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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Zoology

Undergraduate Course: Evolution and Ecology of Ageing (ZLGY10029)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryAgeing is one of the most complex and variable of biological processes. Understanding its causes and consequences is one of the central challenges currently facing by biologists and biomedics. Evolutionary theory provides a unifying framework with which to study and understand ageing. This course will offer students a brief overview of the challenge that ageing poses to modern human society, and recent developments in our understanding of the causes and consequences of ageing from mechanism-oriented laboratory studies and demography. We will then discuss in detail evolutionary theories of ageing, which can explain both near universality of the phenomenon of ageing and the great diversity of ageing rates across plant and animal species. From there we will move onto more specific lectures relating to important topics in the evolutionary study of ageing, including comparative studies of ageing, studies of ageing in wild animals, how and why the sexes differ in ageing rates, and the effects of social interactions on the ageing process. We aim to provide students with an up-to-date understanding of how evolutionary thinking is shaping our understanding of the ageing process.
Course description The course is based around 10-12 lectures, but will also involve group discussion sessions centred on salient topics covered in these lectures and in-course assessment based on critical reading of papers from the primary literature which each student will be assigned.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs No
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  26
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 16/09/2019
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 30, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 66 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 70 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 2hr exam written exam and coursework; weighting 70% exam, 30% In-course assessment.
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. An understanding of the main evolutionary theories of ageing.
  2. An understanding of how these theories help us explain variation in the ageing process observed in the natural world.
  3. An understanding of how an evolutionary approach might help researchers from more medical and molecular backgrounds understand the ageing process.
Reading List
Recommended Reading: Flatt, T. & Partridge, L. (2018) Horizons in the evolution of aging. BMC Biology, 16: 93.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Daniel Nussey
Tel: (0131 6)50 5494
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Law
Tel: (0131 6)51 3689
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