Discussion Seminars

Mondays, 5 p.m.,
1532 Ruthven Museum
(aka Paleo classroom)











Fridays, 12 p.m.,
1532 Ruthven Museum
(aka Paleo classroom)

Morphometrics Discussion Group

Contact: Miriam Leah Zelditch

The focus of the morphometrics seminar this term is on the dynamics of phenotypic evolution, especially on theories of macroevolutionary dynamics. We will begin by reading several papers on these theories, such the ecological theory predicting an “early burst” of diversification and divergence in adaptive radiations. Then we will explore methods for assessing the relative support for alternative hypotheses. Because shape data are multivariate, we will focus on methods suitable for multivariate data.  These are implemented in several R packages, including GEIGER, MOTMOT, SURFACE, plus there are packages that can display phylogenies mapped onto morphospaces (PHYTOOLS, GEOMORPH). There are many others that can analyze simple univariate traits such as size. Using data sets provided by participants or contained within the various packages, we will learn how to run the analyses and interpret statistical and graphical results. Familiarity with R is helpful but not necessary.

Paleontology Seminar

Contact: Jeff Wilson

Paleontology Seminar this term, we will read and critically discuss a book or books, a collection of themed readings, or some combination of the two. Some examples of readings from seasons past include special volumes of Paleobiology (Deep Time, Macroevolution), The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, The Development of Animal Form, Telling the Evolutionary Time: Molecular Clocks and the Fossil Record, Tempo and Mode in Evolution, Origin of Species, The Paleobiological Revolution: Essays on the Growth of Modern Paleontology, Rereading the Fossil Record as well as others. Potential topics of interest that have been mentioned in the past include:

-Evolutionary Rates
-Evolutionary Theory (nuts and bolts)
-Integrating Stratigraphy and Phylogeny
-Structural Morphology
-Likelihood/Bayesian approaches
-Analytical Methods in Paleobiology
-Hypothesis Testing