Species traits may influence rates of speciation and extinction, affecting both the patterns of diversification among lineages and the distribution of traits among species. Existing likelihood approaches for detecting differential diversification require complete phylogenies; that is, every extant species must be present in a well-resolved phylogeny. We developed 2 likelihood methods that can be used to infer the effect of a trait on speciation and extinction without complete phylogenetic information, generalizing the recent binary-state speciation and extinction method. Our approaches can be used where a phylogeny can be reasonably assumed to be a random sample of extant species or where all extant species are included but some are assigned only to terminal unresolved clades. We explored the effects of decreasing phylogenetic resolution on the ability of our approach to detect differential diversification within a Bayesian framework using simulated phylogenies. Differential diversification caused by an asymmetry in speciation rates was nearly as well detected with only 50% of extant species phylogenetically resolved as with complete phylogenetic knowledge. We demonstrate our unresolved clade method with an analysis of sexual dimorphism and diversification in shorebirds (Charadriiformes). Our methods allow for the direct estimation of the effect of a trait on speciation and extinction rates using incompletely resolved phylogenies.
- Bayesian inference
- Birth-death process