Undergraduate Course: Evolution in Action 2 (BILG08005)
|School||School of Biological Sciences
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||An introduction to modern evolutionary biology, covering the origin of hereditary variation, natural selection, the origin of species, methods of phylogeny construction, major evolutionary events and coevolution. Examples will be drawn from all major taxa; molecular, cellular, morphological and behavioural evolution will be considered.
Evolutionary biology is the subject of this course, and the aims are to outline the major processes giving rise to the diversity of extinct and extant organic life, to indicate the time frame over which these processes occur, and to introduce the methods used to study evolutionary processes. The examples used in the lectures and workshops are drawn from animals, plants and microorganisms, and the characters considered are behavioural, ecological, morphological, cellular and molecular.
After outlining the ecological context of evolution, the process of evolutionary change leading to speciation is discussed. The origin and pattern of genetic variation in natural populations is then described, followed by a detailed examination of the evolutionary forces - natural selection, genetic drift and gene flow - that determine the fate of inherited variation. The evolution of social behaviour, particularly altruism and competition for mates, is discussed. Finally, the special role played by change in developmental processes in evolution is described.
The workshops expand upon material described in the lectures and provide opportunity for discussion of the concepts and evidence involved. The workshops include demonstrations of the processes of evolution, genetic variation in natural populations and the methods by which it can be measured, and simple methods for interpreting such information and predicting the course of evolutionary change. Visits to Edinburgh Zoo and the National Museum of Scotland allow students to think about how the evolutionary concepts that they learn apply to real organisms. Facilitated discussions allow students to engage with their peers in examining some of the more complex or applied aspects of evolutionary biology.
The course should be of interest to every biology student, because evolution is fundamental to understanding the nature of living organisms at all levels from the ecological to the molecular.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
|| It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed
Origin and Diversity of Life 1 (BILG08001)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Equivalent of the courses listed above
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 29,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 4.5,
Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 15,
External Visit Hours 6,
Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1,
Summative Assessment Hours 2,
Revision Session Hours 1,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Gain a thorough understanding of the theory of evolution and its place in modern biology.
- Understand the processes underlying evolution at various levels, from variation within species to diversification of larger groups. Explore various ideas of how genetic diversity is maintained.
- Have knowledge of the broad range of methods used to study evolution. Learn how to measure the factors involved in natural selection and genetic drift.
- Be able to construct phylogenetic trees and appreciate how these are used by evolutionary biologists.
- Understand the process of development and the light this sheds on the evolutionary process.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||Workshops Tu 1400-1700 or F 1400-1700 (alternate weeks)
|Course organiser||Dr Patrick Walsh
Tel: (0131 6)50 5474
|Course secretary||Ms Karen Sutherland
Tel: (0131 6)51 3404