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Seminar 4 Sept: Bayesian Inference of Speciation and Extinction using the Fossil Record

posted Aug 20, 2013, 7:34 AM by Johan Nylander
(From Aelys Humphreys, SU)

Dear all,

On 4 Sep, Daniele Silvestro from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Gothenburg University will give a seminar entitled Bayesian Inference of Speciation and Extinction using the Fossil Record.

Date: 4 Sept
Time: 15.00-16.00
Place: Room 232b, Lilla Frescativägen 5 (old Botanical Institute, "botan").

All welcome!

Analytical advances in molecular phylogenetics and paleobiology have provided us with tools to estimate the tempo and mode of species diversification. However, most studies have relied on a single source of data: either molecular phylogenies or fossil occurrences. Few attempts have yet been made to compare results based on evidence from both, despite large discrepancies in the patterns recovered for almost all groups of organisms. This situation might derive from limited interaction between molecular systematists and paleontologists, but also from widely different methods and assumptions employed, making comparisons statistically difficult. Here I present a new hierarchical Bayesian framework to jointly estimate times of origin and disappearance of taxa and rates of speciation and extinction in a process-based analysis of the fossil record. Speciation and extinction rates can vary through time and their temporal dynamics can be decoupled. Simulations show that model selection and parameter estimation are robust in the case of incomplete taxon sampling. The method is applied on empirical data to investigate the Cenozoic diversification of different groups of mammals. Finally I will outline the potential of this method toward an integrated approach that combines phylogenetic and fossil information to infer macroevolutionary processes.

We will go for dinner afterwards. Let me ( know if you would like to join us, for a chance to talk to Daniele.