Seven 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.

Iodine-Enhanced Soft-Tissue Imaging: An Introductory Workshop for Vertebrate Paleontologists

The ability to visualize hard tissues (e.g., bone, dentine, enamel) rapidly in three dimensions using X-ray techniques has been one of the most important advancements for vertebrate paleontology in the last half-century. Until recently, however, comparably valuable gains in soft-tissue imaging have been difficult to realize fully due to the inherently low X-ray absorption of non-mineralized tissues. Recent pioneering work in this area has demonstrated that an aqueous solution of Lugol's iodine (I2KI) is a highly effective agent for rapidly differentiating many types of soft tissues (e.g., epithelial, muscular, and neural structures) in μCT images (Metscher 2009a, b). Across a wide array of vertebrate groups, paleontologists have become a driving force advancing this technique and utilizing the remarkable three-dimensional (3-D) data generated as comprehensive guides for reconstructing soft tissues in fossil forms (Tsai and Holliday, 2011a; Dufea et al., 2012; Gignac and Kley, 2012, 2013; Morhardt et al., 2012; Romick and Witmer, 2012). Yet, outside of these research groups the technique itself—and how to best to use it for examining questions in deep time—remains fairly obscure.

 

Our goals are for the workshop to set a conceptual foundation for 3-D soft-tissue imaging in modern taxa and for the symposium to demonstrate applications of those data within the inference frameworks we commonly use as paleontologists. Together they will address all aspects of i-e μCT imaging for first time practitioners from specimen preparation, storage, and data collection, to digital reconstruction and measurement, historical inference, and dissemination. We anticipate that i-e μCT will be of great relevance to graduate students in particular, who will have the opportunity to establish their paleontological research programs with a new toolkit for addressing anatomical questions that had previously been limited primarily to hard-tissue structures. Ultimately, we hope to spur developing research programs towards long-term success by demonstrating the remarkable versatility of i-e μCT techniques for addressing questions of soft-tissue morphology in the vertebrate fossil record.

  

Date: Tuesday, October 13
Time:
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location:
Hyatt Regency Dallas
Cost:
$35.00 USD
Cost Includes:
Software demos, best practices, and freely available web-based resources.
Minimum Number of Participants:
15
Maximum Number of Participants:
45

Leaders:

P. M. Gignac, Ph.D.

Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Anatomy and Cell Biology
1111 W. 17th Street
Tulsa, OK 74119
(918) 561-8265
paul.gignac@okstate.edu

N. J. Kley, Ph.D.

Stony Brook University
Anatomical Sciences Department
Health Sciences Center, T8 (069)
Stony Brook, NY 11794-8081
(631) 444-6912
nathan.kley@stonybrook.edu

A. Morhardt
Ohio University
141 Life Sciences Building
Athens, Ohio 45701
(740) 593-2290
am159410@ohio.edu

Z. Li
The University of Texas at Austin
Department of Geological Sciences
1 University Station C1100
Austin, TX 78712
(512) 471-6048
julia_clarke@jsg.utexas.edu


Phylogenetic Comparative Methods Workshop

 

During the past 20 years a family of analytical tools has been developed to analyze character evolution using phylogenies – phylogenetic comparative methods. In this workshop, we will work from basic assumptions and concepts to recent advances, including Bayesian and maximum likelihood approaches, accounting for phylogenetic uncertainty, correlated evolution, hypothesis testing, phylogenetically-informed prediction, and variable rate modelling. Bayesian and maximum likelihood phylogenetic inference will also be covered. Knowledge of basic phylogenetics is assumed. Attendees should bring their own laptop and are encouraged to bring a dataset and tree they would like to use during the workshop.


Date: Tuesday, October 13
Time:
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Location:
Hyatt Regency Dallas
Cost:
$45.00 USD
Cost Includes:
Software and datasets
Required Items and Recommended Background:
Attendees should bring their own laptop and are encouraged to bring a dataset and tree they would like to use during the Workshop.  Attendees should come with the following software installed: plain text editor (such as Notepad++), spreadsheet software (such as MS Excel), and be comfortable with command prompt basics.
Minimum Number of Participants:
10
Maximum Number of Participants:
20

Leaders:
Chris Organ
Department of Anthropology
Department of Paleontology,  NHMU
University of Utah
chris.organ@utah.edu


