Coll. 4 Reading Group: Rate heterogeneity across Squamata, misleading ancestral state reconstruction and the importance of proper null model speciﬁcation
This Friday the journal club will discuss a paper by Harrington and Reeder (2016): "Rate heterogeneity across Squamata, misleading ancestral state reconstruction and the importance of proper null model speciﬁcation".
The binary-state speciation and extinction (BiSSE) model has been used in many instances to identify state-dependent diversification and reconstruct ancestral states. However, recent studies have shown that the standard procedure of comparing the fit of the BiSSE model to constant-rate birth–death models often inappropriately favours the BiSSE model when diversification rates vary in a state-independent fashion. The newly developed HiSSE model enables researchers to identify state-dependent diversification rates while accounting for state-independent diversification at the same time. The HiSSE model also allows researchers to test state-dependent models against appropriate state-independent null models that have the same number of parameters as the state-dependent models being tested. We reanalyse two data sets that originally used BiSSE to reconstruct ancestral states within squamate reptiles and reached surprising conclusions regarding the evolution of toepads within Gekkota and viviparity across Squamata. We used this new method to demonstrate that there are many shifts in diversification rates across squamates. We then fit various HiSSE submodels and null models to the state and phylogenetic data and reconstructed states under these models. We found that there is no single, consistent signal for state-dependent diversification associated with toepads in gekkotans or viviparity across all squamates. Our reconstructions show limited support for the recently proposed hypotheses that toepads evolved multiple times independently in Gekkota and that transitions from viviparity to oviparity are common in Squamata. Our results highlight the importance of considering an adequate pool of models and null models when estimating diversification rate parameters and reconstructing ancestral states.