Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Inferring differential rates of diversification from phylogenies
by Moore, Brian Ross, Ph.D., Yale University, 2007, 685; 3293407
Abstract (Summary)

The recent profusion of phylogenetic research and concurrent development of phylogeny-hosed methods continues to profoundly transform our ability to discover the historical patterns and understand the evolutionary processes of biological diversification. This thesis reflects my attempt to contribute to this area of research and the ultimate goal of realizing a more unified approach to—and understanding of—the causes and consequences of differential diversification rates, one that incorporates the biological, geographical, and ecological facets of the problem. The thesis is structured in three main sections. The first section comprises four chapters that describe phylogeny-based methods for inferring various aspects of lineage diversification and biogeographic history. Chapter 2 describes methods for detecting significant variation in rates of diversification across lineages. Chapter 3 describes methods for locating significant shifts diversification rate along internal branches. Chapter 4 describes a method for exploring the impact of a particular historical event (the origin of a novel trait, an episode of biogeographic dispersal, the onset of an ecological association) on rates of diversification. Chapter 5 describe an approach for inferring the history of movement by which lineages have achieved their past and present geographic distributions. The second section (comprising three chapters) turns to the problem of large-scale phylogeny estimation, which is motivated by the attractive statistical properties of such trees for the study of diversification rates, Chapter 6 compares the empirical performance of conventional supertree-estimation methods. Chapter 7 describes the use of non-parametric bootstrapping to increase the correspondence between the supertree topology and the underlying source-tree character data, and also to estimate uncertainty n the inferred supertree. Chapter 8 presents an alternative approach for large-scale phylogeny estimation that combines aspects of competing supermatrix and supertree strategics. The final section presents a worked empirical example of the methods developed in previous chapters, evaluating correlations between biogeographic movement, morphological change, and shifts in rates of diversification within the flowering plant group, Dipsacales. Overall, these findings highlight the importance of embracing a more integrative approach to the study of diversification rates.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Donoghue, Michael John
School: Yale University
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-B 68/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Bioinformatics
Keywords: Adaptive radiation, Diversification, Extinction rates, Speciation
Publication Number: 3293407
ISBN: 9780549373513
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