Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, Statistics
Journal or Book Title
Evolutionary morphologists frequently wish to understand the extent to which organisms are integrated, and whether the strength of morphological integration among subsets of phenotypic variables differ among taxa or other groups. However, comparisons of the strength of integration across datasets are difficult, in part because the summary measures that characterize these patterns (RV and rPLS) are dependent both on sample size and on the number of variables. As a solution to this issue we propose a standardized test statistic (a z-score) for measuring the degree of morphological integration between sets of variables. The approach is based on a partial least squares analysis of trait covariation, and its permutation-based sampling distribution. Under the null hypothesis of a random association of variables, the method displays a constant expected value and confidence intervals for datasets of differing sample sizes and variable number, thereby providing a consistent measure of integration suitable for comparisons across datasets. A two-sample test is also proposed to statistically determine whether levels of integration differ between datasets, and an empirical example examining cranial shape integration in Mediterranean wall lizards illustrates its use. Some extensions of the procedure are also discussed.
Adams, Dean C. and Collyer, Michael L., "On the comparison of the strength of morphological integration across morphometric datasets" (2016). Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology Publications. 201.