Last updated on June 2, 2024

You are invited to participate in a Phylogenetic Biogeography Workshop hosted at Washington University in St. Louis from June 4 – 6, 2024.

This free, 3-day workshop will cover the fundamentals of applying phylogenetic models of historical biogeography for ancestral state estimation, divergence time estimation, and hypothesis testing using the Bayesian phylogenetics package, RevBayes.

Isaac Lichter Marck (Cal Academy)
Fábio Mendes (WUSTL)
Michael Landis (WUSTL)
Sarah Swiston (WUSTL)
Felipe Zapata (UCLA)

This workshop is made possible with generous funds from the NSF for the “Origin and Evolution of Hawaiian Plants” project.

Lysimachia venosum (photo by Ken Wood).


Join us! Complete the application form [link] by March 6, 2024. We only have 20 seats available. All applicants will be notified about their admission status by early March.

Who? This workshop is for researchers interested in phylogenetics, biogeography, and evolutionary modeling. Some familiarity with programming and phylogenetics is required. We expect most participants will be graduate students or postdoctoral researchers, but advanced undergraduates, curators, faculty, etc. are also encouraged to apply.

Expenses? The workshop will provide instruction, refreshments, and 4 nights of shared-room housing free-of-charge. Students will need to bring their own laptops, handle their own meal plans, and arrange their own transportation to participate in the workshop.

Please contact or with any questions or comments about the workshop.


The workshop is in Room 117 of the Life Sciences Building (more info below).

(before workshop)Install PhyloDockerTutorials:
PhyloDocker installation and use
Watch Paul Lewis Phyloseminar series on statistical phylogenetics Video links:
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4
Expected Tutorials
[2-3 hours]
RevBayes intro
Rev language syntax
Probabilistic graphical models
Markov chain Monte Carlo
Substitution processes
Suggested tutorials
[2-3 hours]
Molecular clocks
Birth-death models
BiSSE models
Fri, May 24
9am – 11am CT
Virtual office hours
help installing PhyloDocker, general questions, etc.

See email for Zoom links
Mon, May 27
10am – 12pm CT
Virtual office hours
help installing PhyloDocker, general questions, etc.

See email for Zoom links
Mon, June 03Arrive in St. Louis
Tue, June 04Welcome and Overview
All instructors
Workshop overview
Hawaiian plant biogeography
Felipe & Isaac
Hawaiian plant biogeography slides

Tutorial series overview
RevBayes basics
RevBayes slides

Rev language syntax
Graphical models tutorial
Lunch break
Molecular phylogenetics
Molecular phylogenetics slides

Molecular phylogenetic analysis
GeoSSE models
GeoSSE slides

GeoSSE analysis
Wed, June 05Regional features
Isaac & Sarah
Regional features slides
FIG models
FIG slides

FIG analysis
Lunch break
TimeFIG models
TimeFIG slides

TimeFIG analysis
Biogeographic dating
Biogeographic dating slides

Biogeographic dating w/ node calibration
Biogeographic dating w/ TimeFIG
Thu, June 06
Visit Missouri Botanical Garden
Carpool sign-up:
Advanced topic: regional feature effects
Isaac & Sarah
Empirical considerations
Hypothesis testing
Advanced topic: modes of geographical speciation
– coming soon
Fri, June 07Depart from St. Louis

Topics this workshop will cover: molecular phylogenetics, divergence time estimation, historical biogeographic models, state-dependent speciation-extinction models, ancestral range estimates, Bayesian inference, Markov chain Monte Carlo.

Topics this workshop will not cover: species delimitation, ecological niche models, species distribution models, macroecological analyses, species richness analyses, community phylogenetics, phylogeography, population genetics, species tree estimation, multispecies coalescent models.

Participant information

Important locations are shown on the maps below.

Equipment. Students must bring their own laptops and chargers to fully participate in the workshop. Student laptops must have RevDocker [link] installed and working before the workshop begins. We will offer virtual office hours in late May to help students who need help installing RevDocker. Students will have wireless internet access through the wustl-guest-2.0 and eduroam networks [link].

