Reconstructing shifts in diversification rates on phylogenetic trees

Michael J. Sanderson, Michael J. Donoghue

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


Few issues in evolutionary biology have received as much attention over the years or have generated as much controversy as those involving evolutionary rates. One unresolved issue is whether or not shifts in speciation and/or extinction rates are closely tied to the origin of 'key' innovations in evolution. This discussion has long been dominated by 'time-based' methods using data from the fossil record. Recently, however, attention has shifted to 'tree-based' methods, in which time, if it plays any role at all, is incorporated secondarily, usually based on molecular data. Tests of hypotheses about key innovations do require information about phylogenetic relationships, and some of these tests can be implemented without any information about time. However, every effort should be made to obtain information about time, which greatly increases the power of such tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-20
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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