Sep 16, 2015

Non-null Effects of the Null Range in Biogeographic Models: Exploring Parameter Estimation in the DEC Model

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Kathryn A MassanaBrian C O'Meara


Historical biogeography seeks to understand the distribution of biodiversity in space and time. The dispersal-extinction-cladogenesis (DEC) model, a likelihood-based model of geographic range evolution, is widely used in assessing the biogeography of clades. Robust inference of dispersal and local extinction parameters is crucial for biogeographic inference, and yet a major caveat to its use is that the DEC model severely underestimates local extinction. We suggest that this is mainly due to the way in which the model is constructed to allow observed species to transition into being present in no areas (i.e., null range). By prohibiting transitions into the null range in the transition rate matrix, we were able to better infer local extinction and support this with simulations. This modified model, DEC*, has higher model fit and model adequacy than DEC, suggesting this modification should be considered for DEC and other models of geographic range evolution.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Extracellular Matrix
LY75 gene
Anatomical Space Structure
Extinction, Psychological
3,3'-di(gamma-sulfopropyl)-4,5,4',5'-dibenzo-9-ethylthiacarbocyanine betaine pyridinium salt
Biological Evolution

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