Five years ago, I put together the first iteration of the Bodega Workshop’s website as a dirt-simple wiki hosted through the (Davis, CA-based) wikispot project. Our initial goals for the website were simple: provide an editable set of course materials for use during the workshop and accessible review materials for course participants afterward. A wiki-based system seemed ideal for this, instructors could easily add new content and (more importantly) the students could fix our errors. To get it launched that first year, Rich Glor, Brian O’Meara and I spent a big chunk of the workshop simply gathering up content and dumping it into the wiki framework. As the years have gone by, many people associated with the course have all pitched in to add content, revise outdated parts, and just clean things up. It’s been a great group effort.
About a year after first launching the website, we noticed that it was starting to get a fair bit more traffic than would be expected based on the number of people involved with the course. Since that time, the usership for the site has continued to grow and now averages a couple of hundred visitors a day—a small number in the scheme of things, but a much larger number than any of us initially expected. We have also been happy to see that the user community for the website is highly international (it varies through time, but the proportion of visits from outside of the US typically hovers around 50%). Its good to see that course materials developed in the workshop get such wide use.
Over the last five years, the content of the website has grown from that first single page to more than 200 and maintenance has become more unwieldy within the confines of the original wikispot framework. Furthermore, as fond as I am of the retro 90s “sea green and periwinkle” look that the website sports, I’ll grudgingly admit that we are far past due for a refresh. To remedy both of these issues, I’ve moved the site over to WordPress. Rich Glor kindly donated the use of our new domain, and I’m handling the hosting on my lab website’s server. A potential downside to this change is that we lose the wiki functionality where anyone can log on and make changes. That said, the group of active editors for the old wiki site has never been particularly huge, so this won’t have a large impact on site maintenance.
We of course still welcome any additional contributors to the site, whether you’re involved with the workshop or not. Please use the comments to note important typos or errors. I’ll be keeping an eye on things and will incorporate minor changes as necessary. Better still, get in touch with me and I’ll make an account for you. This way you can join the ranks of regular editors to the website. We would particular welcome input from anyone who has an interest in contributing new tutorials to the site or would like to contribute blog-style posts about emerging topics or other goings-on in phylogenetics. The course website gets used by a whole lot more people than attend the course, so it only makes sense that this wider community helps shape the content. In particular, I’d like to encourage former Bodega students to pitch in and contribute to the site, there’s around 400 of us out there at this point.
The old wiki site will stay up for a while, but won’t be updated anymore. Please update any bookmarks/RSS feeds to point to this site.
In other news, the 2013 workshop is now only a month away! We should see a flurry of updates from workshop planners, Brian Moore and Peter Wainwright; the workshop coordinator, Gideon Bradburd; and the rest of the instructors soon.
Phylogenetic methods have revolutionized modern systematics and become indispensable tools in evolution, ecology and comparative biology, playing an increasingly important role in analyses of biological data at levels of organization ranging from molecules to ecological communities. The estimation of phylogenetic trees is now a formalized statistical problem with general agreement on the central issues and questions. A nearly standard set of topics is now taught as part of the curriculum at many colleges and universities. On the other hand, application of phylogenetic methods to novel problems outside systematics is an area of special excitement, innovation, and controversy, and perspectives vary widely.
The course will be held at the Bodega Marine Laboratory on the Northern California coast, which has on-site housing. Our newly increased bandwidth and access to computing clusters allows us to utilize computer-intensive approaches even in a one-week course. The course format will involve equal parts of lecture, discussion, and hands-on software training. One afternoon during the week will be left free for field trips to local natural areas.
- Estimating, evaluating and interpreting phylogenetic trees
- Recent advances in Bayesian and Maximum-likelihood estimation of phylogeny
- Estimation of species trees, gene-tree/species-tree conflicts
- Divergence-time estimation from sequence data: relaxed clocks, fossil calibration
- Analysis of character evolution: maximum likelihood and Bayesian approaches, ancestral-state estimation, character correlation, rates of trait evolution
- Analysis of morphological form, function of complex character systems
- Inference of diversification rates: detecting rate shifts, testing key innovation hypotheses
- Model specification issues: model selection, adequacy and uncertainty
- Diagnosing MCMC performance
Instructors for the 2013 workshop
- Jeremy Brown
- Jonathan Eisen
- Rich Glor
- Tracy Heath
- Mark Holder
- John Huelsenbeck
- Luke Mahler
- Brian Moore
- Samantha Price
- Bruce Rannala
- Bob Thomson
- Peter Wainwright
Plus special guest lecturers!!
Available housing limits course enrollment to ~30 students. Preference is given to doctoral candidates who are in the early to middle stages of their thesis research, and who have completed sufficient prerequisites (through previous coursework or research experience) to provide some familiarity with phylogenetic methods. Unfortunately, because of limits on class size, postdocs and faculty are discouraged from applying.
Admission and Fees
Students will be admitted based on academic qualifications and appropriateness of research interests. The course fee is $650. This includes room and board at BML for duration of the course (arriving March 2, leaving March 9) and transportation from Davis to BML.
Applications are due by November 16, 2012. Please send a completed application form and one letter of recommendation from your major advisor. Applications should be sent via email as PDFs to firstname.lastname@example.org. Students will be notified via e-mail by December 1, 2012 of acceptance.
FAQ page with questions.
Send all application materials to:
Department of Evolution and Ecology
5343 Storer Hall
University of California Davis
Brian Moore and Peter Wainwright