.). Flora de Andalucía Oriental. Vol. 1: 298-310. Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía. Sevilla. CL

.- Catalán P., Soreng R. J., Peterson P. M. 2009. Festuca aloha and F. molokaiensis (Poaceae: Loliinae), two new species from Hawai‘i. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 3: 51-58. A