Isle of Palms, SC.
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Liam J. Revell
Department of Biology
University of Massachusetts Boston
I have moved to the
Department of Biology at the University of Massachusetts - Boston
as of January, 2011. See my lab page here.

Research : (publications, grants, research description, other activities)


Revell, L. J. 2010. Phylogenetic signal and linear regression on species data. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 1: 319-329.  PDF  supplementary appendix

Mahler, D. L., L. J. Revell, R. E. Glor, and J. B. Losos. 2010. Ecological opportunity and the rate of morphological evolution in the diversification of Greater Antillean anoles. Evolution 64: 2731-2745.  PDF  supplementary appendix  cover (photo by L. Mahler)

Lindenfors, P., L. J. Revell, and C. L. Nunn. 2010. Sexual dimorphism in primate aerobic capacity: A phylogenetic test. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23: 1183-1194.  PDF  supplementary appendix

Johnson, M. A., L. J. Revell, and J. B. Losos. 2010. Behavioral convergence and adaptive radiation: Effects of habitat use on territorial behavior in Anolis lizards. Evolution 64: 1151-1159.  PDF

Lovely, K. R., D. L. Mahler, and L. J. Revell. 2010. The rate and pattern of tail autotomy in five species of Puerto Rican anoles. Evolutionary Ecology Research 12: 67-88.  PDF (link)

Revell, L. J., D. L. Mahler, J. R. Sweeney, M. Sobotka, V. E. Fancher, and J. B. Losos. 2010. Nonlinear selection and the evolution of variances and covariances for continuous characters in an anole. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23: 407-421.  PDF  supplementary appendix

Revell, L. J. 2009. Size-correction and principal components for interspecific comparative studies. Evolution 63: 3258-3268.  PDF  supplementary appendix  code

Revell, L. J., and D. C. Collar. 2009. Phylogenetic analysis of the evolutionary correlation using likelihood. Evolution 63: 1090-1100.  PDF

Revell, L. J., L. J. Harmon, and D. C. Collar. 2008. Phylogenetic signal, evolutionary process, and rate. Systematic Biology 57: 591-601.  PDF

Revell, L. J. 2008. On the analysis of evolutionary change along single branches in a phylogeny. American Naturalist 172: 140-147.  PDF  supplementary appendix

Revell, L. J. and L. J. Harmon. 2008. Testing quantitative genetic hypotheses about the evolutionary rate matrix for continuous characters. Evolutionary Ecology Research 10: 311-321.  PDF

Revell, L. J. and A. S. Harrison. 2008. PCCA: A program for phylogenetic canonical correlation analysis. Bioinformatics 24: 1018-1020.  PDF

Johnson, M. A., M. Leal, L. Rodríguez Schettino, A. Chamizo Lara, L. J. Revell, and J. B. Losos. 2008. A phylogenetic perspective on foraging mode evolution in West Indian Anolis lizards. Animal Behaviour 75: 555-563.  PDF

Revell, L. J., M. A. Johnson, J. A. Schulte II, J. J. Kolbe, and J. B. Losos. 2007. A phylogenetic test for adaptive convergence in rock-dwelling lizards. Evolution 61: 2898-2912.  PDF  supplementary material

Revell, L. J. 2007. Testing the genetic constraint hypothesis in a phylogenetic context: A simulation study. Evolution 61: 2720-2727.  PDF  supplementary material

Revell, L. J. 2007. The G matrix under fluctuating correlational mutation and selection. Evolution 61: 1857-1872.  PDF

Revell, L. J., L. J. Harmon, R. B. Langerhans, and J. J. Kolbe. 2007. A phylogenetic approach to determining the importance of constraint on phenotypic evolution in the neotropical lizard, Anolis cristatellus. Evolutionary Ecology Research 9: 261-282.

Revell, L. J., L. J. Harmon, and R. E. Glor. 2005. Underparameterized model of sequence evolution leads to bias in the estimation of diversification rates from molecular phylogenies. Systematic Biology 54: 973-983.  PDF

Submitted Articles

Revell, L. J., D. L. Mahler, P. R. Peres-Neto, and B. D. Redelings. Submitted. A new method for identifying exceptional evolutionary diversification.

Slater, G. J., L. J. Harmon, P. Joyce, L. J. Revell, and M. E. Alfaro. Submitted. Using Approximate Bayesian Computation to fit models of continuous trait evolution and lineage diversification to incompletely resolved phylogenetic trees.

Sanger, T. J., L. J. Revell, J. J. Gibson-Brown, and J. B. Losos. Submitted. Repeated modification of early limb morphogenesis programs underlies the evolution of relative long bone length variation among Anolis lizards.

Kolbe, J. J., L. J. Revell, E. D. Brodie III, and J. B. Losos. Submitted. Patterns of phenotypic integration evolve and bias morphological diversification in Anolis ecomorphs.


A Comparative Analysis of Phenotypic and Genetic Differentiation in two Species of Puerto Rican Anoles (supplementary). 2008. Liam J. Revell. (DRCLAS Term-Time Research Travel Grant) $1,500.

