Competitive exclusion embodies the idea of the first mover advantage where species or populations arriving first at a suitable location prevent secondary colonisation of the already occupied site.
While adaptation to environmental variables (e.g., temperature, altitude, etc.) is essential, the presence or absence of certain species at a particular location often depends on whether or not competing species co-occur. In particular, competition could explain observed patterns of low genetic and phenotypic diversity following rapid colonisation events in Europe as well as the “progression” pattern in the phylogenies of species found on various islands along the Hawaiian archipelago. Competitive exclusion has been absent from past quantitative analyses because of the difficulty in designing adequate methods for assessing its impact. We present here a new statistical framework that integrates competition along with limited dispersal into a Bayesian phylogenetic model of migration. Using simulations, we assess the performance of our approach and demonstrate its ability to detect competition from the comparative analysis of homologous genetic sequences using geographic information.