Estimating robust phylogenies: do's, don'ts, horror stories, and opportunities.

Lots of people want to estimate phylogenies. Lots of people like their estimates, and think that they are robust.

Lots of people are wrong.

In this talk I'll outline current best-practice in estimating phylogenies, and explain why this will often lead to robust (i.e. correct enough) and publishable trees.

Then I'll tell you what's wrong with current best-practice, why some very smart and sensible people have said that phylogenetics is 'unscientific' and 'no better than data dredging', and how our inferences can be misled in a variety of ways.

I'll illustrate these problems with some good horror stories from the published literature. I'll finish by explaining what I think you and I should be doing to improve phylogenetic inference. 

Discussion of the correct spelling of do's and don'ts will be encouraged.

Some suggested background reading:

People from all academic backgrounds and levels are welcome.

Registration is free (we ask you register to give us an idea of who’s attending our TEA Talks and the presenters a bit of background on their audience).

Hosted by the Centre for Biodiversity Analysis, TEA Talks (Techniques in Evolutionary Analysis) are a monthly series of short workshops that introduce a range of current methods and analytical approaches in phylogenetics, bioinformatics and macroevolution.