A NOVEL COMPARATIVE METHOD FOR IDENTIFYING SHIFTS IN THE RATE OF CHARACTER EVOLUTION ON TREES
Version of Record online: 24 AUG 2011
© 2011 The Author(s). Evolution© 2011 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
Volume 65, Issue 12, pages 3578–3589, December 2011
How to Cite
Eastman, J. M., Alfaro, M. E., Joyce, P., Hipp, A. L. and Harmon, L. J. (2011), A NOVEL COMPARATIVE METHOD FOR IDENTIFYING SHIFTS IN THE RATE OF CHARACTER EVOLUTION ON TREES. Evolution, 65: 3578–3589. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01401.x
- Issue online: 1 DEC 2011
- Version of Record online: 24 AUG 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 5 JUL 2011 04:20PM EST
- Received February 11, 2011, Accepted June 19, 2011
- Bayesian inference;
- comparative methods;
- rate heterogeneity;
- reversible-jump MCMC;
- trait evolution
Evolutionary biologists since Darwin have been fascinated by differences in the rate of trait-evolutionary change across lineages. Despite this continued interest, we still lack methods for identifying shifts in evolutionary rates on the growing tree of life while accommodating uncertainty in the evolutionary process. Here we introduce a Bayesian approach for identifying complex patterns in the evolution of continuous traits. The method (auteur) uses reversible-jump Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling to more fully characterize the complexity of trait evolution, considering models that range in complexity from those with a single global rate to potentially ones in which each branch in the tree has its own independent rate. This newly introduced approach performs well in recovering simulated rate shifts and simulated rates for datasets nearing the size typical for comparative phylogenetic study (i.e., ≥64 tips). Analysis of two large empirical datasets of vertebrate body size reveal overwhelming support for multiple-rate models of evolution, and we observe exceptionally high rates of body-size evolution in a group of emydid turtles relative to their evolutionary background. auteur will facilitate identification of exceptional evolutionary dynamics, essential to the study of both adaptive radiation and stasis.