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I review phylogenetic approaches to problems in coevolution and biogeography, illustrating with case studies. In coevolution, genealogical trees are essential in differentiating between ancient and recent associations, in identifying cospeciation events, and in studying host-switching patterns. Cospeciating associations are of particular interest because they allow powerful tests of molecular clocks and accurate comparison of evolutionary rates across groups of organisms. In biogeography, phylogenies can help reconstruct the distribution history of individual groups and identify past geological events that have affected the evolution of entire communities. Parsimony analysis in coevolution and biogeography should be based on identification of different types of events, each of which is associated with a specific cost. Similar event-based methods are applicable to coevolutionary and biogeographic inference, as well as in the mapping of gene trees onto organism trees. The discussed examples span a variety of organisms and spatiotemporal scales: primate pin worms, HIV, pocket gophers and their lice, aphids and their bacterial symbionts, gall wasps and their host plants, the root of the tree of life, the historical biogeography of the Holarctic, and the geographical origin of our own species.