May 31, 2015

A Bayesian Approach for Detecting Mass-Extinction Events When Rates of Lineage Diversification Vary

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Michael R. MayBrian R. Moore

Abstract

The paleontological record chronicles numerous episodes of mass extinction that severely culled the Tree of Life. Biologists have long sought to assess the extent to which these events may have impacted particular groups. We present a novel method for detecting mass-extinction events from phylogenies estimated from molecular sequence data. We develop our approach in a Bayesian statistical framework, which enables us to harness prior information on the frequency and magnitude of mass-extinction events. The approach is based on an episodic stochastic-branching process model in which rates of speciation and extinction are constant between rate-shift events. We model three types of events: (1) instantaneous tree-wide shifts in speciation rate; (2) instantaneous tree-wide shifts in extinction rate, and; (3) instantaneous tree-wide mass-extinction events. Each of the events is described by a separate compound Poisson process (CPP) model, where the waiting times between each event are exponentially distributed with event-specific rate parameters. The magnitude of each event is drawn from an event-type specific prior distribution. Parameters of the model are then estimated using a reversible-jump Markov chain Monte Carlo (rjMCMC) algor...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Extinction Therapy
Trees (plant)
Impacted Tooth
Extinction, Psychological
Coniferophyta
Simulation
Biologist (General)
Compound (Substance)
Comet Assay

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