viernes, octubre 31, 2008

Hennig XVII: “Live” blogging, day 3 (banquet)

Of course, one of the most expected things of the Hennig meeting was the banquet, and the banquet speech :)!

Steve Farris announced the the students aware, two argentinian, and friends with some of them :). Sebastian Barrionuevo “el negro”, wins the Rosen Award for best poster. Santi Catalano wins the Hennig award for the best talk (about the use of landmarks in phylogenies).

The banquet speech was given in a pair. Jyrky Mouna was originally assinged for the speech, but he was unable to come, so Kevin Nixon take his spot, talking about the different kinds of trees. It was EXTREMATELLY funny xD. As the meeting is joining with “Reunión Argentina de Cladística y Biogeografía”, Julian Faivovich dío su charla en español ;)... Por su puesto, la charla estaba dirigida sin lugar a dudas a el publico argentino, pero con el background de la misma reunión era suficiente para divertirse mucho!! Fue GENIAL!

My greetings to both speakers :D!!

jueves, octubre 30, 2008

Hennig XVII: “Live” blogging, day 3

Today was a highly theoretical day ;)... Most of the talks were highly methodological, with some scattered practical works.

Ward Wheeler, in a line similar to Grant and Kluge, argues that “objective support”, like Bremer support of Likelihood ratios are different to “average support”. His main argument, is that objective support is a better measure than average support, because it is based on a direct comparison of optimality criterion... I'm not agree xD.

Next, Pablo Goloboff showed that the common argument against weighting, that a character which is poor in clade is underweighted in a clade in which character has low homoplasy, is a problematic one, and that parsimony, as we know it, imply homogeneous weighting across the whole cladogram.

John Wenzel seems to be unsuccessful to show a different way to attack consensus trees. I think that agreement subtrees, the method that he defends is not as good as reduced consensus that can be found with TNT.

In an interesting talk, from philosophical, and statistical point of view, Chris Randle, showed that as actually implemented, Bayesian analysis in not bayesian, because the impossibility to implement a real definition of clade priors.

After coffee break, Steve Farris give an entertaining and clever talk about some misrepresentation of ideas of support by Grant & Kluge, and of course, re-affirms his masterful conclusion from his 1983 classic: parsimony is minimization of ad hoc hypotheses of homoplasy. I'm very happy to see the one that gives shape to actual numerical cladistics (and, I thinks, the major contributor of the theoretical development of phylogenetics in general!).

Then, a bunch of papers based on Pablo's implementation of continuous characters, using Farris' optimization, using Opiliones. But the most interesting contribution was from Santiago Catalano, who shows that landmark data can be viewed as a generalization of Sankoff's parsimony!

Afternoon starts with a presentation of the possibilities of (Encyclopedia of Life) by Torstein Dikow, actually, apart of being as wonderful as Wikipedia, I do not see any application for EOL... (see Page's blog!)

Matthew Yoder, shows some wonderful ways to work using open source, in the development of his software for multi-author phylogenetic studies, with his sever-based Mx.

Then Rasmus Hovmoller, shows some interesting work to understand the spreading of avian influenza A, unfortunately, external problems was an obstacle to enjoy their results.

Federico López gives a talk about using conservation indexes to conservation in amazonia. I'm quite suspicious of that kind of indexes (although they are also bad, I think that Faith's PD is far better than Vane-Wright indexes!).

Norberto Giannini shows a new way to treat correlation of characters (“comparative method”) into a truly phylogenetic way. The method is excellent, and I think a real improvement in that field!

Fernando Noll, showed a beautiful work of behavioral data for Meliponini bees, that include oviposition and nest architecture.

Jeffrey Skevington use dragonflies from Fidji, and he tries to explain the origin of sexual bias on this beautiful insects. Juan Larrain shows his molecular analysis of a group of mosses, and compare his results with a preliminar set of morphological characters.

Martín Ramírez gives an excellent talk about the usefulness of ontologies for phylogenetic analysis! I feel that ontologies are an important step in the maintainability of morphological data (and their subsequent usage), but I think that although wonderful, the re-using, specially from authors extern to the original work, seems to be difficult (at least, as actually doing).

To finish the day, Johnatan Liria talks about k selection using some of my old TNT scripts xD...

miércoles, octubre 29, 2008

Hennig XVII: “Live” blogging, day 2

Today the meeting starts with a highly molecular morning. Gonzalo Giribet present a symposium about new methods for “phylogenomics” (organized by him, Ward Wheeler, and Jirky Mouna). Three talk were about the use of gene order, inversions, recombination, in the context of phylogenetic analysis. All of the presented analysis are POY-oriented ;). It is sad that Andres Varón, a colombian working with POY, was unable to assist.

