Testing Species Tree Inference Methods

Kevin Omland, Biological Sciences
Matthias K. Gobbert, Mathematics and Statistics, UMBC, faculty
Andrew Li, Mathematics and Statistics, undergraduate student, UBM grant
Leila Bahmani, Biological Sciences, undergraduate student, UBM grant
Frode Jacobsen, Biological Sciences, postdoc
John Malloy, Biological Sciences, undergraduate student
Tylynn Pettrey, Mathematics and Statistics, undergraduate student


During the last twenty years there has been a revolution in the field of phylogeny (the study of evolutionary trees) made possible by genomics in biology and by the development of efficient search algorithms in mathematics and statistics.  More recently, collaborative teams of statisticians and biologists have developed specific computationally intensive methods for determining evolutionary relationships. Many new “species tree inference” methods have been proposed (e.g., programs going under the acronyms BEST, BUCKy).  Many of these are Bayesian MCMC methods that are very computationally intense. UBM undergraduate students will work with Dr. Omland and Dr. Gobbert to develop efficient search strategies to test these different methods using the UMBC High Performance Computing Facility.