Genomics and collections: adaptation to macroevolution is jointly organised and funded by CSIRO's Cutting Edge Science Symposium and the Centre for Biodiversity Analysis.
In the last few years, annual conferences of the Centre for Biodiversity Analysis (CBA), a joint research facility of the Australian National University and CSIRO, have explored use of emerging technologies, especially those of genomics and informatics. We have looked at species delimitation, management of biodiversity data, and even how the explosion of new genomic data might inform policy. Each conference has tried to bring together biologists of many stripes.
For this conference, our focus turns to biological collections and genomics. How can we best tap the genomic potential in the millions of specimens held in collections worldwide? How do we enhance the analytical power of thousands rather than tens of loci for systematics and population genetics? How might we study temporal diversity in collections? All specimens in collections, when seen as available for molecular work, will increase by orders of magnitude the sample sizes available for most groups.
One key area of interest that has been not so quietly developing is of interest to all of us considering these questions: adaptation. This applies not only at the level of DNA itself but also at the level of interactions between the genome, the individual, the population and the environment.
In this joint meeting, a CSIRO Cutting Edge Symposium will bring together biologists working both within and outside collections to focus on adaptation. How might we all change our respective practices in light of what we hear from each other at this conference?
To complement this, the CBA has chosen speakers to review, assess and plan for the future in phylogenomics and emerging insights into speciation and macroevolution. This will take stock on our progress towards realizing the promise of phylogenomics as highlighted in previous CBA conferences, especially the inaugural meeting on Biodiversity Genomics in 2013.
We hope that the sequence of invited speakers’ talks will set the broad directions of the meeting. So too the contributed talks will constantly remind of the interplay among various major themes.
A few years ago, the introduction and welcome to our first CBA conference on genomics concluded with the remarks “This is just the beginning…”. With this year's meeting we look forward to a first wave of synthesis and renewal.
Leo Joseph | Group Leader, Vertebrate Collections, CSIRO
Craig Moritz | Director, Centre for Biodiversity Analysis