Using molecular phylogenies in island biogeography: it's about time

Published online: 
23 February 2018

Valente Luis, Phillimore Albert B., Etienne Rampal S.

Island biogeography aims at inferring the processes that govern the assembly of communities in space and time. Molecular phylogenies can tell us about the timings of island colonisations and diversification, but have rarely been used for the estimation of colonisation, speciation and extinction rates on islands. In this study we illustrate the effects of including phylogenetic information with the Galápagos avifauna. We find that by including colonisation times we obtain much more precise and accurate parameter estimates than if we rely solely on species richness and endemicity status. Inclusion of branching times improves estimates even further. As molecular phylogenies become increasingly available, we urge biogeographers to start using more of the information they contain.

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Doi
10.1111/ecog.03503