Aug 6, 2005

Phylogenetic approaches in comparative physiology

The Journal of Experimental Biology
Theodore GarlandEnrico L Rezende


Over the past two decades, comparative biological analyses have undergone profound changes with the incorporation of rigorous evolutionary perspectives and phylogenetic information. This change followed in large part from the realization that traditional methods of statistical analysis tacitly assumed independence of all observations, when in fact biological groups such as species are differentially related to each other according to their evolutionary history. New phylogenetically based analytical methods were then rapidly developed, incorporated into ;the comparative method', and applied to many physiological, biochemical, morphological and behavioral investigations. We now review the rationale for including phylogenetic information in comparative studies and briefly discuss three methods for doing this (independent contrasts, generalized least-squares models, and Monte Carlo computer simulations). We discuss when and how to use phylogenetic information in comparative studies and provide several examples in which it has been helpful, or even crucial, to a comparative analysis. We also consider some difficulties with phylogenetically based statistical methods, and of comparative approaches in general, both practical and theore...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

In Silico
Monte Carlo Method
Two-Parameter Models
Physiology, Comparative

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