Tree of Life Relationships Forums
Phylogenetic biology is currently an exceptionally active field of research, and this activity has led to the emergence of numerous controversies. Whenever the relationships within a group of organisms are hotly debated, it may not be possible for Tree of Life authors to provide a Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships that is comprehensive and treats alternative hypotheses in a way that satisfies all other researchers on that group. In order to provide a mechanism for presentation of alternative views, we have instituted a moderated Relationships Forums for select groups that are subject to ongoing debates among systematists.
These are moderated forums, in the sense that only contributions deemed fit for publication will be included. The ultimate decision about inclusion rests with the editor. In general, participation in a Relationships Forum is by invitation from a Tree of Life editor, coordinator, or author. Biologists who would like to participate in a forum should send a brief description of their anticipated contribution along with a list of their relevant publications or a description of their current research program to Our choice of contributors for these discussions is based on scholarly expertise as demonstrated by a person's ongoing research program or publication record.
Forum contributions should be short essays, focusing on a discussion of the evidence available to support or reject alternative hypotheses about the phylogenetic relationships within a given group. In general, each essay should be a stand-alone account of the current status of the field. However, we will consider publishing responses and counter-responses, if the nature of the discussion make this format more appropriate.
Forum contributions should be as factual as possible. Each essay should have a comprehensive list of the relevant literature, and authors must refrain from personal attacks against other researchers. The use of illustrations (e.g., tree diagrams) is encouraged, and upon request, Tree of Life staff will help authors with image creation and with translating manuscripts into HTML. For advice or technical assistance, forum participants should contact Katja Schulz ( ).