Biology Online Module Handbook

BL2303 Evolutionary Biology

(BL2303 online module handbook version 24)

cover image

image: Nuptial feeding in the dance fly Rhamphomyia. Mating takes place while the female is feeding on a prey item provided by the male, but some males cheat by re-using worthless or fake prey.

Evolution is a fundamentally important component of our understanding of all biological phenomena, from molecular to ecosystem scales. This module will give an overview of the history and major principles of modern evolutionary biology, aimed at contemporary biologists of all backgrounds.*

Credits: 15*

Semester: 1

Module Organiser
Prof Mike Ritchie
mgr@st-andrews.ac.uk
01334 463495
Pre-requisite Modules:
BEFORE TAKING THIS MODULE YOU SHOULD PASS BL1101 AND PASS BL1102. BEFORE TAKING THIS MODULE YOU MUST PASS BL1101 AND PASS BL1102*
Anti-requisite Modules:
IN TAKING THIS MODULE YOU CANNOT TAKE BL2105. IN TAKING THIS MODULE YOU CANNOT TAKE BL2105*
Post-requisite Modules:
BL3307, BL3309, BL3319*
Additional Module Information:
Please check MMS regularly for additional module information


Biology Teaching Office:
Room 1.17, Biomolecular Sciences Building, University of St Andrews, North Haugh, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9ST

Email: bioteach@st-andrews.ac.uk      Tel: 01334  463602

BL2303: Timetable

Legend (not all modules have every event type):
lecture
tutorial
workshop
practical
other

Semester 1: Week 1

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Thursday
21-09-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Physics Building
LTB
Prof Mike Ritchie

Lecture L1: Course Intro
2017-8_BL2303_L1
Introduction to the course and a reminder of what Evolution is.
Thursday
21-09-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Biomedical Sciences Building
Teaching lab
Prof Mike Ritchie

Practical P1: Mimicry
2017-8_BL2303_P1
Attend on your scheduled day
Friday
22-09-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Mathematical Institute
LTB
Prof Mike Ritchie

Lecture L2: Evolution is a fact
2017-8_BL2303_L2
We will review the evidence that compels scientists to conclude that the diversity of life on Earth has arisen due to evolutionary change is more than only a theory.
Friday
22-09-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Biomedical Sciences Building
Teaching lab
Prof Mike Ritchie

Practical P2: Mimicry
2017-8_BL2303_P2
Attend on your scheduled day

Semester 1: Week 2

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Wednesday
27-09-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Mathematical Institute
LTB
Dr Nathan Bailey

Lecture L3: Mutation
2017-8_BL2303_L3
Mutants in hyperspace! Genetic mutations are the raw ingredients of evolution, but how big can the effects of a mutation possibly be?
Thursday
28-09-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Physics Building
LTB
Dr Nathan Bailey

Lecture L4: Rates of Evolution
2017-8_BL2303_L4
How fast does evolution occur, and does the rate vary?
Friday
29-09-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Mathematical Institute
LTB
Dr Nathan Bailey

Lecture L5: Genomics
2017-8_BL2303_L5
What is a genome, and how do they evolve? This lecture will highlight some fundamentals of molecular evolution, then introduce problems in evolutionary genomics that revolutions in DNA sequencing technology have enabled us to study.

Semester 1: Week 3

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Thursday
05-10-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Physics Building
LTB
Dr Carolin Kosiol

Lecture L6: Phylogenetics1
2017-8_BL2303_L6
An introduction to phylogenetics
Thursday
05-10-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Bute Building
Bute PC suite
Dr Carolin Kosiol

Practical P3: Phylogenetics
2017-8_BL2303_P3
Attend on your scheduled day
Friday
06-10-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Mathematical Institute
LTB
Dr Carolin Kosiol

Lecture L7: Phylogenetics2
2017-8_BL2303_L7
More on phylogenetics
Friday
06-10-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Bute Building
Bute PC suite
Dr Carolin Kosiol

Practical P4: Phylogenetics
2017-8_BL2303_P4
Attend on your scheduled day

Semester 1: Week 4

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Wednesday
11-10-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Mathematical Institute
LTB
Prof Mike Ritchie

Lecture L8: Levels of selection
2017-8_BL2303_L8
At what level does Evolution act - is it all about selfish genes?
Thursday
12-10-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Physics Building
LTB
Prof Mike Ritchie

Lecture L9: Predicting Evolution
2017-8_BL2303_L9
In this key lecture we introduce the concept of the Hardy Weinberg equilibrium
Friday
13-10-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Mathematical Institute
LTB
Prof Mike Ritchie

Lecture L10: Genetic Drift
2017-8_BL2303_L10
Evolution does not equal natural selection. Non-adaptive change can also be very important to the evolutionary process, and this lecture introduces the key concept of genetic drift, random changes in gene frequencies.

