2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

The W Statistic: A New Approach for Testing the Relative Abundance Structure of Communities in a Phylogenetic Context
Tracey A. Blasingame
Dr. Jonathan C. Gering and Dr. Dean DeCock, Faculty Mentors

Phylogenetic clustering and overdispersion are patterns of local community relatedness based on qualitative data (i.e., presence/absence) and a regional phylogeny of species. However, ecological theory is based heavily on species abundance, so there are potential advantages of incorporating quantitative (i.e., abundance) data into these measurements. We developed a new test statistic (W) that calculates phylogenetic patterns by weighting phylogenetic distance with respect to local and regional species abundances. Calculations of W were automated using SAS/IML and ADA 95. We compared W to the previously published Net Relatedness Index (NRI) and Nearest Taxon Index (NTI) to demonstrate the advantages of incorporating species abundances into phylogenetic community ecology. In situations where the local and regional abundances are fairly uniform, W yields results complimentary to NRI and NTI, but when certain species are rare or highly prevalent alternative conclusions should be expected.

Keywords: Phylogenetic Clustering, Phylogenetic Overdispersion, Statistics, Ecology, Evolution, Phylogeny

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 43-3
Location: VH 1432
Time: 3:15

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