This is an archived static version of the original discussion site.

Futurephy website and meetings


It looks like David Maddison, Rob Knight, and some others got an NSF grant to build out a website and have some meetings.

They are trying to stimulate some discussion around these topics:

  1. What data sources are of most interest to you in regard to synthesis with phylogenetic trees? How could these data sources be enhanced- made more complete or more useful?
  2. How do you view, browse and visualize large phylogenies now? What tools would would like to have to make it easier?
  3. What are the most interesting or ground-breaking things you could do with a grand, largely complete Tree of Life?
  4. What is the biggest hurdle to resolving a large and complete phylogeny for all (or most) of life?

Well, I’d say that a lot of this sort of work is being excellently led by @blackrim, @karen_cranston, and the rest of the OTOL crew. Not sure how the goals of this new project differ.


I think I can shed some light on this (although I am not directly involved in FuturePhy). FuturePhy is not a research project, but instead a discussion and planning project. NSF has funded AToL, then AVAToL (which funded Open Tree of Life) and now GoLife. FuturePhy is about what’s next. How do we connect efforts? what still needs attention?

I’ll see if I can get Mark Westneat over here for more details.


The FuturePhy group is having their first workshop this weekend- we are just getting started and look forward to getting everyone’s opinion. FuturePhy is a conference and workshop series that will unfold over the next couple years, aiming to identify key areas of future work that can build on the success of OpenTree and other projects. @karen_cranston is correct that we are looking for make connections and contribute to phylogenetic’s future. Thanks @ematsen for highlighting the web site- its pretty bare bones so far but more content and clarity of goals soon!


Hi all, the FuturePhy project is in a phase of idea generation and community feedback now- please let us know what you think are key issues that the program should discuss. Below is the announcement and some ways to participate, including having conversations right here on PhyloBabble.

Announcement: FuturePhy Conferences and Workshops on Phylogenetics

FuturePhy is an NSF-sponsored, three-year program of conferences, workshops and hackathons on the Tree of Life. The project aims to promote novel, integrative data analyses and visualization, interdisciplinary syntheses of phylogenetic sciences, and cross-cutting uses of phylogenetics to develop and address new research questions and applications. The first phase of this mission is critical: to bring together a broad community of people from diverse backgrounds who are active in phylogenetics research, who use the tree of life in research or education, who will benefit in applied or practical ways from a comprehensive tree of life, or who come from a background that offers new perspectives on defining, addressing or transcending key challenges in phylogenetics. Help accelerate progress in all aspects of phylogenetics research by joining FuturePhy today. Diverse opportunities will be available to attend FuturePhy sessions in person or virtually, and to link FuturePhy to existing projects and initiatives.

We invite you to participate in the project in several ways:

  1. Register on Scientists from all aspects of the phylogenetic sciences, educators, members of the tree-using community, and others interested in phylogenetics are welcome.
  2. Contribute to the discussion forum on This is the best way to log your interest and contribute ideas.
  3. See our main themes, comment on them and take the survey to rank them:
  4. Email with ideas or comments
  5. Tweet to the FuturePhy community: @FuturePhy
  6. Comment in the FuturePhy thread on

Thank you for the update, @mwestneat.

I, and a lot of the folks here, think a lot about methodology for phylogenetic inference from sequence data. It’s an old problem, but an important one, and although there’s been a lot of progress, there remain many challenges. For example, I’m particularly interested in developing Bayesian phylogenetic algorithms that scale to larger data sets.

Do you see that core methodological work being part of FuturePhy? I don’t see it as a main theme.