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Distribution of phylogenetic diversity under random extinction

Presented by: 
B Faller [Canterbury]
Wednesday 19th December 2007 - 10:20 to 10:40
INI Seminar Room 1
Session Chair: 
Elizabeth Allman

Phylogenetic diversity is a measure for describing how much of an evolutionary tree is spanned by a subset of species. If one applies this to the (unknown) subset of current species that will still be present at some future time, then this 'future phylogenetic diversity' provides a measure of the impact of various extinction scenarios in biodiversity conservation. We have studied the distribution of future phylogenetic diversity under a simple model of extinction (a generalized 'field of bullets' model). In this talk, I present our finding that the distribution of future phylogenetic diversity converges to a normal distribution as the number of species grows. This result is significant for biodiversity conservation.

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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons