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Evolutionary Ecology Research, 1999, 1: 895909 1999 Ehab Abouheif

Summary: Evolutionary Ecology Research, 1999, 1: 895909
1999 Ehab Abouheif
A method for testing the assumption of phylogenetic
independence in comparative data
Ehab Abouheif*
Department of Ecology and Evolution, State University of New York at Stony Brook,
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5245, USA
When making a comparison between two or more traits across taxa, the assumption of phylo-
genetic independence must be tested. Empirically determining the validity of this assumption
before and after applying a phylogenetically based comparative method (PCM) can provide
researchers with a rigorous methodological approach for analysing comparative data. This
approach can help resolve current debates regarding whether it is always appropriate to
apply a PCM, and whether PCMs are in fact successful in accounting for all of the historical
non-independence in comparative data. To use this methodological approach, however, a gen-
erally applicable statistical diagnostic that can test the assumption of phylogenetic independ-
ence in comparative data is required. In this context, I present the application of a statistical
diagnostic called the `test for serial independence'. This diagnostic can be applied to almost all
currently employed PCMs, including Felsenstein's (1985) independent contrasts. Furthermore,
I demonstrate the application of the test for serial independence by analysing three data sets


Source: Abouheif, Ehab - Department of Biology, McGill University


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology