Reconstructing phylogenetic trees and networks
Reconstructing evolutionary relationships between species is one of the main challenges in evolutionary biology and has important applications in e.g. epidemiology. The standard, well-studied model for describing evolutionary relationships is the phylogenetic tree, which has leaves representing species and internal vertices representing divergence events.
However, there is growing awareness that actual evolutionary histories are often complex webs of diverging and combining lineages. Since these complex evolutionary histories cannot be described by trees, leaf-labelled directed acyclic graphs, called phylogenetic networks, were introduced to model such scenarios.
In this talk, I will discuss several graph-theoretical challenges related to reconstructing phylogenetic trees and networks from (for example) biological data.