Taming the BEAST Down Under


Taming the BEAST Down Under

Phylogenetic analysis plays a central role in modern life sciences, being routinely used to reconstruct the relationships among organisms and their evolutionary timescale. Phylogenetic methods are now widely used in evolutionary biology, epidemiology, palaeontology, molecular ecology, and linguistics. The broad applications of these techniques has meant that a diverse range of researchers have been involved in the development of phylogenetic methods. BEAST2 brings together these developments in a powerful and intuitive software platform.

Taming the BEAST Down Under will be a one-week workshop, organized by the Molecular Ecology, Evolution, and Phylogenetics group at the University of Sydney. The workshop consists of invited talks, lectures, and hands-on tutorial sessions given by core BEAST2 developers and experts in phylogenetics. The aim of the summer school is to provide participants with a firm grasp of the theory behind the methods central to phylogenetics, as implemented in BEAST2. It follows the successful Taming the BEAST workshops that have been hosted in Switzerland, New Zealand, and the UK.

Workshop details

Taming the BEAST Down Under will be held in Sydney from Sunday 17 February to Friday 22 February 2019.

A flyer for the workshop is available here.

Topics that will be covered at Taming the BEAST Down Under will include: Bayesian phylogenetics, molecular clocks, total-evidence dating, phylogenetic model selection, species trees and gene trees, phylodynamic analysis, phylogeography, and trait evolution.

By the end of the summer school, participants will be equipped with the skills necessary to perform analyses confidently and independently. Participants are also highly encouraged to bring along their own data sets and to engage with the teaching team to address any problems that they might be experiencing with their analyses.

The summer school is geared towards postgraduate students and early-career researchers in the life sciences. Preference will be given to applicants who are not from a computational background and applicants who have already collected/assembled a data set that they are working on.

The teaching team includes leading international and Australian reseachers:
Alexei Drummond, University of Auckland
Remco Bouckaert, University of Auckland
Tanja Stadler, ETH Zürich
Mike Lee, Flinders University and South Australian Museum
Sebastian Duchene, University of Melbourne
Tim Vaughan, ETH Zurich
Jeremie Scire, ETH Zurich
Jana Huisman, ETH Zurich
Nicola Mueller, ETH Zurich
David Duchene, Australian National University
Fabio Mendes, University of Auckland
Christiaan Swanepoel, University of Auckland

Members of the teaching team and local organising committee include:
Simon Ho, University of Sydney
Cara Van Der Wal, University of Sydney
Perry Beasley-Hall, University of Sydney
Daej Arab, University of Sydney
Kai Tea, University of Sydney


Applications: Applications for the workshop are now CLOSED.

Registration fee: AU$380. Lunches, morning teas, afternoon teas, and several dinners will be provided.

Scholarships: We will offer up to 13 fee waivers for workshop attendees. These fee waivers are primarily intended for those in need of financial assistance and/or those travelling internationally or interstate.

Accommodation: Participants are asked to arrange their own accommodation. We will provide a list of recommendations for hotels and other accommodation.

Other workshops

The MEEP lab runs workshops on statistical methods in evolutionary biology. Our annual Sydney Phylogenetics Workshop is held in July each year and is free to attend. We have also run workshops at other venues, including the National Herbarium of NSW, Australian National University, University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, and University of Gothenburg (Sweden). Some of our workshops have been offered in conjunction with COMBINE or with the Genetics Society of Australasia Conference.

A list of past workshops can be found here. If you would like to receive email notifications about future workshops, please contact Simon Ho.

Sydney Phylogenetics Workshop

The most recent Sydney Phylogenetics Workshop was held on 23-24 July 2018 at the University of Sydney. The teaching team was led by Simon Ho and David Duchene, and included Nate Lo, Zoe Patterson Ross, Cara Van Der Wal, and Perry Beasley-Hall. All of the teaching materials, including lecture slides, practical notes, and data files, are available on Github.

The next Sydney Phylogenetics Workshop will be held in July 2019, mostly likely in the week commencing 15 July.