Annual Meeting 2018 Workshops Five workshops will be offered in conjunction with the Annual Meeting.  Advance registration is required for all workshops.  Onsite registration will not be accepted.  SVP reserves the right to alter or cancel a workshop due to low registration.  In the event of a workshop cancellation, SVP will refund fees in full.
  • Solutions for Supporting a Diverse SVP Membership
  • Paleontology Education: Staying on the Cutting Edge in Research, Pedagogy and Outreach
  • Morphological Evolution in Deep Time: Calculating Disparity and Rates from Discrete Phenotypic Data
  • Photography and Photoshop 101: Digital imaging techniques and post processing basics for specimen data capture    
  • Thinking About Fossils: The Philosophy of Paleontology
Solutions for Supporting a Diverse SVP Membership​
The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology is becoming more diverse every year, as is our field and science as a whole. Members of all backgrounds find themselves increasingly in need of new best practices and ways of thinking to address the challenges presented by this positive trend. The ‘Solutions for Supporting a Diverse SVP Membership’ workshop will cover topics faced by traditionally underrepresented SVP members, including ethnic minorities, LGBTQA, and women, as well as discussing mental health, disabilities, and what it means to be diverse. Round table discussions will be held in the morning. In the afternoon, panel discussions will be held to determine effective solutions to known challenges, and potential paths forward for the Society as a whole. Through networking and discussion, the workshop will help build mentoring relationships and provide tools for members to become more engaged in the SVP community and in the larger scientific sphere. This workshop is intended for members who belong to underrepresented groups AND those who seek to understand and support our diverse colleagues at the conference, in the field, in the classroom, online, and in the media, regardless of their career stage or background.

Date: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: TELUS Convention Centre
Cost: Free
Minimum Number of Participants: 10
Maximum Number of Participants: 100
ReBecca Hunt-Foster
District Paleontologist, Canyon Country District, Bureau of Land Management
Moab, Utah 84532
Work: (435) 259-2179,

Thea Boodhoo
Director of Digital Outreach & Media, Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs
San Francisco, CA, 94103
(415) 568-5119,

Ali Nabavizadeh
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
401 S. Broadway, Camden, NJ 08103
Work: (856) 361-2866;

Kelsey Stilson
Graduate Student, Organismal Biology and Anatomy, University of Chicago
5801 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637
(503) 956-9280,

Gabriel-Philip Santos
Collections Manager, Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology
1175 West Baseline Road, Claremont, CA 91711
(909) 482-5243,

Michelle Barboza
Graduate Student, Vertebrate Paleontology, Florida Museum of Natural History
University of Florida
1659 Museum Rd, Gainesville, Florida 3261
Paleontology Education: Staying on the Cutting Edge in Research, Pedagogy and Outreach​
This workshop will provide a break-out session and pedagogical sounding board for students and educators from a variety of levels to share best practices and trends in paleontology education.
As an expansion of the outreach and education posters, and in addition to past education workshop events, this workshop will serve as an opportunity to check the pulse of our society’s education initiatives, and to connect educators across many levels. We will cross-pollinate our ideas on student critical thinking, 21st century science skills, science careers in the U.S., Canada, and abroad, the teaching of evolutionary biology, and support for educators in a variety of venues and from a variety of backgrounds. Importantly, we will share ways to implement mentorship in paleontology for students from traditionally underrepresented groups - the next generation of scientists and scientific educators. This workshop will serve as a test to gauge greater interest in a full educational symposium in future years.
Following a short series of introductory talks on pedagogical best practices, workshop participants will be able to engage in a series of activities that will produce educational materials for immediate use in a wide variety of classrooms and informal education venues. Museum educators, university educators, and K-12 teachers will have the opportunity to network. Cutting edge research techniques and open access paleontology resources will be shared, along with broad pedagogical methods such as constructivism, Bloom’s Taxonomy, and project-based learning, to create a forum for expanding our collective educational toolkits within the society. How do our members interact with and educate the public, and how can we be the best science communicators possible? Participants will leave with refreshing ideas on how to engage and excite our science students and the public at large.
The purpose of this event will be to-
● Connect paleontology educators from the K-12, museum education, informal outreach,
undergraduate, graduate, and medical school spheres
● Share best practices in vertebrate paleontology education, expanding upon outreach
and education techniques from a number of our members’ institutions - bringing research from our museums and universities to a number of classroom types through open
access and digital resources
● Create a dialogue on science education pedagogy, with immediately implementable tips and techniques for teachers and instructors of a variety of student levels
● Provide a deliverable special journal issue or white paper on pedagogy techniques and paleontology education trends (potential to collaborate with National Science Teachers Association - NSTA and the National Center for Science Education - NCSE)
● Assess how we as scientists interact with the public, and how we as educators interact with science and its effective communication
● Implement a network of mentor resources for young professionals in paleontology education, as well as a network of mentor resources for students from underrepresented groups, including female-identifying students, LGBTQ students, and students from nontraditional backgrounds (including students of color)

Date: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 
Time: 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Location: TELUS Convention Centre
Cost: Free
Minimum Number of Participants: 20
Maximum Number of Participants: 50
Taormina Lepore
Research Associate and Science Educator
The Webb Schools of California and the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology
1175 W. Baseline Road, Claremont, CA 91711
909-626-3587 or 781-223-0967,

M. Allison Stegner
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin, Madison
430 Lincoln Dr., Madison, WI, 53706

Ashley Hall
Naturalist, Cleveland Metroparks
Rocky River Nature Center
24000 Valley Parkway, North Olmsted, Ohio, 44070
(574) 276-9111,