Semester 1: Week 5

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Thursday
19-10-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Physics Building
LTB
Dr Andy Gardner

Lecture L11: Another look at Adaptation
2017-8_BL2303_L11
We will explore the logic of adaptation by natural selection, and its application as a predictive, scientific tool.
Thursday
19-10-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Biomedical Sciences Building
Teaching lab
Prof Mike Ritchie

Practical P5: Bene bags
2017-8_BL2303_P5
Attend on your scheduled day
Friday
20-10-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Mathematical Institute
LTB
Dr Andy Gardner

Lecture L12: Social Adaptation
2017-8_BL2303_L12
Social adaptations appear to challenge the notion of the survival of the fittest. We will explore Darwins musings on kin selection and Hamiltons theory of inclusive fitness.
Friday
20-10-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Biomedical Sciences Building
Teaching lab
Prof Mike Ritchie

Practical P6: Bene bags
2017-8_BL2303_P6
Attend on your scheduled day

Semester 1: Week 7

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Thursday
02-11-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Physics Building
LTB
Prof Thomas Meagher

Lecture L13: Plant Breeding 1
2017-8_BL2303_L13
Plants show a wide array of breeding systems, and specialisation to either avoid or promote inbreeding are a major driver of breeding system evolution. We will explore this dichotomy leading up to asking whether inbreeding is bad for plants.
Friday
03-11-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Mathematical Institute
LTB
Prof Thomas Meagher

Lecture L14: Plant Breeding 2
2017-8_BL2303_L14
Plants exhibit a wide array of gender variation. We will explore evolutionary drivers of gender variation leading up to gender specialisation and separation of male and female function.

Semester 1: Week 8

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Wednesday
08-11-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Mathematical Institute
LTB
Prof Mike Ritchie

Lecture L15: Why have sex?
2017-8_BL2303_L15
Sexual reproduction has been described as an Evolutionary Scandal. Why?
Thursday
09-11-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Physics Building
LTB
Prof Mike Ritchie

Lecture L16: Sexual reproduction in animals 1
2017-8_BL2303_L16
Darwins second major theory was that sexual selection caused the evolution of elaborate traits that were hard to explain by Natural Selection.
Thursday
09-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Biomedical Sciences Building
Teaching lab
Prof Mike Ritchie

Tutorial T1: Problems in Evolution debriefing
2017-8_BL2303_T1
Attend on your scheduled day
Friday
10-11-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Mathematical Institute
LTB
Prof Mike Ritchie

Lecture L17: Sexual reproduction in animals 2
2017-8_BL2303_L17
How has sexual selection influenced animal evolution?
Friday
10-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Biomedical Sciences Building
Teaching lab
Prof Mike Ritchie

Tutorial T2: Problems in Evolution debriefing
2017-8_BL2303_T2
Attend on your scheduled day

Semester 1: Week 9

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Thursday
16-11-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Physics Building
LTB
Prof Mike Ritchie

Lecture L18: Species & speciation
2017-8_BL2303_L18
What is a species? Is speciation anything more than an accumulation of differences between organisms due to natural selection and genetic drift?
Friday
17-11-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Mathematical Institute
LTB
Prof Mike Ritchie

Lecture L19: Speciation: Reproductive isolation
2017-8_BL2303_L19
What are the causes of reproductive isolation?

Semester 1: Week 10

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Wednesday
22-11-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Mathematical Institute
LTB
Prof Mike Ritchie

Lecture L20: Speciation in plants & animals compared
2017-8_BL2303_L20
This lecture introduces the modes of speciation (allopatric & sympatric) and compares speciation in animals and plants.
Thursday
23-11-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Physics Building
LTB
Prof Thomas Meagher

Lecture L21: Biodiversity: Genetics and conservation
2017-8_BL2303_L21
Biodiversity occurs across multiple scales, from within species genetic diversity to species diversity within ecosystems to global species diversity. In this first lecture we will explore genetic diversity within species
Thursday
23-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Offsite
Botanics
Prof Thomas Meagher

Practical P7: Biodiversity
2017-8_BL2303_P7
Attend on your scheduled day
Friday
24-11-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Mathematical Institute
LTB
Prof Thomas Meagher

Lecture L22: Biodiversity: species diversity and evolutionary potential
2017-8_BL2303_L22
There is growing interest in how phylogenetic diversification contributes to biodiversity within ecosystems and how this relates to long-term sustainability.
Friday
24-11-2017
14:00 to 17:00
Offsite
Botanics
Prof Thomas Meagher

Practical P8: Biodiversity
2017-8_BL2303_P8
Attend on your scheduled day

Semester 1: Week 11

DATE & TIMEVENUESTAFFEVENT
Thursday
30-11-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Physics Building
LTB
Prof Thomas Meagher

Lecture L23: Evolution and society
2017-8_BL2303_L23
Evolutionary biology has, since its formalisation as a discipline in the 19th century, generated extraordinary public controversy. As a result, the teaching of evolution has at times been subject to legal challenge.
Friday
01-12-2017
11:00 to 12:00
Mathematical Institute
LTB
Prof Mike Ritchie

Lecture L24: Course conclusions
2017-8_BL2303_L24
We will review what you have learned over the course of the module, and perhaps discuss what might come up in the exam.
Data Sources: information in this online module handbook is gathered from several sources.
Small footnote marks beside content, or by section titles indicate the source.
* University of St Andrews Module Catalogue
School of Biology Symbiosis Database (module organisers only)
University of St Andrews MMS (St Andrews users only)

BL2303: Reading List

Click for BL2303 reading list

BL2303: Assessment

2-hour Written Examination = 50%, Coursework = 50%*

Assessment:
Essay
Due by:
20/10/2017 18:00
Feedback due by:
10/11/2017 18:00
Type:
Single Upload
Weight:
1%
Assessment:
Practical report
Due by:
06/11/2017 18:00
Feedback due by:
27/11/2017 18:00
Type:
Single Upload
Weight:
1%

(MMS assessment data cached: 17 November 2017 23:20:14.)


