Interspecies correlation for neutrally evolving traits
Journal article, 2012
A simple way to model phenotypic evolution is to assume that after splitting, the trait values of the sister species diverge as independent Brownian motions. Relying only on a prior distribution for the underlying species tree (conditioned on the number, n, of extant species) we study the random vector (X-1, ... , X-n) of the observed trait values. In this paper we derive compact formulae for the variance of the sample mean and the mean of the sample variance for the vector (X-1, ... , X-n). The key ingredient of these formulae is the correlation coefficient between two trait values randomly chosen from (X-1,X- ... , X-n). This interspecies correlation coefficient takes into account not only variation due to the random sampling of two species out of n and the stochastic nature of Brownian motion but also the uncertainty in the phylogenetic tree. The latter is modeled by a (supercritical or critical) conditioned branching process. In the critical case we modify the Aldous-Popovic model by assuming a proper prior for the time of origin.
Birth and death process
Phylogenetic comparative methods