How did the diversity of life arise? Why are there so many species? Why do animals and plants seem so well designed for their environments? How do we explain patterns of distribution across continents? These are some of the key questions that we will examine in this Unit. The Unit begins with a survey of the history of evolutionary thought, and the so-called 'new synthesis'; the melding of Darwinian evolution, systematics and genetics. The Unit will provide training in the principles, methods, and applications of evolutionary biology including systems of classification, the genetics of speciation and hybrid zones, molecular evolution, reconstruction of phylogenies, population genetics, historical interpretation of geographic distributions, evolution of sex, adaptation, human evolution, and selfish gene theory. Examples from a broad range of organisms and data sources will be used throughout the Unit. This Unit is valuable for students who intend to seek employment in areas such as biodiversity research, bioinformatics, ecology, taxonomy, biological conservation and teaching.
Two lectures and one 3-hour practical per week.
Practical reports and/or presentations (60%), one 2-hour exam (40%).
Freeman and Herron (2011) Evolutionary Analysis, Pearson/Prentice Hall
[12cp of BIOL2XXX] OR [6cp of BIOL2XXX and (MBLG2X72 or GEGE2X01 or GENE2002)]Prohibitions
BIOL3944 or BIOL3025 or BIOL3925 or PLNT3003 or PLNT3903