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 updates about future workshops, please contact Simon Ho.

Sydney Phylogenetics Workshop

Sydney Phylogenetics Workshop

Monday 15 to Tuesday 16 July 2019
University of Sydney

The most recent Sydney Phylogenetics Workshop was held on 15–16 July 2019. The teaching team was led by Simon Ho (University of Sydney) and David Duchene (Australian National University), and included Nathan Lo, Cara Van Der Wal, Perry Beasley-Hall, and Kai Tea.

All of the teaching materials are available on GitHub.

Languages, Genes, and Prehistory

Friday 14 June 2019
University of Sydney

Linguistics and genetics have traditionally pursued different approaches to the reconstruction of human prehistories, applying different methods and often working at different time-scales (Blench, Ross and Sanchez-Mazas 2008). In recent years, however, research has emerged which attempts a direct correlation of linguistic and genetic indicators of population migrations (Poloni, Sanchez-Mazas et al 2008; van Driem 2014), and a rapidly growing field of inquiry applies methods developed in the context of computational phylogenetics and cladistics to various types of language data to derive probabilistic models of language evolution and, therefore, language relationships (Gray and Atkinson 2003; Dunn, Burenhult et al 2011; Zhang, Shi et al 2019, among many others).

This day-long interdisciplinary workshop will bring together world-leading scholars from the University of Sydney, Australian National University, and University of Bern to focus on intersections between theory and method in evolutionary biology and linguistics, with a special focus on the Asia-Pacific region. A two-hour software clinic will also be convened (please bring your own laptop). Students and early career researchers are particularly encouraged.

For more information contact Carl Bodnaruk (

Taming the BEAST Down Under

In February 2019 we hosted Taming the BEAST Down Under, which was a week-long workshop focussing on Bayesian phylogenetic analysis using BEAST2. The workshop consisted of invited talks, lectures, and hands-on tutorial sessions given by core BEAST2 developers and experts in phylogenetics. The aim of the workshop was to provide participants with a firm grasp of the theory behind the methods central to phylogenetics, as implemented in BEAST2. The workshop covered Bayesian phylogenetics, phylogenetic model selection, molecular clocks, total-evidence dating, species trees and gene trees, and pathogen phylodynamics.

Taming the BEAST Down Under

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

The workshop was organised by Simon Ho and several members of the MEEP lab: Cara Van Der Wal, Perry Beasley-Hall, Daej Arab, and Yi-Kai Tea. Support for the workshop was provided by the University of Sydney, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, ETH Zurich, University of Auckland, and University of Melbourne.

Registration for the workshop was AU$380 and included full-day catering, a welcome event, a joint dinner, and a dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour. We were able to offer a large number of student fee waivers following a generous contribution from the Centre for Biodiversity Analysis (Australian National University).