Workshop on evolutionary quantitative genetics

PI(s): Stevan J Arnold (Oregon State University (Corvallis,OR))
Joseph Felsenstein (TBD (NC STATES))
Start Date: 8-Aug-2011
End Date: 13-Aug-2011

In this workshop we will review the basics of theory in the field of evolutionary quantitative genetics and its connections to evolution that is observed at various time scales. Quantitative genetics deals with the inheritance of measurements of traits that are affected by many genes. Quantitative genetic theory for natural populations was developed considerably in the period 1970-90 and up to the present time. It has been applied to a wide range of phenomena including the evolution of differences between the sexes, sexual preferences, life history traits, plasticity of traits, as well as the evolution of body size and other morphological measurements. Textbooks have not kept pace with these developments, and currently few universities offer courses in this subject aimed at evolutionary biologists. There is a need for evolutionary biologists to understand this field because of the ability to collect large amounts of data by computer, the development of statistical methods for changes of traits on evolutionary trees and for changes in a single species through time, and the realization that quantitative characters will not soon be fully explained by genomics. This workshop aims to fill this need by reviewing basic aspects of theory and illustrating how that theory can be tested with data. Participants will learn to use R, an open-source statistical programming language, to build and test evolutionary models. The intended participants for this workshop are graduate students, postdocs, and junior faculty members in evolutionary biology.