Paleobiological and Phylogenetic Approaches to Macroevolution

PI(s): Samantha Price (University of California-Davis)
Graham Slater (National Museum of Natural History, The Smithsonian Institution)
Lars Schmitz (Keck Science Department, Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges)
Start Date: 9-Jan-2014
Keywords: comparative methods, macroevolution, paleontology, phylogenetics

This course will teach participants to use fossil and phylogenetic data to analyze macroevolutionary patterns using traditional paleobiological stratigraphic methods, phylogenetic comparative methods and combined fossil and tree approaches. Macroevolutionary research is currently split into two quite isolated branches, one based on fossils and the other on extant taxa and phylogenies. Increasingly,evolutionary biologists in both camps are realizing that, only by combining neontological and paleontological data and approaches, can a new, and more powerful integrative macroevolution emerge. Unfortunately, these two disciplines utilize very different data and quantitative methods. Therefore to truly initiate a synthesis of these two approaches we need to train students and researchers to understand the intricacies of both fossil and phylogenetic data, and the methods necessary to integrate them.