Marginal Likelihood Estimate Comparisons to Obtain Optimal Species Delimitations in Silene sect. Cryptoneurae (Caryophyllaceae)
Ertekin, Alaattin Selçuk
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Coalescent-based inference of phylogenetic relationships among species takes into account gene tree incongruence due to incomplete lineage sorting, but for such methods to make sense species have to be correctly delimited. Because alternative assignments of individuals to species result in different parametric models, model selection methods can be applied to optimise model of species classification. In a Bayesian framework, Bayes factors (BF), based on marginal likelihood estimates, can be used to test a range of possible classifications for the group under study. Here, we explore BF and the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) to discriminate between different species classifications in the flowering plant lineage Silene sect. Cryptoneurae (Caryophyllaceae). We estimated marginal likelihoods for different species classification models via the Path Sampling (PS), Stepping Stone sampling (SS), and Harmonic Mean Estimator (HME) methods implemented in BEAST. To select among alternative species classification models a posterior simulation-based analog of the AIC through Markov chain Monte Carlo analysis (AICM) was also performed. The results are compared to outcomes from the software BP&P. Our results agree with another recent study that marginal likelihood estimates from PS and SS methods are useful for comparing different species classifications, and strongly support the recognition of the newly described species S. ertekinii.