FuturePhy Blog

Welcome to FuturePhy!

I am really excited to announce our FuturePhy project and would like to invite you to join us. This project is a series of conferences, workshops and hackathons about the Tree of Life, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The primary aim of this project is to bring the phylogenetics and broader biodiversity communities together to develop plans for what the future of phylogenetics might be if we are to successfully maximize the impact of the Tree of Life on data integration in the life sciences. What do you think are the most important questions in phylogenetics and biodiversity? How can we plan for taking advantage of the amazing success in phylogenetics research over the past decades, while also addressing the major challenges that still exist? What is the fundamental significance of a large-scale Tree of Life for the life sciences, for biodiversity, environmental health, conservation, agriculture, medicine, and policy decisions that impact these critical areas of inquiry? The FuturePhy project will hold a series of conferences and workshops to do some big picture brainswarming as well as some specific, targeted planning on such questions, and we aim to develop a much broader forum using virtual participation to gather ideas. We have an exciting start to this initiative, and a great team of people to help chart the course for the project, but we really need your input and ideas in order to succeed. Below I include our announcement, the various ways to participate in FuturePhy now, and some of the initial topics and questions that may be of interest as the project proceeds. Thank you for your interest in FuturePhy!

Announcement: FuturePhy Conferences and Workshops on Phylogenetics.

FuturePhy is an NSF-sponsored, three-year program of conferences, workshops and hackathons on the Tree of Life that aims to promote novel, integrative data analyses and visualization, interdisciplinary syntheses in phylogenetic sciences, and cross-cutting uses of phylogenetics to develop and address new research questions and applications. Specifically, FuturePhy seeks to catalyze the community and chart a path to resolve, calibrate, make accessible, and champion the use of a more comprehensive tree of life, which will be curated and managed long into the future with regular updates to connect to a broad range of biological, environmental and societal information as knowledge grows. The first phase of this mission is critical: to bring together a broad community of people from diverse backgrounds who are active in phylogenetics research, who use the tree of life in research or education, who benefit in applied or practical ways from a comprehensive tree of life, or who come from a background that offers new perspectives on defining, addressing or transcending key challenges in phylogenetics. Therefore, we are gathering ideas from the community to identify the most important themes to consider during these workshops. An initial list of possible topics is given below- we encourage refinements of this list and completely different ideas as well! Help accelerate progress in all aspects of phylogenetics research by joining FuturePhy today. Diverse opportunities will be available to attend FuturePhy sessions in person or virtually, and to link FuturePhy to existing projects and initiatives.

We invite you to participate in the project in several ways:

1. Register on futurephy.org. All interested in phylogenetics are welcome.

2. Contribute to the discussion forum here on futurephy.org. This is the best way to log your interest and contribute ideas.

3. Take our survey on the most interesting topics to discuss at FuturePhy Survey

4. Send email to contact@futurephy.org with ideas or comments

5. Tweet to the FuturePhy community: @FuturePhy

6. Comment in the FuturePhy thread over at phylobabble.org

Conference and workshop ideas: draft list

1. How to articulate and ‘publicize’ the value of phylogenetics to all communities (e.g., medicine, agriculture, art, engineering, other biological fields, conservation, law, climate change).

2. Assessment of knowledge and data available about the Tree of Life: gap analysis and data depth metrics.

3. Tools to streamline tree building: Open Tree/TreeBase integration, tree assembly and trees as data layers.

4. Data Layers: data layers, semantics, and analyses on the tree, getting high-quality data entered / curated, tracking data provenance seamlessly.

5. Tools for tree visualization and integration of data with trees: novel phylogenetics discovery tools.

6. Names: name / taxon concept resolution / object mapping issues.

7. Long-term sustainability / infrastructure needs / community building- what kinds of support does the phylogenetics and biodiversity community need to sustain this effort into the future?

  1. conferences
  2. data layers
  3. gap analysis
  4. hackathons
  5. name resolution
  6. phylogenetics
  7. tree assembly
  8. Tree of Life
  9. visualization
  10. workshops

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