Course information

Course title
Mapping Trait Evolution
University / Organization
Transmitting Science
Capellades (Barcelona Region)
Academic level
Both Msc and PhD
Transmitting Science
Course director
Course lecturer(s)
Dr. Jeroen B. Smaers (Stony Brook University, United States of America) and arrie S. Mongle (Stony Brook University, United States of America)
Course aim
Course Overview The course provides a comprehensive overview of the state-of-the-art methods in mapping phenotypic trait evolution and will provide participants with a springboard to using these methods to answering their own research questions. We focus on analyses that use a phylogenetic tree and observed trait information from tip taxa (extant and/or extinct) to describe how traits have changed along the branches of a phylogeny. The course covers methods that estimate and test patterns related to changes in mean, covariation, and rate. Applications for continuous and categorical, and univariate and multivariate research designs are discussed. At the end of this course, participants will have developed an understanding of: (1) Brownian motion and Ornstein-Uhlenbeck models of evolution. (2) How these models can be applied to estimate and test patterns of trait evolution. (3) What the advantages and disadvantages are of different models/methods. (4) How to recognize which model/method is most appropriate given a particular dataset and research question. We provide several data sets that will be used to exemplify the application of these methods. We do, however, encourage participants to bring their own data so as to get direct experience with analysing precisely what they expect to analyse. Methods from the following R packages will be discussed: ape, geiger, phytools, evomap, l1ou, bayou, surface, OUwie, mvMORPH, geomorph (this list may change as new packages become available). Important note: Please bear in mind that this course is not about reconstructing (building) phylogenetic trees, the methods we cover in this course assume that a phylogeny is known.
Course contents / programme
Required Knowledge and preparation
Teaching methods
Course type
Consecutive days
Online course
Duration (net days)
June 3rd-7th, 2019
Course fee
Direct e-mail to register
Paper submission required?
Logo of institution
front approval