Interpreting the Evolutionary Regression: The Interplay Between Observational and Biological Errors in Phylogenetic Comparative Studies
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2012

Regressions of biological variables across species are rarely perfect. Usually, there are residual deviations from the estimated model relationship, and such deviations commonly show a pattern of phylogenetic correlations indicating that they have biological causes. We discuss the origins and effects of phylogenetically correlated biological variation in regression studies. In particular, we discuss the interplay of biological deviations with deviations due to observational or measurement errors, which are also important in comparative studies based on estimated species means. We show how bias in estimated evolutionary regressions can arise from several sources, including phylogenetic inertia and either observational or biological error in the predictor variables. We show how all these biases can be estimated and corrected for in the presence of phylogenetic correlations. We present general formulas for incorporating measurement error in linear models with correlated data. We also show how alternative regression models, such as major axis and reduced major axis regression, which are often recommended when there is error in predictor variables, are strongly biased when there is biological variation in any part of the model. We argue that such methods should never be used to estimate evolutionary or allometric regression slopes.

Adaptation

patterns

selection

phylogenetic comparative method

models

brain-size

within-species variation

adaptation

allometry

measurement error

major-axis regression

allometry

interspecific data

contrasts

metaanalysis

Författare

T. F. Hansen

Universitetet i Oslo

Krzysztof Bartoszek

Chalmers, Matematiska vetenskaper, matematisk statistik

Göteborgs universitet

Systematic Biology

1063-5157 (ISSN) 1076-836X (eISSN)

Vol. 61 3 413-425

Ämneskategorier

Biologiska vetenskaper

DOI

10.1093/sysbio/syr122