A Comparative Analysis of Phenotypic and Genetic Differentiation in two Species of Puerto Rican Anoles. 2008. Liam J. Revell. (MCZ Putnam Expedition Grant) $3,000.

Phylogenetic Comparative Analysis of Genetic Constraint. 2008. Liam J. Revell. (National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, NSERC, post-doctoral fellowship) $80,000 CDN (declined).

The Evolution and Importance of Genetic Constraint in a Puerto Rican lizard, Anolis cristatellus. 2007. Liam J. Revell. (MCZ Putnam Expedition Grant) $8,300.

Dissertation Research: The Evolution and Importance of Genetic Constraint in Anolis cristatellus. 2006. PI: Jonathan B. Losos; co PI: Liam J. Revell. (NSF-DDIG) $11,690.

Past and Present Research Interests

Phylogenies and the Comparative Method -

I'm interested in using phylogenies to make inferences about the evolutionary process for continuous characters. In particular, I'm interested in extending existing methods and developing new methods for the analysis of multivariate phenotypic data in a phylogenetic context. In the past, this work was performed in collaboration with Luke Harmon at the University of Idaho, and Dave Collar and Charlie Nunn at Harvard. I am presently continuing to work on new phylogenetic comparative method development in my postdoctoral appointment at NESCent.

Quantitative Genetics and the Evolution of the G matrix -

I'm interested in phenotypic evolution in a phylogenetic context and in particular the role played by genetic constraint due to the genetic correlations among characters (which can also be expressed as the G matrix, or additive genetic variance-covariance matrix).
In my research, I have used the complementary approaches of numerical simulations, theory, and empirical work. The empirical aspect of this work is being conducted on Anolis lizards in collaboration with Butch Brodie III at the University of Virginia and former Losos Lab graduate student Jason Kolbe at the University of California, Berkeley.
It is supported wholly or in part by National Science Foundation grants DEB-0722485 and DEB-0519777.

Computational Methods in Ecology -

I'm interested in applying new computational approaches to analyze problems in evolutionary ecology. For example, in a recent article my co-authors and I used simulation based likelihood optimization to compare alternative models for tail loss due to predation in five species of Anolis lizards on Puerto Rico.

Sensory Drive and the Evolution of visual signals in Anolis marmoratus, the Guadeloupean anole -

My undergraduate thesis work focussed on the measurement and analysis of color and pattern variation in the Lesser Antillean anole, Anolis marmoratus. 11 or 12 subspecies are described from this tiny archipelago, with populations primarily differentiated for male secondary sexual characteristics, such as head and body color, dewlap color, and pattern. Phenotypic differentiation may have occurred recently or in parapatry with gene flow, as indicated by low levels of mitochondrial and nuclear genetic divergence among some subspecies. This work was performed under the fantastic guidance of Chris Schneider at Boston University. Although no publications have resulted from this work as yet, I would love to one day return to this system and finish the work that we started.

Model of Molecular Evolution and the Estimation of Diversification Rates -

With Luke Harmon and Rich Glor, I conducted a simulation study investigating the effect of underparameterization of the model of sequence evolution on the estimation of diversification rates from molecular phylogenies. We showed that using an underparameterized model of sequence evolution during phylogenetic inference can lead to the false conclusion that the speciation rate has decreased over time. Although I do not in general work on molecular evolution, I continue to be very interested in how sensitivity to model assumptions can influence our inferences in phylogenetic biology.

Other Professional Activities

I am a member of the American Society of Naturalists, the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, the Society for the Study of Evolution, and the Society of Systematic Biologists. I have reviewed articles for American Naturalist, Belgian Journal of Zoology, Ecography, Evolution, Functional Ecology, Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Molecular Ecology Notes, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Systematic Biology, Systematic Botany, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, and several other journals. I have also acted as an ad hoc reviewer for the National Science Foundation.

I've written and made available several computer programs for the analysis of evolutionary data. All of my older programs are written in the C programming language, and many are distributed with detailed manuals. Due to the growing popularity of the R programming language and computing environment in evolutionary biology I have started to work extensively in this language. I have also created a beta test version distribution page for my programming activities in this language, and I welcome feedback from users on these programs as the list of distributed functions grows over time.

I'm interested in evolutionary theory. I've written some matlab functions for population genetics and I'll add to this list as time allows.

I'm also an occasional contributor to the Dechronization evolution blog. Our blog was recently described in an article by Adam Goldstein entitled Blogging Evolution. I also recently created a comparative method development blog, which can be viewed here.

Professional Appointments :

2009-2010 National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), Postdoctoral Fellow
2011-present University of Massachusetts Boston, Assistant Professor

Education :

1999-2003 B.A. Biology, Boston University  (Adv: Christopher J. Schneider)
2003-2006 M.A. Ecology, Evolution, and Population Biology, Washington University in St. Louis  (Adv: Jonathan B. Losos)
2006-2009 Ph.D. Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University  (Adv: Jonathan B. Losos)
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Last updated February 25, 2011.