Comparative analysis by independent contrasts (CAIC): an Apple Macintosh application for analysing comparative data

Purvis A & Rambaut A

(1995) Comput Appl Biosci 11, 247-251.

CAIC is an application for the Apple Macintosh which allows the valid analysis of comparative (multi-species) data sets that include continuous variables. Comparison among species is the most common technique for testing hypotheses of how organisms are adapted to their environments, but standard statistical tests like regression should not be used with species data. Such tests assume independence of data points, but related species often share traits by common descent rather than through independent adaptation. CAIC uses a phylogeny of the species in the data set to partition the variance among species into independent comparisons (technically, linear contrasts), each comparison being made at a different node in the phylogeny. There are two partitioning procedures-one used when all variables are continuous, the other when one variable is discrete, The resulting comparisons cart be analysed validly in standard statistical packages to test hypotheses about correlated evolution among traits, to estimate parameters such as allometric exponents, and to compare rates of evolution. Previous versions of the package have already been used widely, this version is simpler to use and works on a wider range of machines. The package and manual are freely available by anonymous ftp or front the authors.

Andrew Rambaut, 2007