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Keywords:

  • comparative analysis;
  • evolutionary biology;
  • macroevolution

Summary

1. Models of trait macroevolution on trees (MOTMOT) is a new software package that tests for variation in the tempo and mode of continuous character evolution on phylogenetic trees. MOTMOT provides tools to fit a range of models of trait evolution with emphasis on variation in the rate of evolution between clades and character states.

2. We introduce a new method, trait MEDUSA, to identify the location of major changes in the rate of evolution of continuous traits on phylogenetic trees. We demonstrate trait MEDUSA and the other main functions of MOTMOT, using body size of Anolis lizards.

3. MOTMOT is open source software written in the R language and is freely available from CRAN (http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/).