Greetings from Austin, with a look towards Evolution 2016.

As the yearly conference season approaches full swing, the minds of many evolution-oriented scientists turn, naturally, to Evolution. The Evolution conference is the annual conclave of three of the discipline’s foremost societies (American Society of Naturalists, Society for the Study of Evolution, Society of Systematic Biologists), and it routinely delivers a wealth of new information on advances across the diverse field of evolutionary biology. In this post, I provide a brief glance towards the start of Evolution 2016.

Austin, here we (evolutionary biologists) come!

Evolution 2016 convenes officially this week in Austin, Texas. Besides the bats, boots and bbq (each a draw in its own right), we expect the strong tradition of exciting evolutionary research to continue here. However, a number of preconference proceedings deserve equal attention. For example, the conference is kicking off informally this year with the Phylogenetics Symposium (16 June), sponsored by Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB). This most recent iteration of the symposium continues its focus on newer methods for phylogenetic inference under various evolutionary scenarios and with the use of genome-scale data.

SSB is also sponsoring the Phylogenomics Software School, which on Friday (17 June) will provide hands-on training for some of the software programs highlighted in Thursday’s Symposium. The School is actually one of several thematic workshops that day. For example, American Society of Naturalists is also sponsoring a Science Communication workshop focused on, well, you guessed it. (I’m attending, with dreams of emerging armed with a perfectly polished elevator pitch). In addition, on Friday afternoon, the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) is sponsoring a Diverse Careers workshop “to point young professionals towards the first steps of personal career exploration.”

To kick off Evolution 2016 in earnest, Carl Zimmer will speak RE: his 2016 Stephen Jay Gould prize from SSE. Zimmer’s contributions to public understanding of evolutionary science are extensive, and include a number of award-winning books and regular contributions to both New York Times and National Geographic. With the Gould prize, Zimmer joins venerable ranks of other great biologists and science writers. His talk will center on new insights into the evolution of humans as revealed using genomic data. This promises to be a great beginning to Evolution 2016.

Finally, be sure to check Molecular Ecologist throughout the conference for updates from Austin!


About Bryan McLean

Biologist studying mammalian phylogeny, morphology, comparative biology, and macroevolution.
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