The cladistic basis for the phylogenetic diversity (PD) measure links evolutionary features to environmental gradients and supports broad applications of microbial ecology's "phylogenetic beta diversity" framework.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.3390/ijms10114723
The PD measure of phylogenetic diversity interprets branch lengths cladistically to make inferences about feature diversity. PD calculations extend conventional species-level ecological indices to the features level. The "phylogenetic beta diversity" framework developed by microbial ecologists calculates PD-dissimilarities between community localities. Interpretation of these PD-dissimilarities at the feature level explains the framework's success in producing ordinations revealing environmental gradients. An example gradients space using PD-dissimilarities illustrates how evolutionary features form unimodal response patterns to gradients. This features model supports new application of existing species-level methods that are robust to unimodal responses, plus novel applications relating to climate change, commercial products discovery, and community assembly.