Monday, August 13, 2018

Workshop: Distinguishability in Phylogenetic Networks


This week we are back in Leiden (in the Netherlands), for the third workshop sponsored by the Lorentz Center. The first workshop, in October 2012, is discussed in this blog post: Workshop: The Future of Phylogenetic Networks. The second one, in July 2014, is discussed here: Workshop: Touching the Data.


I say "we" because all of the blog authors are attending, making up nearly one-quarter of the participants. As before, it has been organized by Steven Kelk, Leo van Iersel, and David Morrison, this time along with Céline Scornavacca. The program and abstracts can be found here. It runs for the whole week 13 August – 17 August 2018.

The workshop is similar to the previous one, in that it is intended to be a small and well-focused event. The basic aim, as before, is to get biologists and computational people to sit down in a small group and actually talk about real phylogenetic issues. The main issue at hand this time can be called "indistinguishability", which significantly complicates the reconstruction, analysis and interpretation of phylogenetic networks. This includes the problems of: (i) distinguishing horizontal from vertical descent, (ii) distinguishing among reticulate processes, (iii) distinguishing reticulate evolution from incomplete lineage sorting, and (iv) distinguishing among network topologies.

You will note that we seem to be in the Netherlands in World Cup years. This is quite safe this year, but last time the workshop was in July, and my wife and I traveled through Germany at the end of the campaign, which was an "interesting" experience.

I am hoping to add some blog posts based on what happens at the workshop, either as it proceeds or at the end.