non-credit workshop | Other 2021

Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics Workshop 2021


Instructor(s): Dr. Joe Felsenstein , Dr. Stevan J. Arnold


Dates of instruction:  Monday, July 12 – Friday, July 16, 2021 (5 full days)
This workshop will take place online.

Max students: 30

Application deadline: May 15, 2021 at 5pm Pacific Time.

The application can be found here.

The blog web pages for the 2019 workshop available through the following link:

This workshop has been given yearly since 2011, except for 2020. Since 2017 it has been given at the Friday Harbor Laboratories of the University of Washington, on San Juan Island.

Owing to the pandemic, the 2020 workshop was cancelled.  The 2021 workshop will take place online.

The workshop will review the basics of theory in the field of evolutionary quantitative genetics and its connections to evolution observed at various time scales. One aim of the workshop is to build a bridge between the traditionally separate disciplines of quantitative genetics and comparative methods.

Quantitative genetic theory for inheritance and evolution of continuous traits in natural populations was developed considerably in the period from 1970 to 1990 and up to the present, and 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. Phylogenetic approaches to comparative biology were developed in the 1980s and 1990s, including inferring how traits covary in evolution and how optimum values of traits vary between species. Textbooks have not kept pace with these developments, and currently few universities offer courses on these subjects aimed at evolutionary biologists.

Evolutionary biologists need 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, both from single species and from multiple-species phylogenies. Participants will use R, an open-source statistical programming language, to build and test evolutionary models.

Please note that this is not a workshop on numerical, statistical, or computational methods for reconstructing phylogenies, nor does it cover molecular genomics.

The workshop involves lectures, discussions and in-class computer exercises. You can consult the 2019 workshop website for examples, using the links found at the 2019 schedule mentioned above. The online workshop will have fewer lectures and computer lab sessions than the in-person workshops did.

The intended participants for this workshop are graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty members in evolutionary biology. The workshop can accommodate up to 30 participants.

In addition to Steve Arnold and Joe Felsenstein, lecturers will be:

• Patrick Carter, Evolutionary Physiology, Washington State University, Pullman
• Adam Jones, Biological Sciences, University of Idaho
• Michelle Lawing, Ecology and Conservation Biology, Texas A&M University
• Brian O’Meara, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville
• Samantha Price, Biological Sciences, Clemson University
• Josef Uyeda, Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg

Cost $105 + tax. The fee compensates Friday Harbor Laboratories for the IT support and administration expenses that they provide. Cost to be paid to Friday Harbor Laboratories after the participant’s application has been accepted. Details of payment by credit card or check will be provided once the applicant has been admitted to attend.

Sponsored by: