Comparative Biology Papers

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This page serves as a repository for papers that have been suggested for the Seminar in Comparative Biology. If you add a paper, please (briefly) annotate your entry so that the rest of us know why you are including it.

Felsenstein, J. 1985. Phylogenies and the comparative method. American Naturalist 125:1-15.

This is the paper that introduced the Independence Contrasts approach to assessing confidence in evolutionary correlations between two continuous traits when the observational units (species) share some of their evolutionary history and thus cannot be considered independent samples.

Felsenstein, J. 2005. Using the quantitative genetic threshold model for inferences between and within species. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 360:1427-1434.

This paper introduces the threshhold model for analyzing discrete morphological traits. It is interesting because the discrete trait is viewed as changing states whenever an underlying Brownian motion process crosses a threshhold. Because the method allows estimation of variances and covariances of the underlying Brownian motion process, it has the potential to uncover the evolutionary correlation structure of a set of discrete traits, obviating the need (and the problems associated with) testing each pair of traits separately.

Hansen, T. F. 1997. Stabilizing selection and the comparative analysis of adaptation. Evolution 51(5): 1341-1350.

Describes a way to analyze the situation where one measures a continous trait in two discrete environments. Each of the environments is assumed to be associated with different optimal trait values, and the model allows the speed with which the continuous trait adapts to a change in environment to vary. An interesting alternative to independent contrasts. This model is incorporated in the software COMPARE.