Sep 25, 2008

Detecting shifts in diversification rates without fossils

The American Naturalist
Emmanuel Paradis

Abstract

Studies of shifts in diversification rates and adaptive radiations are difficult when there are no fossils because past events cannot be inferred. The phylogenies of recent species, however, allow one to infer the patterns of past diversifications. I present a new method for estimating the diversification rate of a lineage, provided that a phylogeny of recent species, constructed, for instance, with molecular data, is available. This method was inspired by survival models and takes into account species that are not included in detailed phylogenetic data, provided that approximate dates of origin of these species are known. Likelihood ratio tests and Akaike Information Criterion make it possible to test for differences in diversification among lineages or groups of lineages and, thus, to evaluate adaptive radiation hypotheses. The present modeling approach can easily be extended to include temporal variations in diversification rates. A simulation study showed that the method is statistically consistent, avoiding Type I and Type II errors, and that it is robust to periodic or random fluctuations in the speciation rate. An example is presented with a composite phylogeny of primates.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Fluctuation
Primates
Refractive Errors

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