Ariel E. Marcy
PhD Candidate, Educational Game Designer
University of Queensland
1/29 Park Road West, Dutton Park, QLD, 4102, Australia
+61 0473.087.727 (Aus) or +1 650.644.7752 (US/google voice),

Ashley C. Morhardt
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Departments of Neuroscience and Anthropology
Washington University School of Medicine
Campus Box 8101, 660 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110
Morphological Evolution in Deep Time: Calculating Disparity and Rates from Discrete Phenotypic Data
Paleontologists have a unique insight into morphological evolution over long time periods, unavailable to evolutionary biologists and ecologists working in the lab or studying modern ecosystems. Morphological diversification in deep time has been the focus of a tremendous amount of research over the past century, and new methodologies are developing at a rapid pace. At the same time vertebrate palaeontology in particular is producing phenotypic data sets in the form of character-taxon matrices at an ever growing rate. Although most frequently used to infer phylogeny, such data sets may also be appropriate for analyses of disparity (morphological diversity) and evolutionary rates (tempo). In this workshop we will introduce the history and development of these two major methodological approaches and show how they can (and should) be applied.
Attendees will be taught how to apply the full suite of available disparity and rate analyses in the freely-available software R using the custom-written package, Claddis. By the end of the workshop each attendee should be able to produce all the visualisations and data that might be expected to appear in the figures, tables, and supplementary information of a peer-reviewed publication.
Date: Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: TELUS Convention Centre
Cost: $40.00 USD per person
Minimum Number of Participants: 20
Maximum Number of Participants: 25
Required Items and Recommended Background: We will expect attendees to bring their own laptop, but no previous R experience will be required as we will cover all the basics required to complete the exercises. We also encourage attendees to bring their own data, although this is not a requirement as we will use an example data set.
Graeme T. Lloyd
Macquarie University, Sydney
Stephen L. Brusatte
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh

Danielle Fraser
Canadian Museum of Nature
Photography and Photoshop 101, Digital imaging techniques and post processing basics for specimen data capture   

Purpose of this workshop is to teach the basic principles of good data capture with DSLR cameras, including photography basics, how to color balance, focus, light, and position objects for photography. Then transfer to computers and teach how to photo process and image correct files ready for intended usage. Techniques taught are useful for Paleontological records, specimen photography and post processing uses with collections and data recording. Workshop will end with time for hands on photo processing.
Date: Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: TELUS Convention Centre
Cost: $70.00 USD per person (lunch not provided)
Materials Provided: Handouts
Materials Required: Personal laptops required. PC or Mac. Computers must come with Adobe Photoshop CS or newer. (Adobe offers temporary and long-term licenses as well as a free trial. Please check out their website.)
Minimum Number of Participants: 10
Maximum Number of Participants: 15
Erin Fitzgerald
Sereno Dino Lab/F22
University of Chicago
Chicago, IL 60637
Thinking About Fossils: The Philosophy of Paleontology
Philosophy and paleontology have much to offer one another. On the one hand, paleontological practice requires grappling with philosophical questions about both the nature of evidence and of the critters studied. To reconstruct and explain the past palaeontologists make indirect, complex inferences—from, for instance, a trace fossil of a burrow to the existence of a burrower, and further to features of the organism’s morphology, ecology, phylogenetic status and lifeways—and this is to say nothing of attempting to identify and understand patterns and processes across deep biological time. Further, the palaeontologist must decide how to characterize, categorize and generally think about the target of their inquiry. Utilizing trends, taxonomies, and other categories, often involves answering philosophical questions about their nature. Philosophical concern with understanding concepts and evidence can aid in clarifying and progressing this practice—distinguishing real concerns from red herrings; important debates from mere linguistic differences. On the other hand, paleontological practice and method can challenge philosophical ideas about the nature of evidence, scientific practice, and knowledge. Paleontology is typically a highly interdisciplinary, sometimes speculative, and often highly uncertain science, which nonetheless provides well-supported, rich pictures of the biological past. For the philosophy of science, which has traditionally focused on sciences firmly fixed in the here-and-now, and tied to the laboratory experiment, the success of paleontology is a surprise which requires a reappraisal of ideas developed in those contexts.

Despite this rich ground, philosophical attention to paleontology (not to mention paleontological attention to philosophy!) has been thin on the ground. The philosophy of paleontology is an underdeveloped, nascent discipline which would be well served by input from practicing palaeontologists. As such, the SVP workshop would both be a joint opportunity for palaeontologists to see what is going on in philosophy that might interest them, and provide philosophers interested in paleontology an opportunity to present their ideas to a scientific audience.

The workshop will have a two-step structure. First, a series of short presentations aimed at a generalist audience will introduce some of the major themes and concerns of philosophy of paleontology. The seminars will be presented by:
  • Caitlin Wylie, University of Virginia
  • Carol Cleland, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Adrian Currie, Cambridge University
  • Matt Haber, University of Utah
  • Derek Turner, Connecticut College
Second, an ‘unconference’ session, involving small group discussions centred upon pre-arranged themes. Although the themes will be officially decided closer to the time, here are some possible examples:
  • Is historical science as legitimate as experimental science?
  • How much can we know about the past?
  • What are extinct species?
  • Is there selection of groups of organisms?
Attendees will be expected to prepare (very) short responses to these themes to accommodate small group-work. The session will end with summaries of the discussions
Date: Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Time: 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Location: Department of Philosophy, University of Calgary 
Cost: Free
Minimum Number of Participants: 10
Maximum Number of Participants: 40
Adrian Currie