BI2EE4-Evolutionary Biology

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2015/6

Module Convenor: Dr Richard Walters


Summary module description:

•To provide an overview of evolution that is accessible to students from diverse backgrounds.
•To describe evolutionary processes, emphasising the forces that cause and hinder change, and some of the major patterns that result.
•To introduce diverse approaches for the study of genetic and phenotypic evolution.
•To demonstrate how evolutionary perspective is fundamental and improves understanding of diverse areas of modern biology.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Knowledge of the following topics:

•How natural selection drives biological evolution
•How adaptations arise and what limits their perfection
•Species concepts; how new species arise; patterns of extinction
•How to make and use phylogenies
•Selected aspects of the evolutionary history of life on earth
•Different methods used to study evolution.

Additional outcomes:
•Quantitative skills – basic evolutionary genetics calculations
•Data analysis skills – turning data into a phylogeny

Outline content:
1Explaining Biological Diversity (LJ)
2Evolutionary genetics (LJ)
3Adaptation and constraints (LJ)
4Levels of selection and conflicts among them (LJ)
5 Symbiosis and coevolution (RW)
6 Sexual selection and sexual conflict (RW)
7 Species concepts and speciation (RW)
8 Phylogenies (JAH)
9 Angiosperm Phylogeny and Macroevolution (JAH)
10 Human evolution (JAH)

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
There will be two 50 minute lectures each week, plus three workshop / practicals on problem-solving and data analysis. The BlackBoard site will provide further reading and handouts for lectures.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 19
Practicals classes and workshops 6
Guided independent study 75
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Report 15
Class test administered by School 15

Other information on summative assessment:
1) Report: A short write up based upon the problem solving exercises attempted in the population genetics practical (15%)
2) Three online tests, each consisting of ten multiple choice questions (total of 15%). Each test is based upon the further reading of a specified journal article or book chapter.

Formative assessment methods:
Tutored evolutionary problem-solving session

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    An MCQ exam, one-and-a-half hours, consisting of 50 questions.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August/September only

    Last updated: 24 March 2015

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