For the 2018 course, please go to This site is archived for those relying on the previous info, but future development will be happening on the site.


This is a course on Phylogenetic Methods: building and using trees to answer compelling questions. It was taught for the first time in Spring, 2016, and is currently running for Spring, 2017. UT students may sign up at EEB 603, CRN 30253 (grad students) or EEB 504, CRN 31819 (advanced undergrads). It meets Thursdays from 2:10 – 4:55 pm in Walters Life Sciences M415. I am deliberately not putting it behind a registration wall, so anyone can stumble across it and get some benefits from its materials. If you do want to engage as an online participant, feel free to just jump in (and it’s ok if you’re weeks behind the rest of the class; in some ways, since the new material is debugged, it’s even better!). You don’t have to sign up, but adding your info to the usage page is helpful for me to track the course’s impact.

The syllabus will have updated information on requirements, schedule, where to find exercises, and so forth. We have a course chat room using Gitter (free). Don’t be shy about participating there, bringing up problems you are having, etc.

It would not be possible without support from the National Science Foundation, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the taxpayers and students who support each, though any course content reflects my views, not theirs. This is a flipped class, with multiple videos and other basic information posted ahead of the sessions, and then active learning throughout.

You can see some of the thoughts behind the decisions I’m making designing the course here. Code for the course, including its exercises, is being developed here; you may be especially interested in the overview of what may be covered. Finally, this is supported by an NSF CAREER grant to me: to see the full text of the grant, please see this PDF.

Brian O’Meara