STA 290 Seminar: Bruce Rannala (Genome Center, UC Davis)

Statistics Seminar: STA 290

Thursday, March 1st, 2012 at 4.10pm, MSB 1147 (Colloquium Room)

Refreshments: 3.30pm, MSB 1147 (Colloquium Room)

Speaker:  Bruce Rannala (Genome Center, UC Davis)

Title:       A Bayesian Approach to Species Delimitation

Abstract: Taxonomy is an ancient subject aimed at classifying organisms according to species or higher level groupings. Morphological (physical) features have been used to identify species for centuries. However, some taxonomic groups show great morphological similarities despite their ancient relatedness. This has led to the notion of a "cryptic" species. Recently, there has been much interest in the identification of cryptic species using only genomic sequences. I will provide an overview of a recently developed method that uses a combination of population genetic modeling, phylogenetic inference theory and Bayesian reversible jump Markov chain Monte Carlo to assign posterior probabilities to particular species delimitations. Examples will be presented analyzing sequence data for primates and lizards.