What affects power to estimate speciation rate shifts?

Ullasa Kodandaramaiah, Gopal Murali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The development of methods to estimate rates of speciation and extinction from time-calibrated phylogenies has revolutionized evolutionary biology by allowing researchers to correlate diversification rate shifts with causal factors. A growing number of researchers are interested in testing whether the evolution of a trait or a trait variant has influenced speciation rate, and three modelling methods-BiSSE, MEDUSA and BAMM-have been widely used in such studies. We simulated phylogenies with a single speciation rate shift each, and evaluated the power of the three methods to detect these shifts. We varied the degree of increase in speciation rate (speciation rate asymmetry), the number of tips, the tip-ratio bias (ratio of number of tips with each character state) and the relative age in relation to overall tree age when the rate shift occurred. All methods had good power to detect rate shifts when the rate asymmetry was strong and the sizes of the two lineages with the distinct speciation rates were large. Even when lineage size was small, power was good when rate asymmetry was high. In our simulated scenarios, small lineage sizes appear to affectBAMMmost strongly. Tip-ratio influenced the accuracy of speciation rate estimation but did not have a strong effect on power to detect rate shifts. Based on our results, we provide suggestions to users of these methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere5495
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • BAMM
  • BiSSE
  • Diversification
  • Key innovation
  • Macroevolution
  • Phylogenetics
  • Rate shift
  • Simulation
  • Speciation rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'What affects power to estimate speciation rate shifts?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this