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Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 751–768 | Cite as

A multivariate phylogenetic comparative method incorporating a flexible function between discrete and continuous traits

  • Yuki HabaEmail author
  • Nobuyuki Kutsukake
Methods

Abstract

One major challenge of using the phylogenetic comparative method (PCM) is the analysis of the evolution of interrelated continuous and discrete traits in a single multivariate statistical framework. In addition, more intricate parameters such as branch-specific directional selection have rarely been integrated into such multivariate PCM frameworks. Here, originally motivated to analyze the complex evolutionary trajectories of group size (continuous variable) and social systems (discrete variable) in African subterranean rodents, we develop a flexible approach using approximate Bayesian computation (ABC). Specifically, our multivariate ABC-PCM method allows the user to flexibly model an underlying latent evolutionary function between continuous and discrete traits. The ABC-PCM also simultaneously incorporates complex evolutionary parameters such as branch-specific selection. This study highlights the flexibility of ABC-PCMs in analyzing the evolution of phenotypic traits interrelated in a complex manner.

Keywords

Phylogenetic comparative method (PCM) Approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) Multivariate analysis Social evolution African mole rats 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Dustin R. Rubenstein, Rafael Maia, and Margaret E. O’Brien at Columbia University and Jessica Zung at Princeton University for useful comments and advice. Masahito Tsuboi at University of Oslo also provided useful insights on the earlier version of manuscript. Two reviewers gave detailed and helpful comments on the manuscript. This study was financially supported by MEXT (No. 25711025) to K. N.

Author contributions

YH and KN conceived, designed, and performed the analysis. Both discussed the result and wrote the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Both authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10682_2019_10011_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (458 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 458 kb)
10682_2019_10011_MOESM2_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 15 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Evolutionary Studies of Biosystems, SokendaiThe Graduate University for Advanced StudiesHayamaJapan

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