Phylogenetic diversity and biodiversity indices on phylogenetic networks

Kristina Wicke, Mareike Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In biodiversity conservation it is often necessary to prioritize the species to conserve. Existing approaches to prioritization, e.g. the Fair Proportion Index and the Shapley Value, are based on phylogenetic trees and rank species according to their contribution to overall phylogenetic diversity. However, in many cases evolution is not treelike and thus, phylogenetic networks have been developed as a generalization of phylogenetic trees, allowing for the representation of non-treelike evolutionary events, such as hybridization. Here, we extend the concepts of phylogenetic diversity and phylogenetic diversity indices from phylogenetic trees to phylogenetic networks. On the one hand, we consider the treelike content of a phylogenetic network, e.g. the (multi)set of phylogenetic trees displayed by a network and the so-called lowest stable ancestor tree associated with it. On the other hand, we derive the phylogenetic diversity of subsets of taxa and biodiversity indices directly from the internal structure of the network. We consider both approaches that are independent of so-called inheritance probabilities as well as approaches that explicitly incorporate these probabilities. Furthermore, we introduce our software package NetDiversity, which is implemented in Perl and allows for the calculation of all generalized measures of phylogenetic diversity and generalized phylogenetic diversity indices established in this note that are independent of inheritance probabilities. We apply our methods to a phylogenetic network representing the evolutionary relationships among swordtails and platyfishes (Xiphophorus: Poeciliidae), a group of species characterized by widespread hybridization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-90
Number of pages11
JournalMathematical Biosciences
StatePublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Fair proportion index
  • Hybridization
  • Phylogenetic diversity
  • Phylogenetic networks
  • Shapley value


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