ESTIMATING DIVERSIFICATION RATES: HOW USEFUL ARE DIVERGENCE TIMES?
Article first published online: 5 NOV 2010
© 2010 The Author(s). Evolution© 2010 The Society for the Study of Evolution
Volume 65, Issue 2, pages 309–320, February 2011
How to Cite
Wertheim, J. O. and Sanderson, M. J. (2011), ESTIMATING DIVERSIFICATION RATES: HOW USEFUL ARE DIVERGENCE TIMES?. Evolution, 65: 309–320. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01159.x
- Issue published online: 27 JAN 2011
- Article first published online: 5 NOV 2010
- Accepted manuscript online: 8 OCT 2010 01:50AM EST
- Received March 2, 2010, Accepted September 27, 2010
- divergence times;
- diversification rate;
- phylogenetic inference;
- Yule model
The dynamics of species diversification rates are a key component of macroevolutionary patterns. Although not absolutely necessary, the use of divergence times inferred from sequence data has led to development of more powerful methods for inferring diversification rates. However, it is unclear what impact uncertainty in age estimates have on diversification rate inferences. Here, we quantify these effects using both Bayesian and frequentist methodology. Through simulation, we demonstrate that adding sequence data results in more precise estimates of internal node ages, but a reasonable approximation of these node ages is often sufficient to approach the theoretical minimum variance in speciation rate estimates. We also find that even crude estimates of divergence times increase the power of tests of diversification rate differences between sister clades. Finally, because Bayesian and frequentist methods provided similar assessments of error, novel Bayesian approaches may provide a useful framework for tests of diversification rates in more complex contexts than are addressed here.