Detecting concerted demographic response across community assemblages using hierarchical approximate Bayesian computation

Molecular Biology and Evolution
Yvonne L ChanMichael J Hickerson


Methods that integrate population-level sampling from multiple taxa into a single community-level analysis are an essential addition to the comparative phylogeographic toolkit. Detecting how species within communities have demographically tracked each other in space and time is important for understanding the effects of future climate and landscape changes and the resulting acceleration of extinctions, biological invasions, and potential surges in adaptive evolution. Here, we present a statistical framework for such an analysis based on hierarchical approximate Bayesian computation (hABC) with the goal of detecting concerted demographic histories across an ecological assemblage. Our method combines population genetic data sets from multiple taxa into a single analysis to estimate: 1) the proportion of a community sample that demographically expanded in a temporally clustered pulse and 2) when the pulse occurred. To validate the accuracy and utility of this new approach, we use simulation cross-validation experiments and subsequently analyze an empirical data set of 32 avian populations from Australia that are hypothesized to have expanded from smaller refugia populations in the late Pleistocene. The method can accommodate data ...Continue Reading


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