Meeting Overview

What: The 2nd standalone meeting of the Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB).

Where: Baton Rouge, LA (Hosted by Louisiana State University)

When: Jan. 8-10, 2017

Following on the success of the SSB 2015 Standalone Meeting, we are organizing a meeting in Baton Rouge. It will feature workshops, debates, lightning talks, and more. Capacity is capped at 300 attendees. Follow @jembrown and @systbiol on Twitter for meeting-related news. Details will also be updated regularly on this site.

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Click here to register now!

Click here to book a hotel room!

The regular registration period will end on Dec. 16th, at which point rates will increase and hotel rooms will no longer be available at the group rate. Preference for lightning talks and workshops will be given to those registering first.

Lightning talk availability: FULL
If you are interested in having your name on a standby list, please email

The Introduction to RevBayes workshop on Saturday is now FULL.
If you are interested in having your name on a standby list, please email


Jan. 7th (Sat.) - RevBayes Introduction - Hilton Capitol Center
Jan. 8th (Sun.) - Workshops - Hilton Capitol Center
Jan. 9th & 10th (Mon. & Tues.) - Debates, Discussions, and Lightning Talks - Manship Theatre at Shaw Center for the Arts

Click here for a more detailed schedule.
Click here to register now!


The Hilton Capitol Center is the official hotel of the 2017 SSB Standalone Meeting. SSB 2017 attendees qualify for a discounted rate of $119 per night on hotel rooms. Workshops on Sunday, Jan. 8th, will be held in meeting rooms at the Hilton. The Hilton is also within easy walking distance of the Manship Theatre, location of the SSB 2017 activities on Monday (Jan. 9th) and Tuesday (Jan. 10th).
Click here to book your room!

Reception @ LSU Museum of Natural Science

On the evening of Monday, Jan. 9th, a reception will be held at the LSU Museum of Natural Science. Transportation will be provided between downtown and campus. More details about the reception will be forthcoming, but in the meantime follow the Museum on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see pictures and learn more.


A variety of workshops will be offered on Sunday, Jan. 8th. Details for each workshop are available below. An Introduction to RevBayes will be held the previous day, Saturday Jan. 7th, and is strongly recommended for those attending advanced RevBayes workshops on Sunday.

  • RevBayes Introduction (Saturday)

    A day-long introduction to the new RevBayes software package, for Bayesian inference in phylogenetics, will be held on Sat., Jan. 7th. Note that this is a day earlier than other workshops. Those wishing to attend a more advanced RevBayes workshop on Sun., Jan. 8th should plan to attend this introduction or familiarize themselves with the basics of RevBayes using online tutorials. Workshop details here.

  • Arbor

    Arbor is workflow software for comparative methods. You can use Arbor to carry out a wide range of comparative analyses, including independent contrasts, ancestral state reconstruction, phylogenetic generalized least squares (PGLS), phylogenetic community ecology, fit macroevolutionary models, and more! Arbor aims to bring comparative biology into the age of big data. Workshop details here.

  • Bayou

    Bayou is an R package for Bayesian modeling of adaptive trait evolution on phylogenies. Attendees will learn how to use bayou, Ornstein-Uhlenbeck models and reversible-jump Markov chain Monte Carlo to identify and interpret shifts in adaptive trait evolution. We will cover the underlying theory behind macroevolutionary adaptive landscapes as well as advanced topics such as model selection, allometry and implementing customized models. Workshop details here.


    PHRAPL is a new R package that allows uses to identify the optimal demographic model for phylogeographic inference. Attendees will be introduced to the theory behind PHRAPL and will learn basic operations, including how to format their data, conduct analyses and interpret results. Advanced topics will include how to design and test hypotheses and conduct power analyses. Workshop details here.

  • Phylogenetic Reliability in RevBayes

    Proper fit between models and data is critical to ensuring the reliability of statistical inferences. When models of evolution fail to capture important aspects of molecular or trait evolution, phylogenetic and comparative inferences may not be dependable. Posterior predictive simulation is an intuitive and flexible approach for assessing model fit in a Bayesian framework. Attendees will learn how to design, run, and interpret posterior predictive analyses using RevBayes. Travel awards may be available for participants attending this workshop. Workshop details here.

