Karen Cranston, Duke Biology, @kcranstn


Engage community in creating a tree of life that is:
1. Complete
2. Online
3. Constantly updated

Phylogeny provides a mechanism through which to interpret the patterns and processes of evolution and to predict the responses of life to rapid environmental change. Phylogenies and phylogenetic methods are now being used to enhance agriculture, identify and combat diseases, conserve biodiversity, and predict responses to global climate change and to biological invasions.
(tl;dr: We need trees to do cool and important science)

Tree of Life v 7.0
2.5 million species
3582 published studies
8022 trees
146 curators
5795 study database edits

Using OpenTree data

rotl: R package wraps OPenTree APIs
provides trees given species
imports trees for comparative analyses
visualization of tree



  • community curation of tree of life
  • promoting data sharing through services
  • reproducibility through open notebooks, open data, open source and open access