J Syst Evol ›› 2022, Vol. 60 ›› Issue (4): 713-714.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12904

• Editorial • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Awards of JSE Outstanding Papers (2020)

Song Ge and Jun Wen   

  • Online:2022-08-12 Published:2022-07-01


The JSE established Awards of JSE Outstanding Papers in 2014 and has awarded two Outstanding Papers and two Outstanding Papers by Young Investigators each year since 2008 (Ge & Wen, 2015). The selection of the awards was based on votes and assessments from all 17 editors of the journal with the consideration of citation data from Web of Science and the impact on systematics and evolution. The winners of the Awards receive a certificate and a prize of $800 (JSE Outstanding Papers) or $500 (JSE Outstanding Papers by Young Investigators). Here, we are delighted to announce the four winners of the awards selected from JSE publications in 2020 and highlight the significance of these papers.

JSE Outstanding Papers for 2020

Wang et al. Major clades and a revised classification of Magnolia and Magnoliaceae based on whole plastid genome sequences via genome skimming

As an early diverged lineage within the Magnoliids, the family Magnoliaceae is critical in systematic position on the Tree of Life and consists of many species with important values in timber production and traditional medicines, in addition to being ornamental plants. Nevertheless, the taxonomy and particularly the delimitations of genera and/or sections in this family have been highly controversial among taxonomists, with as few as two and as many as 17 genera. Wang et al. (2020) reconstructed the phylogeny of Magnoliaceae using sequences of the complete chloroplast genomes with a broad taxon sampling of 86 species. In conjunction with morphological and geographic evidence, they recognized two subfamilies Liriodendroideae and Magnolioideae, each with one genus (Liriodendron and Magnolia, respectively). Specifically, their results strongly supported 15 major clades within Magnolia s. l., inconsistent with the previous subgeneric treatment that recognized three subgenera. The authors further detected the data incongruence among several major clades and discussed the generic delimitation and phylogenetic relationships within the family. Overall, this work helps establish a better classification of Magnoliaceae and provides new insights into the global biogeographic diversification of this family with both temporal and tropical elements.

Anderson & Song. Plant adaptation to climate change—Where are we?

How plants adapt to globe climate change matters both for survival and extinction of plants and for agricultural and environmental sustainability and food security. In this review, Anderson & Song (2020) addressed (i) whether climate change exerted novel selection and disrupted local adaptation, (ii) how gene flow facilitated adaptive responses to climate change, and (iii) whether adaptive phenotypic plasticity could sustain populations in the short term. They also reviewed studies that tested the influence of climate change on species interactions, predicted the adaptive potential of plants under climate change, and dissected the genetic basis of plant adaptation to climate change. By highlighting several key research gaps, the authors encouraged additional applications of emerging genomic tools, along with interdisciplinary investigations, to enhance our ability to predict the adaptive potential of plants under climate change and to elucidate the genetic basis of complex trait variation.

JSE Outstanding Papers by Young Investigators for 2020

Song et al. Plastid phylogenomics improve phylogenetic resolution in the Lauraceae

The family Lauraceae is a major component of tropical and subtropical forests worldwide, and includes many species that provide important economic products, including timber, perfume, spices, herbal medicines, and fruit crops. However, phylogenetic relationships within Lauraceae remain unsolved because of various reasons. Song et al. (2020) compiled a large data set that includes 43 newly sequenced and 77 downloaded plastomes representing 42 genera of Lauraceae and 17 related families of angiosperms. On this basis, they reconstructed the phylogenetic relationships within the Lauraceae and among seven of the nine families of the Laurales. In combination with the morphological evidence, the authors confirmed the monophyly of Lauraceae and identified nine monotypic clades that offered insights to improve the tribal classification of Lauraceae. They also described two new tribes (Caryodaphnopsideae and Neocinnamomeae) and updated the compositions of four other tribes. This study provides a robust phylogenetic framework through which to address the evolutionary history of the Magnoliids, the third-largest group of Mesangiospermae.

Echeverría-Londoño et al. Dynamism and context-dependency in diversification of the megadiverse plant genus Solanum (Solanaceae)

The uneven distribution of taxonomic diversity among the branches of the Tree of Life and geographic regions is one of the most intriguing puzzles in biology and has been hypothesized to arise from significant differences in the parameters governing rates of speciation and extinction. To address this issue, Echeverría-Londoño et al. (2020) assembled a set of time-calibrated and species-level phylogenies of extant Solanum species, including 1169 of its 1234 species, to reconstruct diversification rates across lineages and analyze them in a geographical context. They (i) explored the origins of the high heterogeneity of species richness among subclades of this genus, (ii) investigated the relative importance of clade-specific, tree-wide, and geographic variation in evolutionary rates, and (iii) analyzed how these patterns were associated with historical biogeographic movements of lineages and/or environmental changes. The results showed that the lineages in the Old World were diversifying more rapidly, which coincided with a long-distance dispersal event from the Neotropics to regions where major climatic changes were taking place. In addition, two separate groups of Solanum have migrated and established in Australia, with only the arid adapted lineages being significantly increased in diversification rate. Together, these findings provide a clear example of how successful colonization of new areas and niches could drive explosive diversifications.

We want to congratulate the winners of the JSE Awards for their important contributions to systematics and evolution! We cordially invite the many colleagues in systematics and evolution to submit their first-rate research to JSE in the coming years.