Chris Venditti
Evolutionary Biology Group
Department of Biological Sciences
The University of Hull
HU6 7RX

United Kingdom
c.d.venditti@reading.ac.uk / c.venditti@hull.ac.uk


Andrew Meade
School of Biological Sciences
Lyle Building
University of Reading
RG6 6AS, UK

a.meade@reading.ac.uk


Geomorph: R Package for the Collection and Analysis of Geometric Morphometric Data

 

Geometric morphometrics (GMM) has become an increasingly popular method for quantifying and analyzing the morphology of specimens in vertebrate paleontology. The integration of GMM data with multivariate statistics and phylogenetic comparative methods makes it a particularly powerful and versatile technique for tackling biological questions related to shape. Recently, the proliferation of available software for collecting, analyzing, and visualizing shape data, especially in 3-D, has driven this growing adoption of GMM. The primary objective of the workshop is to equip the participants with the competency to collect and analyze GMM data in the freely and openly available “geomorph” R package. Topics covered will be largely practical with some theoretical components, including (1) digitization of specimens; (2) superimposition techniques; (3) multivariate statistical methods; and (4) comparative phylogenetic methods. The workshop expects the participants to bring their own laptops and have some proficiency with R statistical software. Although example data will be provided, participants are encouraged to bring their own data sets. From this workshop, the participants will acquire their own GMM data set, in addition to the skill and resources to execute analyses on their shape data. The workshop will complement the symposium The Shapes of Things to Come: Geometric Morphometrics in Vertebrate Paleontology taking place at the Meeting.

 


Date: Tuesday, October 13
Time: 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Location: Hyatt Regency Dallas
Cost: $40.00 USD
Cost Includes: Example data (participants are encouraged to bring own data).  Note lunch meal will NOT be provided.
Required Items and Recommended Background: Laptop computer, R program with “geomorph” R package installed, and some proficiency with R (e.g., loading files, executing functions, assigning variables). IMPORTANT NOTE: Because WiFi will not be provided, it is imperative that participants download and install the most recent version of R and “geomorph” package PRIOR to attending the workshop. In R, you can install the “geomorph” R package by running the command install.packages(“geomorph”) or going to “Packages & Data” > “Package Installer”.
Minimum Number of Participants: 10
Maximum Number of Participants: 20

Leaders:

 

Emma Sherratt

Zoology Division

School of Environmental and Rural Science

University of New England

Armidale, NSW, Australia 2351

emma.sherratt@une.edu.au

Phone: +61 2 6773 5038

 

Akinobu Watanabe

Division of Paleontology

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street

New York, NY 10024

awatanabe@amnh.org

Phone: +1 248 497 9339

 

Marc Jones

Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Landscape Science

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

University of Adelaide

Adelaide, South Australia 5005

marc.jones@adelaide.edu.au

 Phone: +61 8 8313 5280


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. Similarly, vertebrate paleontology 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 attendees to the history and development of these two major methodological approaches and show how they can (and should) be applied to their own data. 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 on these topics.

 


Date: Tuesday, October 13
Time:
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Location:
Southern Methodist University
Cost:
Free
Cost Includes:
All materials (lecture slides, R scripts) will be provided electronically.
Minimum Number of Participants:
10
Maximum Number of Participants:
40

Leaders:
Graeme T. Lloyd
Macquarie University, Sydney
graemetlloyd@gmail.com

Stephen L. Brusatte
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh
Stephen.Brusatte@ed.ac.uk

Vertebrate Fossil Packing for Shipment by Courier

It is not possible for every researcher to visit every museum to see every specimen, so vertebrate paleontology collections regularly loan material to researchers in other institutions. This means that delicate, irreplaceable fossil specimens are shipped all over the world. It is easy to imagine a multitude of ways in which damage can occur; however, with a few simple steps most damage can be avoided.

               
The purpose of this workshop is to provide participants with the knowledge and skills, through hands-on training, to pack vertebrate fossils for shipment by courier. This workshop will particularly benefit curators and collections personnel, providing them with the tools necessary to properly package irreplaceable fossils for shipment. This course will also provide a model of instruction that participants can then disseminate to staff at their home institutions. The hands-on training will be followed by a question and answer session where special packing and shipping issues related to vertebrate fossils can be discussed. Participants will leave with a detailed packing hand-out, references and their packing sample.
 

