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Undergraduate course

Evolutionary Biology

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeBIO210
  • Number of semesters1
  • Language

    English

  • Resources

Objectives and Content

The goal of this course is create a deep understanding of how evolution works, and general knowledge about the most important research questions in evolutionary biology. The subject introduces students to all aspects of evolutionary biology.

Learning Outcomes

The aim of the course is to provide students with a deeper insight into the evolutionary processes - both selective and random - which can explain the genetic composition of populations, form, behaviour and distribution of organisms, and to teach students the basic methods of analysing the evolutionary relationships between species.

Knowledge

A student who has completed the course should have solid knowledge of:

  • natural selection as key to understanding the natural world; how natural selection produces adaptation; the origins of genetic variation; fitness, the common currency for studying adaptive genetic change
  • population genetic consequences of selection, mutation, migration (gene flow), inbreeding; genetic drift, an important evolutionary force
  • multilocus selection; costs and benefits of sex
  • results of natural or artificial selection on quantitative characters: the interplay between heritability and the environment
  • evolution of social behavior and kin selection; sexual selection; evolution of life history characters
  • how evolutionary thinking gives us insights into human health issues
  • phylogenetic thinking: why we need phylogenies for a deeper understanding of all aspects of evolution
  • how new species arise; the major species concepts (what is a species?)
  • the history of life; the evolution of humans
  • evolution and development (EvoDevo)

Skills

Upon completion of the course, a student should be able to:

  • understand and explain the main forces of evolution (natural selection, sexual selection, genetic drift) and the interplay among them, both over ecological and evotionary time
  • counter arguments against evolution; critically evaluate popularized writings which take up evolutionary topics or use evolutionary argumentation
  • generate evolutionary hypotheses for a wide variety of biological phenomena
  • read and understand much of the secondary and primary research literature dealing with topics in evolutionary biology
  • apply evolutionary principles in her or his own research

General competance

A student who has completed the course will:

  • have a better understanding of how science generates knowledge by way of hypothesis testing, systematic observations, and the comparative method
  • be able to better distinguish scientific from unscientific arguments
  • have gained experience with how to integrate/apply diverse learning methods (reading, discussions, lectures, videos, computer simulations) in biology teaching

Recommended Previous Knowledge

Compulsory parts of Bachelor in Biology.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

  • Compulsory oral exam, accounts for 40% of total grade.
  • Compulsory midterm exam, accounts for 40% of total grade.
  • Compulsory assignments, accounts for 20% of total grade.

Approved compulsory activities are valid for 6 semesters, including the semester of completion. Compulsory activities have to be passed in order to pass the course.

Forms of Assessment

  • Compulsory oral exam, accounts for 40% of total grade.
  • Compulsory midterm exam, accounts for 40% of total grade.
  • Compulsory assignments, accounts for 20% of total grade.

Grading Scale

A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade, grade F is a fail.

Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Midterm exam, final oral exam and student tasks

    Withdrawal deadline
    01.11.2017
    • Exam part: Oral exam