Tag Archives: phylogenetics

A new phylogeneticist blogger

I’d like to advertise a newcomer among bloggers in phylogenetics: Nicolas Lartillot, now a researcher in Lyon. Nicolas just started blogging a couple of weeks ago but, judging from the number of posts he has already contributed, he seems bound to become a very prolific blogger.

Nicolas has made several noteworthy contributions to the field of phylogenetics, in particular Bayesian phylogenetics. For instance he has developed the CAT model of protein evolution, which seems to be more resilient against the Long Branch Attraction artifact, he has proposed Thermodynamic Integration for computing Bayes factors, he has developed a model for investigating correlations between continuous traits and rates of molecular evolution along a phylogeny, and he maintains the PhyloBayes package.

His blog is called “The Bayesian kitchen”, which I believe means that, underneath the nice theoretical properties of Bayesian inference, a fair amount of cooking is sometimes necessary to get things to work. So far his posts have been about the Bayesian/frequentist divide, about the philosophy of Bayesian inference, or about the interpretation of posterior probabilities, among other things. He uses examples from phylogenetics (e.g. dating, diversification models, ), comparative methods, or gene tree-species tree methods) or population genetics to help make his points. I’m certain I’m going to learn a lot from his posts, and I believe some of the readers of this blog will enjoy them too!

Workshop on Integrating Molecular Phylogenies and the Fossil Record

Last week I attended a workshop organized by Hélène Morlon, Tiago Quental, and Charles Marshall on integrating data from the fossil record into phylogenetic methods. This three-day workshop was sponsored by the the France-Berkeley Fund, a cool program that provides seed grants to build partnerships between UC Berkeley researchers and French collaborators. All of the events took place at the UCMP on the UC Berkeley campus.

Hélène, Charles, and Tiago recognized the increasing interest in methods and analyses that incorporate data from fossil taxa; and since there are several of us working in this area–particularly in methods development–the need for building a collaborative network is critical. Furthermore, as methods become more and more reliant on data from the fossil record, connections between neontologists and paleontologists must be formed. Notably, a similar working group – organized by Sam Price and Lars Schmitz – was held at NESCent this past spring and was made up of an overlapping set of researchers. One result of the NESCent catalysis meeting will be a SSE Symposium at Evolution 2014 on “Reuniting fossil and extant approaches to macroevolution”.
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