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Species in the Age of Discordance

University of Utah, Department of Philosophy
Salt Lake City
March 23rd-25th

Biological lineages move through time, space, and each other. As they do, they diversify, diverge, and grade away from and into one another. One result of this is genealogical discordance, i.e., the lineages of a biological entity may have different histories. We see this on many levels, from microbial networks, to holobionts, to population-level lineages.

The focus of this project is whether and how this and other sorts of biological discordance impacts our views on species. To promote a cross-disciplinary examination of this question, investigators from a variety of fields will participate in a series of interdisciplinary meetings. This includes researchers working on phylogenetics, microbiology, symbiosis, population genetics, taxonomy, philosophy, and history.

The Utah meeting is the first of three meetings on this topic.  Follow up sessions are tentatively planned for the 2017 Evolution Meeting (Portland, OR) and the 2017 ISHPSSB Meeting (Sao Paulo, Brazil). The Utah meeting will be a mix of invited and refereed papers and posters.


If you would like to participate, please submit an abstract here.

Questions? Please contact Dan Molter or Matt Haber.

Click here for the Call for Abstracts


View the schedule here


Quentin Wheeler

Gunnar Babcock

Discordance in the Species Category

Ana Barahona (UNAM)

The scientific conception of species and its impact on popular representations of human taxonomy and evolution in Mexican visual culture

Matt Barker

Lineages, Species, and Positive Feedback Systems

Austin Booth (Dalhousie University)

Frédéric Bouchard (University of Montreal)

Jerzy Brzozowski

Species Names in the Age of Discordance

Evan Buechley  & Cagan Sekercioglu

The Avian Scavenger Crisis: Looming extinctions, trophic cascades, and loss of critical ecosystem functions

Sarah Bush & Dale Clayton

Experimental Adaptive Radiation - Genomics of Diversification in Bird Lice

Justin Bzovy

Four Pluralist Solutions to the Species Category Problem

Elizabeth Callaway

Phylogenetic Supertrees and Narrative in an Age of Mass Extinction

Patrice Showers Corneli

Incorporating Phylogenetic Uncertainty Within Higher Order Taxonomic Names

Ford Doolittle (Dalhousie University)

The Prokaryotic Species Problem is Even Worse

John Dupré (Exeter University)

What Species Are Individuals?

Marc Ereshefsky (University of Calgary)

‘Species’ Begone? A Lesson in Pluralism and Pragmatism
Against Origin Essentialism

Leonard Finkelman (Linfield College)

What, if anything, is a "Tyrannosaurus rex"?

Jean-François Flot

Sidestepping genealogical discordance: allele sharing as a basis for species delimitation

Matt Hahn (Indiana University)

The Procrustean bed of the species tree

Frank Hailer (Cardiff University)

David Hillis (University of Texas)

Lacey Knowles (University of Michigan)

Hidden forests in the trees: erroneous species boundaries from genomic approaches

Wayne Maddison (University of British Columbia)

Actors and products in species concepts

James Mallet (Harvard University)

Eukaryotic species exist, but not in the way we predicted they should

Mary Mendoza (University of Vermont) 

Roberta Millstein (UC Davis)

Grey Wolves and the Endangered Species Act: Concordance All the Way Down

Brent Mishler (UC Berkeley)

Discordance is telling us something about "species"

Dan Molter and Jacob Stegenga

Population Pluralism and Multispecies Units of Evolution

Nalini Nadkami (University of Utah)

Harmonizing values in an age of discordance through tapestry thinking: species, society, and synergisms

Marco Nathan

Pluralism is the Answer! What is the Question?

Celso Neto (University of Calgary)

Cohesion in the Age of Discordance

Aleta Quinn (Smithsonian Institute)

Concatenation, Coalescence, and Concatalescence: Conceptual Disputes in Phylogenetic Inference

Olivier Rieppel (Field Museum)

The Brown Bear and The Polar Bear: Species Individuality and Monophyly

Erica Torrens Rojas (UNAM)

Jason Sexton (UC Merced)

The adaptive continuum

Ayelet Shavit (Tel-Hai College)

It takes one to know one: involved philosophy and scientific replication

Derek Skillings

Making sense of lineage integration and discordance in host-microbe symbioses

Ian Smith

Hybridization, Hennig, and the Species-as-Individuals Hypothesis

Daniel Spalink, Kevin Stoffel, Allen Van Deynze and Lynn Bohs

Spiciness in the age of discordance: genome-scale patterns of incongruence in the phylogeny of peppers and relatives (Capsicum/Lycianthes, Solanaceae)

Richard Javier Stephenson     

Paleontological Census and Unclear Taxa

Beckett Sterner (ASU)

Jeet Sukumaran

Hidden forests in the trees: erroneous species boundaries from genomic approaches

Erica Torrens

The scientific conception of species and its impact on popular representations of human taxonomy and evolution in Mexican visual culture

Joel Velasco

Foundations of Concordance Views of Phylogeny

Francisco Vergara-Silva

Folkbiology, species concepts, and multispecies ethnography

Jeannette Whitton (Department of Botany, UBC)

Actors and products in species concepts 

Stuart Willis

One species or four? Yes!...and, no. Or, Arbitrary assignment of lineages to species obscures the diversification processes of Neotropical fishes

Olga Zhaxybayeva

The Prokaryotic Species Problem is Even Worse


Thank you to our Sponsors:

National Science Foundation (NSF) Award #1557117

Department of Philosophy

Center for Latin American Studies

Tanner Humanities Center

Environmental Humanities

Department of Biology

College of Humanities Dean of Research

University of Utah Vice President of Research

The American West Center

The Deparment of History


Department of Philosophy Annual Conference Series

Last Updated: 7/29/21