Welcome to WAMWiki

the wild animal models wiki

WAMwiki is an on-line resource containing information and resources for anyone interested in learning more about and applying quantitative genetic methods - but especially for those interested in using quantitative genetics in natural populations.

Recent discussions at the Wild Animal Model BienniAl Meeting (WAMBAM 3) and work on a guide to the animal model for ecologists encouraged us to set up this wiki to allow the community of researchers working on wild populations to share their experience and tips for data analysis. We chose to develop a wiki as we would like the site to act as an easy and flexible way to share knowledge.

What are animal models?

An animal model is a statistical model used to estimate genetic contributions to trait variation using population pedigrees. The animal model methodology finds its origin in animal and plant breeding, where it has been applied successfully for several decades. Since the late 1990s, an increasing number of studies have applied animal models to address evolutionary questions in wild populations.

An animal model uses the information on the resemblance among individuals of known relatedness to estimate how genes influence phenotypes. A major difference from other quantitative genetic methods - which are also based on this principle - is that an animal model is not restricted to one level of relatedness (e.g. parent-offspring). Instead, animal models simultaneously describe the resemblance among all individuals in a given data set, irrespective of their level of relatedness. One is thus able to make optimal use of the often complex and patchy pedigrees obtained from monitoring in wild populations.

The ecologists' guide to the animal model

By Alastair Wilson et al was published in the Journal of Animal Ecology in December 2009. We hope this paper and associated tutorials should provide a perfect 'way in' for anyone interested in applying animal model techniques in ecological settings. Read more and download the paper and tutorials here.

This site currently contains


Wild Animal Model BienniAl Meetings take place approximately every two years. Details of past and future meetings can be found here.


We hope the information here is useful. We are doing our best but certainly don't guarantee there are no errors at all. Code provided is intended to serve as a starting point for fitting animal models. It should not be seen as a one stop solution to cover all scenarios.


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