Phylogenetic inertia is a difficult issue in evolutionary biology because we have yet to reach a consensus about how to measure it. In this study a comparative approach is used to evaluate phylogenetic inertia in 14 demographic and morphological characters in 10 species and one subspecies of the genus Tithonia (Asteraceae). Three different methods, autocorrelational analysis, phylogenetic correlograms, and ancestor-state reconstruction, were used to evaluate phylogenetic inertia in these traits. Results were highly dependent on the method applied. Autoregression and phylogenetic eigenvector regression (PVR) methods found more inertia in morphological traits. In contrast, phylogenetic correlograms and ancestor-state reconstruction suggest that morphological characters exhibit less phylogenetic inertia than demographic ones. The differences between results are discussed and methods are compared in an effort to understand phylogenetic inertia more thoroughly.
Corresponding Editor: T. Markow