A novel Bayesian method for inferring and interpreting the dynamics of adaptive landscapes from phylogenetic comparative data

A novel Bayesian method for inferring and interpreting the dynamics of adaptive landscapes from phylogenetic comparative data

Josef C Uyeda, Luke J Harmon

Our understanding of macroevolutionary patterns of adaptive evolution has greatly increased with the advent of large-scale phylogenetic comparative methods. Widely used Ornstein-Uhlenbeck (OU) models can describe an adaptive process of divergence and selection. However, inference of the dynamics of adaptive landscapes from comparative data is complicated by interpretational difficulties, lack of identifiability among parameter values and the common requirement that adaptive hypotheses must be assigned a priori. Here we develop a reversible-jump Bayesian method of fitting multi-optima OU models to phylogenetic comparative data that estimates the placement and magnitude of adaptive shifts directly from the data. We show how biologically informed hypotheses can be tested against this inferred posterior of shift locations using Bayes Factors to establish whether our a priori models adequately describe the dynamics of adaptive peak shifts. Furthermore, we show how the inclusion of informative priors can be used to restrict models to biologically realistic parameter space and test particular biological interpretations of evolutionary models. We argue that Bayesian model-fitting of OU models to comparative data provides a framework for integrating of multiple sources of biological data–such as microevolutionary estimates of selection parameters and paleontological timeseries–allowing inference of adaptive landscape dynamics with explicit, process-based biological interpretations.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s