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Evolution 2016 spotlight session on next-generation phylogenetic inference


Along with @trayc7 (Iowa State) and Felipe Zapata (San Francisco State), I’m organizing a SSB spotlight session at Evolution 2016.This is a call for speakers. ‘Spotlight sessions’ are a new type of session that differ from the traditional symposia at these meetings. For more information see links below.

Topic: Statistical phylogenetic inference methods, and in particular Bayesian methods, are reaching a hard limit on the number of taxa that can be used in an analysis. Although many interesting and worthwhile efforts have been made to increase the computational efficiency of these methods, it appears that existing inference strategies will simply not scale to orders of magnitude more taxa. In this session we will explore alternate strategies and algorithms for phylogenetic inference.

The spotlight session consists of one 28 min, four 13 min, and twelve 5 min (“lightning”) talks. If you are interested in speaking in this session please submit an application to Erick Matsen at The application must include your: (1) Name; (2) Institution; (3) rank (e.g., student, postdoc, faculty); (4) names & institutions of co-authors on your talk; (5) a short abstract (max: 300 words); and (6) which talk type(s) you are willing to give (28, 13, or 5; the more flexible you are the more likely you are to be selected). Applications must be received by March 19th, 2016. No financial support is provided to selected speakers (i.e., speakers must pay their own travel, accommodation, registration, etc.).

You may still register to give a standard 13 min. talk in a regular contributed session at the meeting even if you apply to participate in a Spotlight session. However, if you are selected to speak in the spotlight session, you will have to choose which talk slot to use as each conference attendee is allowed to give only one oral presentation. Applicants will be informed about the outcome of their application by late March.

Organized sessions are committed to representing diversity. All interested individuals are encouraged to apply.


The session will probably go from 1-4 PM on Monday, June 20, though the official dates/times have not yet been released.


We’ve extended the deadline to March 19, 2016.


Hopefully this doesn’t seed any confusion, but has the deadline been pushed back to April 30?


It is confusing, but yes, the deadline has been pushed back further (we decided ourselves to push back our deadline, but then everyone else did too).

So, the deadline is April 30th. Send us your new ideas!