Integration of Spatial and Ecological Data in Evolutionary Studies
Wiens, John .
Using GIS and biogeographic data to help understand character evolution.
Reconstructing the history of character change on phylogenies has become an integral part of evolutionary biology. In this talk, I will show examples of how GIS-based climatic data can be used to help inform studies of character evolution. I will also discuss more generally how biogeographic information is critical to understanding the causes of large-scale patterns of trait evolution. First, I will discuss my research on patterns of life history evolution in marsupial frogs. In this project, we have found that subtle differences in likelihood reconstruction methods lead to very different interpretations of character evolution in this group, each with strong statistical support for reconstructions at individual nodes of the tree; this result shows that at least one method has been strongly misled. We find that reconstructing GIS-based climatic data on the phylogeny suggests that one reconstruction method implies that a character state was present for millions of years under environmental conditions in which it does not occur at present (implying that this is the reconstruction method that has been misled). We have also used GIS-based climatic data to look for correlations between environmental conditions and life history data. Finally, I will discuss the importance of considering large-scale biogeography (and the community context of character evolution) in understanding patterns of trait evolution across a phylogeny, using the evolution of snake-like body form in reptiles as an empirical example.
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1 - Stony Brook University, Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook, New York, 11794-5245, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Stevens 2/Hilton
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
Time: 8:15 AM