Collaborative Research: Arbor: Comparative Analysis Workflows for the Tree of Life
Our understanding of the tree of life, a tree that summarizes the evolutionary relationships of living organisms, has grown rapidly in recent years. However, interpreting and analyzing large evolutionary trees has proven difficult. This project will create visual workflow software, "Arbor", to help scientists and the general public understand the tree of life. Arbor will be easy to use: anyone will be able to carry out analyses by creating a specific workflow of their methods. Users will be able to easily obtain data over the internet and share their Arbor workflows with others, promoting collaborative efforts. Finally, Arbor will be easily expandable and able to grow as new methods are invented.
Arbor will enable "tree-thinking" to permeate scientific research, while also providing extensive educational outreach to classrooms and museums. Students and the general public benefit tremendously from a better understanding of the relationships among all species. Likewise, the visual workflows and user interfaces developed by this project will be freely available to the programming community, stimulating additional software development. Finally, enabling the scientific community to analyze the dynamic tree of life will enable new research across a tremendous range of fields, including medicine, public health, agriculture, ecology, and genetics.