ConGen 2023 - Montana

Conservation Genetics, Population Genomics, and Molecular Ecology
August 27 - September 1, 2023

Location: Flathead Lake Biological Station, Polson, Montana, USA

Applications are now being accepted for ConGen 2023!!!

Goals of ConGen are to provide training in conceptual and practical aspects of population genomic data analysis to help participants address questions in conservation and eco-evolutionary biology. ConGen teaches theory and assumptions underlying computational approaches that help prepare students and professionals to use population genomics approaches in their work.

This course teaches the coalescent, Bayesian, and likelihood-based approaches. Special lectures and hands-on exercises are conducted to test for HW proportions, population structure, selection (GWAS, GEA), inbreeding (RoH), population assignment, and genetic monitoring (of NeFSTNm, etc.), whole-genome sequencing & assembly, and more. Hands-on data analysis includes filtering raw NGS reads, genotyping, and analyses of NGS datasets using different workflows (e.g., with vs without reference genomes).

Emphasis is on next-generation sequence (NGS) data analysis (RADs, DNA capture, genome sequencing/resequencing) and interpretation of output from fundamental and novel statistical approaches, software programs (e.g., Structure, NeEstimator, pcadapt, Bayesass, snpR), using R and the Linux command line scripting. A week before the course, we offer a virtual (Zoom) hands-on session and lecture introducing R, R studio, and Linux to help students prepare for the course.

ConGen has >10 expert instructors teaching a breadth of concepts and applications. The course promotes interactions among early-career researchers (grad students & postdocs), faculty, agency researchers, and leaders in population genomics to help develop our "next generation" of conservation and evolutionary geneticists. Students get help analyzing their own data. We discuss developments needed to improve data analysis to advance the field.

This course is often workshop-like because multiple instructors and participants ask questions and provide helpful comments during lectures and discussion sessions. ConGen includes discussion sessions, coffee breaks, and evening sessions that help students analyze their own data and facilitate networking and idea sharing.

ConGen is sponsored by the American Genetic Association, NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration), NSF (the Dimensions in Biodiversity program), and journals such as the Journal of Heredity, Environmental DNA, Evolutionary Applications, Molecular Ecology Resources, Conservation Genetics, and Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. Sponsoring companies (Dovetail Genomics, PacBio) often give talks on current and future technologies.

This course has led to publications reviewing the main topics, course outcomes, and recent advances in the field that facilitate the use of genetic/omic for biodiversity conservation worldwide.  For examples, see pubs and recommended reading list below:

Cost to Attend

The cost to participate in ConGen 2023 is $1900 US if you pay before June 1st or $2200 US if you pay after June 1st. Monthly payments are possible. Cost includes food, lodging, transportation to/from the airport, a short field or boat trip, lectures (video recorded) with PowerPoint slides from at least 10 expert instructors, recommended readings from each instructor (below), hands-on exercises with worksheets and practice datasets, along with ConGen-2023 Swag (T-shirt, mug). ConGen provides an online lecture session (via Zoom) covering basic R and Linux command line scripting a week before the course to ensure students know basic commands and R studio for the course. Course materials remain available >3 months after the end of the course in an online Box repository including all recorded lectures, worksheets, practice datasets, and slides. Video lectures from past ConGen courses are also available.

ConGen provides a (Cloud) server, available 24 hours-a-day during (and just before) the course, configured with the majority of the course software, allowing students to practice the instructors’ hands-on exercises at their convenience. We’ll ensure you can log on and use the server during the online (Zoom) lecture session the week before the course. Our server greatly reduces students’ time and trouble of installing software (on their own computers). Linux console commands and R will be taught and used for several analyses during the course.

The 2023 course will be live at the Flathead Lake Biological Station, near Polson Montana, USA. No online (Zoom) option is available in 2023. Because all lectures and Q & A sessions are recorded, participants can re-watch them >3 months after ConGen.


A recording of each lecture, and Q & A session (after each lecture) will be saved to a UM Box folder for you.