Integrative Biology 206 Statistical Phylogenetics

Description: This course is aimed at students who wish to understand the evolutionary models and methods for estimating phylogenies (which are trees representing how organisms are related to one another). Topics include continuous-time Markov chains as applied in phylogenetics; maximum likelihood estimation; Bayesian estimation; the combinatorics of evolutionary trees; Markov chain Monte Carlo; distance and parsimony methods for estimating trees; optimization strategies for finding best trees. Students will learn to write computer programs that implement many of the methods discussed in class, and apply their knowledge in a research project.
Prerequisites: College level course in calculus.