  • RevBayes: Analysis of Fossil & Molecular Data

    This half-day workshop will guide participants through the theory and practice of combined inference of dated phylogenies using fossil and molecular data. For this workshop, participants should attend the RevBayes Introduction workshop or have previous experience using RevBayes. We will cover the background necessary to understand the fossilized birth-death process, relaxed clock models, and discrete morphological evolution. The tutorial provided will demonstrate how to perform a "total-evidence analysis" on a provided dataset. Additionally, participants can bring their own data to analyze. Travel awards may be available for participants attending this workshop. Workshop details here.

  • Dendropy

    DendroPy is a Python library for phylogenetic computing. With this workshop you will learn to use DendroPy to power your bio/phylo/evo-informatics adventures! We will begin with a conceptual overview of DendroPy's phylogenetic data model and its usage. This will be followed by a series of practicals that will provide all you need to get started working with phylogenetic data.Workshop details here.

  • TreeScaper

    TreeScaper allows users to visualize, explore, and quantify variation and structure in sets of phylogenetic trees. Modern phylogenomic studies frequently result in large collections of trees. Come learn how to calculate a variety of tree-to-tree distances, visualize trees in interactive 2- or 3-dimensional plots, and identify the number of unique phylogenetic signals.Workshop details here.

  • Biogeography in RevBayes

    This workshop will introduce phylogenetic models of range evolution using RevBayes. Topics will include the basics of the dispersal-extinction-cladogenesis model, ancestral area estimation, epoch models, hierarchical models, and joint estimation of phylogeny and biogeography. Basic comfort with programming is required (e.g. R, python, Rev, etc). Travel awards may be available for participants attending this workshop. Workshop details here.

  • Biogeography in BioGeoBears

    Learn how to use the R package BioGeoBEARS to compare models for phylogenetic biogeography. New options will be presented, including measuring the relative impact of geographical distance, environmental distance, and connectivity on dispersal probability. BioGeoBEARS can also estimate dispersal rates that depend on a discrete trait. Biogeographical Stochastic Mapping can estimate the number and timing of biogeographic events, and a collection of these stochastic maps can be animated on a phylogeny, and mapped on a geographic map. Workshop details here.

  • NSF Meet and Greet

    National Science Foundation program officers will be on hand to talk about the "Future of Systematics", discuss funding opportunities, and hear from the systematics community.More details here.


The 2017 SSB meeting is being generously supported by LSU's Department of Biological Sciences, Museum of Natural Science, College of Science, & Office of Research and Economic Development. Thank you!

Travel Awards

Travel awards of $400 (for reimbursement of travel/registration to the conference) are available for selected students who will attend the RevBayes workshops. Awardees must attend any two of the RevBayes workshops during the meeting. Preference will be given to students, early career scientists, and those working with natural history collections data. Apply here:

Travel awards of $500 are available for the Phrapl and TreeScaper workshops. Those interested in Phrapl travel awards should fill out this form. Information about TreeScaper awards will be sent to those listing it among their top choices.

Code of Conduct

The Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB) prohibits all forms of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation at Society meetings. Behavior that undermines the integrity of intellectual discourse and interactions will not be tolerated at Society meetings. Those with concerns about meeting conduct can contact Jeremy Brown (, @jembrown).

Photo Credits

All pictures and images used on this site are from students, staff, and faculty at LSU. SSB 2017 crawfish logo designed by Subir Shakya. LSU lakes vista taken by Jeremy Brown. Brown booby from the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway taken by Oscar Johnson. Anole with extended dewlap, aerial view of downtown Baton Rouge, white pelicans on the LSU lakes, and birds in trees taken by AJ Turner. Future biologist at LSU Museum of Natural Science taken by Raegan Labat (Copyright 2015 LSU Daily Reveille).