Quantifying Biodiversity with Phylogenies

Abstract

A phylogeny is simply a graph with bits of biodiversity (e.g. species) represented by the nodes (usually the tips), and with the expected amount of change that has accumulated between the bits represented by the sum of the lengths of the edges linking them. Two nodes that are closer on the graph should be more redundant than two species that are more distant. This is the simple motivation for much of our work: How can we test and use this simple prediction to better quantify and conserve biodiversity? We do theory on the expected shapes of these graphs, we build these graphs, we map these graphs onto the landscape, and we compare our expectations regarding redundancy with reality.

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