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Keywords:

  • birth–death process;
  • comparative methods;
  • extinction;
  • macroevolution;
  • speciation

Summary

1. The R package ‘diversitree’ contains a number of classical and contemporary comparative phylogenetic methods. Key included methods are BiSSE (binary state speciation and extinction), MuSSE (a multistate extension of BiSSE), and QuaSSE (quantitative state speciation and extinction). Diversitree also includes methods for analysing trait evolution and estimating speciation/extinction rates independently.

2. In this note, I describe the features and demonstrate use of the package, using a new method, MuSSE (multistate speciation and extinction), to examine the joint effects of two traits on speciation.

3. Using simulations, I found that MuSSE could reliably detect that a binary trait that affected speciation rates when simultaneously accounting for additional thats that had no effect on speciation rates.

4. Diversitree is an open source and available on the Comprehensive R Archive Network (cran). A tutorial and worked examples can be downloaded from http://www.zoology.ubc.ca/prog/diversitree.