Liam Revell
Professor of Biology
University of Massachusetts Boston

"Some observations about ancestral state reconstruction of discrete phenotypic characters"

Wednesday, Jan 10, 2024


Ancestral state reconstruction involves estimating the unknown internal node conditions of a phenotypic attribute mapped onto the tips of a reconstructed phylogenetic tree. In my talk, I'll introduce models of discrete phenotypic trait evolution on trees, describe different methods of statistical inference of ancestral states based on these models, address some limitations of ancestral character estimation using trait data, and consider several new character models, including a rate heterogeneous model and a hidden-rates (hidden Markov) model. Lastly, I'll apply ancestral state estimation to the analysis of parity mode and limb evolution of squamate reptiles.

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