Space, time, form: viewing the Tree of Life

Trends Ecol Evol. 2012 Feb;27(2):113-20. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2011.12.002. Epub 2011 Dec 29.


There are numerous ways to display a phylogenetic tree, which is reflected in the diversity of software tools available to phylogenetists. Displaying very large trees continues to be a challenge, made ever harder as increasing computing power enables researchers to construct ever-larger trees. At the same time, computing technology is enabling novel visualisations, ranging from geophylogenies embedded on digital globes to touch-screen interfaces that enable greater interaction with evolutionary trees. In this review, I survey recent developments in phylogenetic visualisation, highlighting successful (and less successful) approaches and sketching some future directions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Classification / methods
  • Ecology / trends
  • Phylogeny*
  • Phylogeography / methods
  • Phylogeography / trends
  • Software