A new species diffusion and ancestral range reconstruction model: the spatially dependent walk model

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Ancestral ranges of species are essential to understand major evolutionary processes. Hence, following evolutionary biologists’ quest to understand the origin of life and the role of the biotic and abiotic factors in shaping the evolution of life, we are developing a novel framework for explicitly reconstructing ancestral distribution ranges of species. Our new Spatially Dependent Walk (SDEW) model, inspired by the previous Landscape Based Geographical (LBG) model, assumes that range evolution is a diffusion process evolving along a phylogeny and across the geographical landscape. SDEW models the diffusion as a continuous time Markov chain (CTMC). The simplest possible SDEW model assumes that the dispersal rate is constant over time and geographical landscape. Other flavors of SDEW can relax the constant-rate assumption by allowing rates to vary across geographical landscape and time. This flexibility enables testing different hypotheses for how spatial barriers and niche dependence affect range evolution over spatio-temporal scales. We will demonstrate the functionality of SDEW by reconstructing range evolution of Madagascan beetles and Madagascan lemurs.
Period25 Jul 2022
Event titleWilli Hennig Society Meeting XXXIX
Event typeConference
LocationHelsinki, FinlandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational