Niche evolution and adaptive radiation: testing the order of trait divergence

D D Ackerly, Dylan Schwilk, C O Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


n the course of an adaptive radiation, the evolution of niche parameters is of particular interest for understanding modes of speciation and the consequences for coexistence of related species within communities. We pose a general question: In the course of an evolutionary radiation, do traits related to within-community niche differences (α niche) evolve before or after differentiation of macrohabitat affinity or climatic tolerances (β niche)? Here we introduce a new test to address this question, based on a modification of the method of independent contrasts. The divergence order test (DOT) is based on the average age of the nodes on a tree, weighted by the absolute magnitude of the contrast at each node for a particular trait. The comparison of these weighted averages reveals whether large divergences for one trait have occurred earlier or later in the course of diversification, relative to a second trait; significance is determined by bootstrapping from maximum-likelihood ancestra
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S50-S61
StatePublished - 2006


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