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A Procedure To Extract Phylogenetic Information From Morphometric Data

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For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

To reconstruct a phylogeny, data with sufficient resolving power are necessary. When morphological or molecular data fail this criterion, other data types are needed. Morphometric characters can sometimes offer a solution. However, environmental effects due to differences in location have to be eliminated or at least reduced before these characters can be applied in phylogeny reconstruction. Here we present a new procedure to extract phylogenetic information from morphometric characters. The procedure is based on assigning weights to these characters. The procedure starts with a principal component analysis of the morphometric measurements. Then an analysis of variance (ANOVA) is done on principal components scores in order to determine species effects, environmental effects due to differences in location, and interaction effects. Subsequently, components are chosen for weighting characters on the grounds of two criteria. First, there must be only a significant species effect on their scores. Second, they have to account for a large proportion of total variance. The measurements are discretized by the homogeneous subset coding procedure. The discretized characters are weighted by means of the proportions of variance that are contributed to the chosen PC's. We used head measurements of haplochromines to test the procedure. Evaluations indicated that our procedure is capable of extracting phylogenetic information from morphometric data.

Affiliations: 1: (Institute of Evolutionary and Ecological Sciences, University of Leiden, PO Box 9516, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands


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