Projects

This website provides a Bayesian inference of primate phylogeny, odd-toed and even-toed ungulates phylogeny, carnivorans phylogeny, and cetaceans phylogeny. In the near future, we may also include additional mammalian orders. The goal of the 10kTrees Project is to infer a set of phylogenetic trees from available data that is appropriate for comparative research. At this site, users can download a consensus tree, or they can download up to at least 10,000 trees drawn from the Markov chain sample and pruned to species of interest. Importantly, the 10kTrees Project is a work in progress and we envision regular updates to the dataset, trees and website.

The Global Mammal Parasite Database is a compilation of records of parasites and their hosts that have been documented in the published scientific literature. As the quote above suggests, mammals are an extremely well-studied group of animals, and there are thousands of published reports and scientific studies describing their parasites and the abundance of parasites in wild populations.

We have systematically searched the literature on mammalian parasites to produce three primary databases covering primates, carnivores and terrestrial hooved mammals (which includes all perissodactyls and artiodactyls). All of the entries in this database come from wild populations. In the future we will be expanding out taxonomic coverage to other groups of mammals.

Many questions in comparative biology require that new data be collected, either to build a comparative database for the first time or to augment existing data. Given resource limitations in collecting data, which species should be studied to increase the size of comparative datasets? By taking the hypotheses, other comparative data relevant to the hypotheses, and an estimate of phylogeny, we show that a method of “phylogenetic targeting” can systematically identify the species to study. Phylogenetic targeting selects potential candidates for future data collection based on a flexible scoring system that maximizes the differences in pairwise comparisons while taking potentially confounding variables into account. The method can control for confounding variables, or it can maximize the power to test competing hypotheses. We used simulations to assess the performance of phylogenetic targeting, as compared to a less systematic approach of randomly selecting species (as might occur when data have been collected on species without regard to variation in the traits of interest). The simulations revealed that selection of species using phylogenetic targeting increased the statistical power to detect correlations and that power increased with the number of species in the clade even when the number of samples collected was not increased. We also developed a web-based, freely available and publicly accessible computer program called PhyloTargeting to implement the approach. It provides a user-friendly interface, a variety of options to analyze the dataset, and graphical visualizations of the results.

The Phylogeny of Sleep website includes:

  • A searchable database of sleep characteristics on 127 mammalian species as of June 29, 2007
  • Information on current research projects including an edited book on the Evolution of Sleep and plans to test hypotheses on the evolutionary function of sleep
  • Information on the research team who produced this website
  • A list of relevant publications
  • Supplementary information on data sources and data quality parameters for the core data set

An online supplement to The Comparative Method in Evolutionary Anthropology and Biology, by Charles Nunn.

2010 Wiki
2011 Wiki
2012 Wiki