Reconstructing Ecological Niche Evolution via Ancestral State Reconstruction with Uncertainty Incorporated

Hannah Owens, Vivian Ribiero, Erin Saupe, Marlon E. Cobos, Peter Hosner, Jacob Cooper, Abdallah Samy, Vijay Barve, Narayani Barve, Carlos Muñoz & A. Townsend Peterson
Reconstructing ecological niche evolution can provide insight into the biogeography and diversification of evolving lineages. However, comparative phylogenetic methods can infer the history of ecological niche evolution inaccurately because (1) species’ niches are often poorly characterized; and (2) phylogenetic comparative methods rely on niche summary statistics rather than full estimates of species’ environmental tolerances. Here we propose a new framework for coding ecological niches and reconstructing their evolution that explicitly acknowledges and incorporates the uncertainty...
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