Date: Tuesday, October 13
Time:
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location:
Hyatt Regency Dallas
Cost:
$55.00 USD
Cost Includes:
Fossil analog to pack and packing materials
Minimum Number of Participants:
20
Maximum Number of Participants:
25

Leaders:
Marilyn Fox

marilyn.fox@yale.edu

Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

Division of Vertebrate Paleontology

170 Whitney Avenue

New Haven CT 06511

1 (203) 432-3747

Alana Gishlick

agishlick@amnh.org

American Museum of Natural History

Division of Paleontology

Central Park West @ 79th Street

New York NY  10024

1 (212) 769-5710
 

Vanessa R. Rhue

vrhue@nhm.org

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Department of Vertebrate Paleontology

900 Exposition Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90039

1 (213) 763-3248

Vicen Carrió

v.carrio@nms.ac.uk

National Museums Scotland

Natural Sciences Department

Chambers Street


Edinburgh
 EH1 1JF

+44 (0)131 247 4

 

UV and Other Forensic Techniques in Specimen Diagnostics and Documentation
UV photography and other simple lighting techniques are very powerful forensic tools to aid in specimen diagnosis and documentation.  Ultraviolet lighting can reveal extraordinary new information in specimens like soft tissue, associated biologic data, repairs and cosmetic enhancements all of which are critical to specimen understanding and interpretation.  These inexpensive techniques apply universally to historic as well as modern specimens and help fulfill diagnostic needs in fossil preparation, collections management and scientific research alike.  The purpose of this workshop is to introduce the basic concepts and skills in using these special lighting conditions to safely and efficiently document previously unseen but critical information on paleontological specimens.   The opening discussion segment will address safety, basic lighting concepts,  different camera types/sensors, calibration, workstation ergonomics, documentation and record keeping,  manmade versus natural artifacts, software and file storage choices.  The hands-on lab portion will give participants a chance to work on several different types of workstations.    A variety of large and small specimens as well as several different DSLR cameras and microscopes will be used.  The final discussion portion will be on interpreting images, artifact diagnosis and implementation of learned concepts.   Participants may bring cameras, iPads and SD media cards for “data” sets if time permits.

Date: Tuesday, October 13
Time:
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location:
Hyatt Regency Dallas
Cost:
$95.00 USD
Cost Includes:
Multiple cameras and digital media, microscopes with photo ports, light sources including a variety of UV lights, paleontological specimens, safety glasses, gloves, and handouts.
Required Items and Recommended Background:
Long sleeve shirt.  All worn clothes should preferably be dark in color.
Minimum Number of Participants:
10
Maximum Number of Participants:
15

Leaders:

Mike Eklund

University of Texas at Austin, Jackson School of Geosciences

and

Thinklabsinc

872 S Milwaukee Rd.  #119

Libertyville, IL  60048

(406)600-8947

Thinklabsinc@gmail.com



Paleontology and the Media - Communicating Your Research to the Popular Press
The purpose of this workshop is to help facilitate the communication of new scientific studies in the fields of paleontology, evolution, and earth history between authors (and paleontologists in general) and the popular press.  This workshop will focus on providing an interactive session with persons interested in learning more about disseminating their research with media to get the important facts across. In this age, it is essential that concepts in evolutionary biology are presented accurately in popular press stories. In addition to traditional media outlets, such as newspaper, magazine, television, and radio, we will also include a discussion of internet news resources (e.g., blogs) with specialists in the field. The scheduling of this workshop is proposed for Wednesday, October 14th, to provide the authors of the Communications Committee’s Featured Abstracts an opportunity to attend and gain a new perspective on handling the media prior to the SVP Press Conference. Upon completion of this workshop, participants will learn the basic guidelines for providing the ‘talking’ points of their research to interested media outlets as well as gaining exposure to novel types of media.

Date:
Wednesday, October 14
Time:
12:30 - 1:30 pm
Location:
Hyatt Regency Dallas
Cost:
Free
Minimum Number of Participants:
10
Maximum
Number of Participants: 45

Leaders:

Dana Ehret and the Communications Committee (Anthony Friscia and Brooke Haiar)
Alabama Museum of Natural History, Box 870340
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0340
, USA
352-871-7944
djehret@ua.edu

Anthony Friscia
Alabama Museum of Natural History,
Box 870340
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0340
, USA
352-871-7944
tonyf@ucla.edu

 

 


Educators' Workshop:
Vertebrate Paleontology in the Secondary Classroom: An Exploration into how Ancient Life and Climates Shaped the World Today

The primary objective of this workshop is to acquaint teachers with educational activities and resources aimed at communicating paleontological content to secondary students, which correspond with the Next Generation Science Standards and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).  This workshop is aimed at local educators but will also be open to (although in a limited amount) the entirety of the vertebrate paleontology community ranging from students to faculty. 