The most interesting one, is the talk of Gonzalo who insists the usefulness of morphological data, and present some new analysis with his EST data for metazoa (published in Dunn et al. 2008), with more than 200 morphological characters for metazoans in a network of experts. His analysis show that morphology provide evidence for grouping at all levels of the tree. He was very suspicious about the “groundpland” coding. I always prefer exemplar coding, but sometimes, some useful information available from not directly analyzed terminals (for example, several developemental data) can provide an excellent source of information.

Prosanta Chakrabarty, try to test sexual selection in a group of luminous fishes, I get impressed with the diversity of that fishes, but, I think that the questions about selection preasures can not be answered in the way showed by Prosanta (or in any way!).

Next, there are two nice works on Curculionids. In the first Analía Lanteri, showed a particular group of broad nose weevils, then Adriana Marvaldi, showed his most recent advances in the understanding of the whole morphology (and phylogeny) of Curculionoidea, and how many of the sequence data recently assembled for that beetles, is highly congruent with the morphological results.

Afternoon talks are more interesting to me, because they are about biogeography ;) --I only have 3 interests: parsimony methodology, morphological phylogenetics, and REAL biogeography xD--.

In the first one, Peter Hovenkamp, shows a very interesting parallel between ideas form phytosociology and endemism, he founds that many of the implementations of Josias Braun-Blanquet (or the europoean school of phytosociology really did not implement that methods! He thinks that NDM (of Szumik and Goloboff, 2004) can be a better tool for phytosociological ecology!

Another wonderful talk was giving by Claudia Szumik, who made an analysis of endemism of northern argentina. The good thing about the study, is that it includes data taken directly from the experts of each group, with several data collected by Claudia and their co-authors!

Loló (Dolores Casagranda) present a comparison between NDM and PAE, I work on that talk, so I feel that a I will give a biased report, so I pass xD.

Erika Parada, an student from my undergrad university, talks about his analysis of northern andes, she uses tree-fitter,  a program that I do not like a bit :P, because it has several problems, I think she made a great work, but unfortunatelly results with TF are, for me, doubtful! :P

I do not like the talk from Dalton Amorim, but the discussion that follows the talk was very interesting, with James Liebherr, given several strong (and clever!) points against Dalton ideas.

martes, octubre 28, 2008

Hennig XVII: “Live” blogging, day 1

Yesterday several people came to the reception, I talk with several nice people, it was a very cool afternoon :D!

Today, the meeting start in proper. The site, San Javier, is wonderful, it is atop of a mountain, just in front of Tucumán, so you can see the whole plain that extends to the east, incluing, of course, the city of Tucumán. Excellent place!

There are several talks, some of them are somewhat difficult to get (to me at least xD), but overall, they are really nice. I really, really like the talk of Cecilia Kopuchian about the phylogenetics of Furnaridae (Aves). She combines in a wonderful way the pics of his characters, with his results, so even, if you know noting about the group (like me), you learn several thinks about it, and you are always on the subject of the talk!

For paleontologist, Diego “el caco” Pol give a talk about some fossil Crocodiles from Argentina, and Africa, Mesosuchia (I hope I remember right xD) which were the last surviving taxa of non-modern Crocs.

Julián Faivovich, give a molecular talk about phylogenetics of Hylidae, and to keep the talk interesting, he tries to put his work into a some biogeographical framework (“one taxon” approach, but he tries to make some predictions with his data). I think his results can be very interesting for POY users, as he found a (manual) trick to speed up searches.

Afternoon, James Liebherr, gives a talk about Blackburnia a beetle from Hawaii, he uses live taxa, and several “semi” fossil taxa found in a cave. Jim speaks somewhat slowly, but I love the deep of his work!

Camilo Mattoni, shows the development of an Scorpion data set, from the use of some general data sets of morphology, to specific morphology of the Bothriuridae, to different molecular markers, to a simultaneous analysis.

Louise Crowley works on morphology (and mol. Secs) of a very hard group (also a literal meaning xD), such as oysters. I can believe how many chars you can found in a single shell!

And of course, Santi and Marcos talk about the redefinition of large :).

martes, octubre 21, 2008

Next week: A summit of cladistics

The Hennig meeting will be in the next week! Here everyone is working on several details :).

I do not know if Hotel sol has WiFi connection, if it does, I will “live blogging” about some speechs ;)... if not, then I hope to post a review in the next week xD.

The official web site of the meeting is:, there you can found the program, it looks really nice!! :D