UCLA/La Kretz Workshop in Conservation Genomics

This weeklong workshop explores the relationship between conservation problems and their solutions using genomic-level data. Hands-on training, a high faculty-student ratio, and discussions with agency biologists are some of the course highlights. The application period for the third annual workshop opens in January 2015.

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

UCLA La Kretz Field Station

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

About the Workshop

Conservation biology and genetics have had a long and intimate relationship, and constitute one of the key applications of evolutionary analysis to real-world biological problems. The impacts of population genetics, phylogenetics and phylogeography have been particularly striking for conservation biology, and have helped solve some of the most pressing problems in biological conservation.

As the field of landscape-based genetics continues to grow and mature, the increasing availability of genomic-level data, analytical models and methods stand to make profound new contributions to our ability to identify and protect at-risk populations and recover those that are most endangered. However, genomic level analyses also carry a heavy burden—data sets are enormous and often require diverse computational approaches for assembly, quality control and analysis.

This annual workshop provides a comfortable, informal training environment for a small group of motivated graduate students to explore how conservation problems can best be addressed with genomic-level data. Our goal is to provide hands-on experience on the efficient collection, troubleshooting, and analysis of large, genome-level data sets for conservation-relevant problems. One of the highlights of our workshop is active participation from members of several US government agencies who are at the forefront of endangered species protection and management, providing a forum for exploring the most relevant aspects of conservation genomics to managers.

The UCLA/La Kretz workshop is held at the La Kretz Field Station and the Stunt Ranch Reserve, both located a few miles apart in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains. Only 30 miles from UCLA (and LAX airport), but nestled in the relatively undeveloped 160,000 acre Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, these two venues provide an ideal location to bring exciting new developments in genomic science and pressing needs in conservation and management together in a single workshop.

Our current instructor list, drawn from UCLA, UC Davis, and UC Berkeley includes:

  • Mike Alfaro

  • Gideon Bradburd

  • Brant Faircloth

  • Evan McCartney-Melstad

  • Kirk Lohmueller

  • Mark Phuong

  • Brad Shaffer

  • Victoria Sork

  • Phil Spinks

  • Ian Wang

  • Bob Wayne

Participants from USGS, USFWS, and the US National Park Service

Topics covered include:

  • Traditional conservation genetics

  • Next generation platforms: the best tool for the job

  • Data management pipelines:

  • Quality Control

  • Data storage

  • Data organization

  • Data analysis:

  • SNPs

  • Sequences

  • Exploring very large data sets

  • Functional genomic data

  • Genomic data and GIS

  • Conservation phylogenomics


Available housing limits course enrollment to ~15 students. Preference is given to doctoral candidates who are in the early to middle stages of their thesis research, and who have completed sufficient prerequisites (through previous coursework or research experience) to have some familiarity with using a command line interface or programming languages (i.e. Perl, python etc.). Postdocs and faculty are welcome to apply, but our first priority is to graduate student applicants.

Admission and Fees

Students will be admitted based on academic qualifications and appropriateness of research interests. The course fee is $400. This includes food and lodging at the La Kretz Field Station, transportation to and from UCLA to the venue, and any incidental fees for the duration of the course (arriving March 22, departing March 27).

Application Info

The application period for the third annual workshop opens in January 2015.

For more information please contact

Phil Spinks