Data from: On the complexity of triggering evolutionary radiations
Recent developments in phylogenetic methods have made it possible to reconstruct evolutionary radiations from extant taxa, but identifying the triggers of radiations is still problematic. Here, we propose a conceptual framework to explore the role of variables that may impact radiations. We classify the variables into extrinsic conditions vs intrinsic traits, whether they provide background conditions, trigger the radiation, or modulate the radiation. We used three clades representing angiosperm phylogenetic and structural diversity (Ericaceae, Fagales and Poales) as test groups. We located radiation events, selected variables potentially associated with diversification, and inferred the temporal sequences of evolution. We found 13 shifts in diversification regimes in the three clades. We classified the associated variables, and determined whether they originated before the relevant radiation (backgrounds), originated simultaneously with the radiations (triggers), or evolved later (modulators). By applying this conceptual framework, we establish that radiations require both extrinsic conditions and intrinsic traits, but that the sequence of these is not important. We also show that diversification drivers can be detected by being more variable within a radiation than conserved traits that only allow occupation of a new habitat. This framework facilitates exploration of the causative factors of evolutionary radiations.