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EcoPhyloMapper: an R package for integrating geographic ranges, phylogeny, and morphology


Title, Pascal; Swiderski, Donald; Zelditch, Miriam (2022), EcoPhyloMapper: an R package for integrating geographic ranges, phylogeny, and morphology, Dryad, Dataset,


1. Spatial patterns of species richness, phylogenetic and morphological diversity are key to answering many questions in ecology and evolution. Across spatial scales, geographic and environmental features, as well as evolutionary history and phenotypic traits, are thought to play roles in shaping both local species communities and regional assemblages. By examining these geographic patterns, it is possible to infer how different axes of biodiversity influence one another, and how their interaction with abiotic factors has led to the spatial distribution of species assemblages – and their attributes – that we observe in the present. Although there has been interest in this area of research for some time, it has recently become more tractable to include multivariate shape data in such analyses. Shape information has the potential to provide a more direct measure of the functional morphology of species as compared to individual trait measurements and might be more relevant to understanding community composition. However, few tools currently exist to explore geographic patterns of both phylogenetic and shape diversity.

2. We present the ecoPhyloMapper R package (epm) that aims to streamline the handling of geographic range polygons or point occurrences and integration of resulting species metacommunities with phylogenetic trees and morphological shape.

3. Geographic maps can be generated that demonstrate spatial patterns in diversity metrics pertaining to phylogenetic similarity, multivariate shape similarity and disparity, and combinations of the two. Patterns of taxonomic, phylogenetic and shape disparity turnover can also be visualized. Biodiversity indices summarized across grid cells can easily be exported to GIS software as well as to other R packages that specialize in community assembly or geospatial statistics.

4. This R package will facilitate the geographic exploration of multivariate shape data in concert with phylogenetic diversity, which will in turn support macroecological research exploring how species assemblages are structured. Further, this R package should prove useful across a wide range of macroecological applications that extend beyond the study of morphology.

Usage Notes

Note that the tutorials and walk-throughs are available on the related Zenodo page: