Stochastic properties of generalised Yule models, with biodiversity applications
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The Yule model is a widely used speciation model in evolutionary biology. Despite its simplicity many aspects of the Yule model have not been explored mathematically. In this paper, we formalise two analytic approaches for obtaining probability densities of individual branch lengths of phylogenetic trees generated by the Yule model. These methods are flexible and permit various aspects of the trees produced by Yule models to be investigated. One of our methods is applicable to a broader class of evolutionary processes, namely the Bellman–Harris models. Our methods have many practical applications including biodiversity and conservation related problems. In this setting the methods can be used to characterise the expected rate of biodiversity loss for Yule trees, as well as the expected gain of including the phylogeny in conservation management. We briefly explore these applications.
KeywordsYule Phylogenetic diversity Tree Null model Biodiversity Extinction Bellman Harris
Mathematics Subject Classification (2000)92-08 60J80 05C05
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