Abstract Detail

Modeling the processes that mediate speciation and extinction rates across plants

May , Michael R [1], Rothfels, Carl [2].

The consequences of mistreating diversification models as "priors" in Bayesian model comparison.

Time-calibrated phylogenetic trees are fundamental to a wide range of evolutionary studies. When these trees are inferred in a Bayesian framework, the phylogeny itself is treated as a parameter with a prior distribution (a “tree prior”). This prior distribution is often a variant of the stochastic birth-death process, which models speciation events, extinction events, and sampling events (of extinct and/or extant lineages). However, the samples themselves are observations, so their probability should be viewed as a likelihood rather than a prior probability. We explore the consequences of this problem using extinct and extant marattialean ferns as a case study, and show that it can result in model-comparison approaches disfavoring the best model within a set of candidate models. We outline potential remedies, and provide guidance for researchers interested in comparing the fit of competing tree models.

1 - University of California, Berkeley, 3040 Valley Life Sciences Building, #3140, Berkeley, California, 94720, United States
2 - University Of California Berkeley, Berkeley, 94720.0, United States

Lineage diversification
Bayesian inference
Model comparison

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Abstract ID:420
Candidate for Awards:None

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