Workshop classroom. The workshop will be held in Room 117 of the Life Sciences Building on the Danforth Campus of Washington University in St. Louis. It is easiest to enter the building from the southeastern entrance (see below). The workshop will run from 8am – 5:30pm from Tuesday, June 4th through Thursday, June 6th.

Housing. Housing is provided as part of the workshop and is on-campus at the Knight Center. The Knight Center is located on-campus at the intersection of Throop Drive & Snow Way. Check-in time begins at 3pm on Monday, June 3rd. Check-out time ends at 12pm on Friday, June 7th. Rooms are shared, two students per room. Students are responsible for incidental charges (room service, etc.).

Air Travel. You can fly to St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) through a number of popular airlines. The St. Louis Metro Rail connects the airport to Washington University. You will board the train at the airport, then transfer at Forest Park Station to reach Washington University. Tickets cost about $5/day. Uber or Lyft rides from the airport to campus cost about $20/trip.

Car Travel. You can park at Washington University in campus parking lots for approximately $8 per day.

Meals. Refreshments (coffee, snacks, etc.) are provided with the workshop. Workshop participants will be in charge of arranging their own breakfast, lunch, and dinner plans. Washington University offers various dining options [link]. Delmar Loop is within walking distance (<1 mile) and has a wide variety of nice restaurants [link].

Garden trip. We will be visiting the world-famous Missouri Botanical Garden on the last day, Thursday, June 6th. Participants will need to work together to arrange travel (Uber, Lyft). Thanks to Dr. Alexander Linan and Eduardo Aguirre-Mazzi for arranging free admission for our group!

To take the train from the airport to campus, board at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (A), ride to Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station (B), disembark then board a westbound train, and finally disembark at University City-Big Bend Station (C). From there it is a 5-minute walk to the Knight Center (D). The workshop will be held on-campus in the Life Sciences Building (E) in Room 117.

Code of Conduct

Our code of conduct was adapted from the 2024 Evolution Conference Code of Conduct.

Registration for, access to, and participation in any society-sponsored event represents an agreement to abide by the policies below.

The Workshop is intended to foster the respectful exchange of scientific ideas, providing participants with an opportunity to present research findings, establish/renew collaborations, recruit people to their laboratories, and learn, teach, and network with an international community of evolutionary biologists. We are committed to creating an environment where everyone can participate without experiencing harassment, discrimination, or similar unwelcome, exclusionary behavior.  All meeting participants must treat others with respect and consideration. Registration for the meeting is considered an agreement to abide by the Workshop code of conduct.
Harassment of others by any participant (attendee, instructor, staff member, service provider) will not be tolerated. Unacceptable treatment of others includes (but is not limited to) unwanted verbal attention, unwanted touching, verbal or physical intimidation, stalking, shaming, or bullying. Discrimination or exclusion on the basis of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, physical appearance, race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or similar will not be tolerated. Critiques of scientific work are appropriate and important, but all forms of communication must be free of offensive, discriminatory or disrespectful elements, including (but not limited to) words and images that are derogatory or demeaning to individuals or groups. Inappropriate comments presented in a joking manner constitute unacceptable behavior. Retaliation for reporting inappropriate behavior is also unacceptable, as is reporting an incident in bad faith.
People wishing to report a violation of this code of conduct should contact Michael Landis or Felipe Zapata, the organizers. Incidents of inappropriate and uncivil behavior are taken extremely seriously. Confidentiality will be maintained unless disclosure is legally required.
The Workshop organizers reserve the right to enforce this code of conduct in any manner deemed appropriate. Anyone violating the code of conduct may be: (a) asked to stop, (b) expelled from the workshop, and/or (c) prohibited from attending future events. Establishing and enforcing this code of conduct is intended to prevent incidents of harassment, discrimination, and violence, and to maintain a high quality of scientific discourse.