Postdoctoral Fellow

Meta-analysis and the comparative phylogenetic method

PI(s): Marc J. Lajeunesse
Start Date: 1-Oct-2008
End Date: 30-Sep-2010
Keywords: meta-analysis, comparative methods, community ecology

Meta-analysis is the requisite method for synthesizing published research in the medical, social and educational sciences, and approaches to meta-analysis in ecology have drawn heavily from these fields. However, a unique and emerging challenge for evolutionary biology is the lack of a method to synthesize data across studies while simultaneously accounting for phylogenetic non-independence of taxa. Phylogenetic non-independence arises from homology, the phenotypic similarity of taxa due to shared ancestry, and treating taxa as independent in comparative analyses violates assumptions of statistics.

Given that an explicit goal of recent meta-analyses on the prevalence of tradeoffs, inbreeding depression, and genetic load is to include a diversity of taxa and to generalize across a broad range of species, then phylogenetic non-independence may threaten the validity of conclusions drawn from such reviews.

The goal of this project is to (a) develop statistics for phylogenetically-independent meta-analysis, (b) assess the prevalence of phylogenetic non-independence in published meta-analyses, and (c) develop software for these statistics.

Please visit Marc's website for further details on this and other projects:

Related products

  • Evolution Conference 2009 (Moscow, Idaho) -- Talk entitled: "Integrating phylogenetic information into meta-analysis"
  • Co-instructor for the NESCent summer course an "Introduction to Meta-analysis in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology" with Jessica Gurevitch (SUNY Stony Brook) and Kerrie Mengersen (University of Newcastle).