Course 2005 - Phylogenetic Systematics and Historical Biogeography

Nikolaj Scharff nscharff at ZMUC.KU.DK
Tue Nov 9 08:22:47 CST 2004


COPENHAGEN - March 7-18, 2005

The aim of the course is to teach Ph.D. students the theory and methodology
of phylogenetic systematics and historical biogeography. Thereby enabling
them to use and critically evaluate current methods.

The following subjects will be covered:

• Phylogenetic theory
• Characters and character coding
• Tree building techniques
• Tree statistics and tree support
• Handling of molecular data
  – A priori weighting
  – Alignment
• Ecological phylogenetics/Character tracing and character manipulation
• Alternative methods of data analysis
  – Maximum Likelihood
  – Bayesian inference
• Historical biogeography
  – Pattern-based biogeography
  – Event-based biogeography

Various tree building programmes (e.g., PeeWee, NONA, POY, PAUP*, and TNT),
programmes for manipulating data and trees (e.g., MacClade, Mesquite, and
Winclada), and biogeographical analysis will be demonstrated and used.
Lectures will alternate with practical hands-on exercises.

The course is preferentially for Ph.D. students; hence, biological
knowledge corresponding to a M.Sc. is normally required. Admission to the
course is highly competitive and approximately 18 students are admitted
from a large pool of applicants.

Prior knowledge of phylogenetics corresponding to e.g., Schuh, T. 2000.
Biological Systematics. Principles and Applications (Cornell University
Press), is essential. Recommended reading: Kitching, I. J. et al. 1998.
Cladistics. The Theory and Practice of Parsimony Analysis. 2. Ed. (Oxford
Science Publications).

There is a tuition fee of 3,750 D.Kr. (500 €), for Ph.D.-students not
matriculated at a Danish University.

Two weeks

Monday, March 7, 2005 - Friday, March 18, 2005

January 15, 2005

Institute of Biology, Department of Evolutionary Biology, Gothersgade 140,
DK-1123 Copenhagen K

Will be on the basis of active participation, successful completion, and
presentation of the student projects provided. 10 ECTS.

Conny B. Asmussen (Institute of Ecology, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural
University), Thomas Pape and Nikolaj Scharff (both from the Zoological
Museum, University of Copenhagen), Jakob Damgaard, Gitte Petersen, and Ole
Seberg (all from the Institute of Biology, University of Copenhagen).

Malte Ebach and Chris Humphries, The Natural History Museum, London

Must be arranged on an individual basis, see

Ole Seberg, Institute of Biology, Gothersgade 140, DK-1123 Copenhagen K
Fax: +45 35 32 21 54. E-mail: oles at


Nikolaj Scharff, Zoological Museum, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100
Copenhagen Ø
Fax: +45 35 32 10 10. E-mail: nscharff at
where further information may also be obtained.

Use our online application form - click here

NOTE: Since its start in 1995 the main emphasis of the course has been on
phylogenetics. Historical biogeography has always been a minor, but still
significant, part of the course. The present course will retain this
structure. Future courses will remain centred on phylogenetics, but have
changing supplementary subjects like alignment, historical ecology,
homology, molecular evolution, etc.

More information about the Taxacom mailing list