The effects of sampling on the inference of the timing of diversifications (Visiting Scholar)
The fossil record provides information on the temporal distribution of both extinct and extant taxa, allowing us to estimate diversification rates in the past and to test hypotheses of the timing and correlates of diversification. However, fossil sampling can be highly patchy, affecting the reliability of estimates of diversification rates. I propose to model sampling and speciation rates simultaneously in carnivores & ruminants by applying process- and sampling-oriented methodologies to fossil occurrence data. Results from this novel analysis will be compared with recently published molecular phylogenies of these mammal clades to explore the consistency of inferences based on different approaches. Incomplete and biased sampling is also a concern in molecular phylogenies. I propose to explore, via simulations, how best to sample extant and extinct lineages for both phylogenetic and paleobiological analyses. By focusing on the strengths of these two types of analyses, I hope to find ways in which they can complement each other in the estimation of diversification rates.