Tuesday, December 12, 2006 - 10:30 AM

Tests for cospeciation: Explanations, how-to’s, and suggestions based on empirical data

Jessica Light, jlight@flmnh.ufl.edu, Florida Natural History Museum, Dickinson Hall, Gainesville, FL

In this talk, I discuss the utility of methodologies used to test for cospeciation by comparing tree-based (Brooks Parsimony Analysis, Reconciliation Analysis-TreeMap, Generalized Parsimony-TreeFitter), distance-based (ParaFit), and data-based (KH and SH tests, likelihood ratio test, and incongruence length difference test) methods. All of these methods attempt to explain the history between associated taxa (e.g., hosts and their parasites). Tree-based methods compare topologies of host and parasite trees, whereas distance-based methods use distance matrices and host associations to determine if hosts and parasites are nonrandomly associated. Lastly, data-based techniques rely on the data used to construct host and parasite phylogenies to determine if the data support identical topologies. Each of these methods has their advantages and disadvantages, but the their utility really depends on the questions being asked and the data at hand. By using empirical examples, I attempt to demonstrate when these cospeciation methods are most appropriate.