“Identification and avoidance of sources of error in phylogeny inference”
August 15th to 18th 2017

at the Third BioSyst.EU meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden

Deadline for Abstract submission and Early Bird registration: May 31 2017

As part of the Third BioSyst.EU meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden ( from August 15th to 18th 2017 we organise a symposium on the "Identification and avoidance of sources of error in phylogeny inference² ( -of-sources-of-error-in-phylogeny-inference-gfbs.html). The symposium is hosted by the German Society for Biological Systematics.


Phylogenetic tree reconstruction is a central task of modern biology, in which the assessment of phylogenetic relationships provides the foundation for the interpretation of comparative biological data. Molecular data for phylogenetic tree inference has increased from single gene analyses of few taxa to phylogenomic analyses comprising hundreds of genes and taxa. Due to the exponential growth of molecular data along with reduced stochastic sampling errors, the goal of approximating the "Tree of Life" seems to be more attainable today than ever.

However, although substantial progress has already been achieved in respect of certain relationships within the "Tree of Life", several phylogenetic questions still remain unresolved. Therefore, the phylogenomic era appears also to be the beginning of an era of strong incongruence due to the further accumulation of data affected by systematic biases. These biases might arise from rate or compositional heterogeneity, missing data or model misspecifications. In such cases, phylogenetic methods may be inconsistent due to their inability to sufficiently account for the evolutionary complexity of genomic data. The consequence is strongly supported, but incorrectly resolved phylogenetic trees.

In this symposium we want to discuss various reasons of systematic bias and introduce new algorithms, which enable more reliable reconstructions of large-scale phylogenetic trees or, equally important, will indicate when reliable inferences are not possible given the currently available data (e.g. the effect of incomplete lineage sorting and recombination to phylogenetic reconstruction). Topics are discussed. Thereby, we put a special emphasis on the potential and possible pitfalls of recent supertree, coalescence, and supermatrix approaches. The two invited and renowned keynote speakers, John Gatesy and Mark Wilkinson, address their points of view concerning these methodologies. The titles of their talks are:

John Gatesy (Institute for Comparative Genomics & University of California Riverside):
A single outlier gene tree can overturn hundreds of perfectly congruent gene trees in phylogenetic coalescence analyses

Mark Wilkinson (Natural History Museum London):
Supertrees, supermatrices and pluralism in phylogenetics (Co-author will be Peter G. Foster)

However, we are also very interested in contribution by others. Therefore, if you have a topic fitting this venue in a general sense and not only concerning supertree, coalescence, and supermatrix debate you are invited to come to the conference and present your work as a talk or a poster. We especially invite students at this conference is a good opportunity to get in contact with your fellows working on the same subject and show-cast your work to a diverse and interested international audience. Presentations from a purely theoretical perspective, which can initiate new research in known or yet unrecognized biases, are also welcome.

The BioSyst website above has detailed information on registration, submission procedures, symposia and their speaker as well as travelling and accommodation.

We hope to see you in Gothenburg,

Patrick & Torsten.

[Torsten Struck & Patrick Kück (GfBS)]

© 12.05.2017 Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft e.V., DZG