Paleontology captures the curiosity of students of all ages; however, it is often not discussed beyond elementary school.  Current paleontological research involves cutting edge technology and novel methods that are fundamental to disciplines including mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and general sciences (including Earth and physical sciences).  Here, we aim to introduce local teachers and educators to a diversity of resources available to teach a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines through the lens of paleontological research.  The purpose of the workshop is, as follows:  1) to familiarize participants with new teaching resources that can be effectively used to teach topics including evolution, climate change, and other core subjects, 2) to provide educational materials that showcase cutting edge paleontological research methods used by society members, including digital analysis of specimens, stable isotope data to assess past climates, the examination of giant fossil sharks to assess ancient ecology, and the assessment of humans and our ancestors, and 3) to provide examples about how to conduct relevant educational activities in their own classroom.  Participants will leave the workshop with a detailed understanding of how paleontological research can be explored in secondary classrooms, and how each lesson is tied to national and state science standards.     

We have recruited several society members, who are professional educators and paleontological researchers, to facilitate a series of four classroom activities. These activities include topics spanning millions of years, a global distribution, and a diversity of life forms. For instance, Taormina (Tara) Lepore will demonstrate the use of 3D-datasets during scientific inquiry providing access to paleontological specimens previously unavailable to classroom research; Co-Symposium Conveners Christopher Strganac, Diana Vineyard, with Kent Newman, will highlight recent discoveries of Arctic and Antarctic dinosaurs and other fossils, focusing on what they tell us about modern and ancient climates and environments; Kerin Claeson and Larisa DeSantis will feature Megalodon – the largest shark to have ever lived – as a tool for teaching cladistics and other scientific methods via hands on specimens, paired with self guided field trips, and printed images; Mark Terry will discuss the evidence about where “we” come from and promote better understandings of human evolution.

The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology has an opportunity to facilitate and promote the education of evolution and climate change in a manner that will captivate the interest of secondary science students while offering lessons to teachers that correspond with the Next Generation Science Standards and TEKS. Additionally, we plan to provide  Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours for participating teachers in this workshop. We anticipate that increased communication about paleontological research through the use of established educator resources will allow local teachers to confidently implement inquiry-based science activities that focus on current scientific content, especially evolution and climate change.  Further, we plan to follow up with local educators (via-email) after the workshop to assess ways in which any of the discussed lessons were implemented. Upon follow-up of measured outcomes, we will provide the content via the Education and Outreach Committee, as well as encouraging our Paleontology Ambassadors to implement these lessons during their own outreach efforts.

 


Date: Saturday, October 17
Time:
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location:
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Cost:
Free
Cost Includes:
A digital copy of all material provided, via a digital link.
Transportation:
All participants will be required to provide their own transportation and accommodations associated with this Workshop.
Maximum Number of Participants:
40 total including 10 regular registrants and 30 local secondary school teacher.
Teacher Registration: Interested school teachers should contact either Christopher Strganac or Diana Vineyard for registration information.

Leaders:

Kerin M. Claeson, co-Chair of the SVP Education and Outreach Committee and Assistant Professor
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
4170 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA, 19131, USA
(215) 871-6100
kerincl@pcom.edu

Larisa R.G. DeSantis, co-Chair of the SVP Education and Outreach Committee and Assistant Professor Vanderbilt University
Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences
PMB 351805
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37235-1805, USA
(615) 343-7831
larisa.desantis@vanderbilt.edu

Christopher Strganac, Lead Educator, Paleontology and Earth Science
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
2201 N. Field Street
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 756-5829
christopher.strganac@perotmuseum.org

Diana Vineyard, Research Associate, ISEM and Huffington Department of Earth Science
Southern Methodist University
PO Box 750235
Dallas, TX 75275
(214)768-2770
vineyard@mail.smu.edu
The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology is a non-profit organization dedicated to professional vertebrate paleontology. Please view our policy page here.
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