Phylogeny, Regression, and the Allometry of Physiological Traits
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Type of Work13 pages
Citation of Original PublicationO'Connor, M. P., Agosta, S. J., Hansen, F., Kemp, S. J., Sieg, A. E., McNair, J. N., & Dunham, A. E. (January 01, 2007). Phylogeny, Regression, and the Allometry of Physiological Traits. The American Naturalist, 170, 3, 431.
Physiological and ecological allometries often pose linear regression problems characterized by (1) noncausal, phylogenetically autocorrelated independent (x) and dependent (y) variables (characters); (2) random variation in both variables; and (3) a focus on regression slopes (allometric exponents). Remedies for the phylogenetic autocorrelation of species values (phylogenetically independent contrasts) and variance structure of the data (reduced major axis [RMA] regression) have been developed, but most functional allometries are reported as ordinary least squares (OLS) regression without use of phylogenetically independent contrasts. We simulated Brownian diffusive evolution of functionally related characters and examined the importance of regression methodologies and phylogenetic contrasts in estimating regression slopes for phylogenetically constrained data. Simulations showed that both OLS and RMA regressions exhibit serious bias in estimated regression slopes under different circumstances but that a modified orthogonal (least squares variance-oriented residual [LSVOR]) regression was less biased than either OLS or RMA regressions. For strongly phylogenetically structured data, failure to use phylogenetic contrasts as regression data resulted in overestimation of the strength of the regression relationship and a significant increase in the variance of the slope estimate. Censoring of data sets by simulated extinction of taxa did not affect the importance of appropriate regression models or the use of phylogenetic contrasts.