Meeting Abstract

101.4  Saturday, Jan. 7  Analyzing continuous character evolution on a phylogeny REVELL, Liam J.; Univ. of Massachusetts Boston

Recent years have seen the development of likelihood-based phylogenetic methods that allow researchers to test the hypothesis that a discrete character trait (for example, habitat type or trophic level) influences the rate of evolution for a continuous character (for example, limb length or body size). Standard practice in these analyses is to first generate a sample of hypothesized historical rate regimes using a procedure called stochastic character mapping and then fit the model to each hypothesized regime and average the results. Here, I examine this practice and consider the possibility that this analysis pipeline can sometimes lead to biased estimates of the evolutionary rates through time.