The following related information applies to all Biology modules:

School of Biology Marking Criteria: See School of Biology Undergraduate Handbook
Late submission of continuous assessment work:

All late submissions of coursework that do not require electronic submission should be made via the late submissions box in the Biomolecular Science Building (beside the Teaching Office)
Exam details: See School of Biology Undergraduate Handbook
Exam timetable: see http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/students/academic/examinations/examtimetablescurrent/
Expected attendance: See School of Biology Undergraduate Handbook for detailed attendance requirements.
Good Academic Practice & Avoiding Academic Misconduct: See School of Biology Undergraduate Handbook
University Student Handbook: University Student Handbook
School and University regulations in the School and University Undergraduate Handbook relating to absence reporting, penalties and rules for late submission of work, extensions for coursework, return of coursework, S-coding, good academic practice and Academic Alerts.: School of Biology Undergraduate Handbook University Student Handbook
Data Sources: information in this online module handbook is gathered from several sources.
Small footnote marks beside content, or by section titles indicate the source.
* University of St Andrews Module Catalogue
School of Biology Symbiosis Database (module organisers only)
University of St Andrews MMS (St Andrews users only)

Who to ask

(Information in this section applies to all Biology Modules)

Questions about different aspects of the module should be directed to different people:

Questions about Contact
General teaching matters Biology Teaching Office ( bioteach@st-andrews.ac.uk )
Rescheduled or cancelled events Check your University email
Lecture or practical content The lecturer who presented the material
Completing assessed practical assignments The lecturer who set the assignment
Completing assessments Module Organiser (Prof Mike Ritchie mgr@st-andrews.ac.uk)
Marking on continuous assessment The Demonstrator or Module Organiser (Prof Mike Ritchie mgr@st-andrews.ac.uk)
Marking on exams Module Organiser (Prof Mike Ritchie mgr@st-andrews.ac.uk)
Rearranging practical days Grant Brown
Absence and/or extensions Module Organiser (Prof Mike Ritchie mgr@st-andrews.ac.uk) and the Biology Teaching Office ( bioteach@st-andrews.ac.uk )

Difficulties with academic progress which impact more than one module:

Year Coordinator

See School of Biology Undergraduate student handbook for list: http://biology.st-andrews.ac.uk/documents/UndergraduateHandbook.pdf

Overall performance, progress or future directions:

Advisor of Studies

Disability:

Disability Coordinator (Dr Jacqueline Nairn jn37@st-andrews.ac.uk)

Biology Teaching Office:

Room 1.17, Biomolecular Sciences Building, University of St Andrews, North Haugh, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9ST

Email: bioteach@st-andrews.ac.uk

Tel: 01334 463602

BL2303: Contributing Staff

Prof Mike Ritchie

Prof Mike Ritchie
(Module Organiser)

Professormgr@st-andrews.ac.uk
Dr Nathan BaileyDr Nathan BaileyReadernwb3@st-andrews.ac.uk
Dr Andy GardnerDr Andy GardnerReaderag243@st-andrews.ac.uk
Dr Carolin KosiolDr Carolin KosiolLecturerck202@st-andrews.ac.uk
Prof Thomas MeagherProf Thomas MeagherProfessortrm3@st-andrews.ac.uk
Prof Mike RitchieProf Mike Ritchie
(Module Organiser)
Professormgr@st-andrews.ac.uk
Data Sources: information in this online module handbook is gathered from several sources.
Small footnote marks beside content, or by section titles indicate the source.
* University of St Andrews Module Catalogue
School of Biology Symbiosis Database (module organisers only)
University of St Andrews MMS (St Andrews users only)

BL2303: Learning Outcomes

Students completing module BL2303 successfully should be able to:

  • Develop an understanding of Evolution and its history
  • Understand Natural Selection and Genetic Drift
  • Develop knowledge of Molecular Evolution and mutation
  • Understand the evolution and consequences of sexual reproduction
  • Know the relationship between speciation and Biodiversity
  • Understand the basic principles of Phylogenetics
  • Appreciate the role of the study of evolution to contemporary society
Data Sources: information in this online module handbook is gathered from several sources.
Small footnote marks beside content, or by section titles indicate the source.
* University of St Andrews Module Catalogue
School of Biology Symbiosis Database (module organisers only)
University of St Andrews MMS (St Andrews users only)

BL2303: Acquired Skills

Practical Skills

  • Field sampling methods (Botanics)
  • Mendelian genetics

Transferable Skills

  • "Full" practical write-up (Intro, Methods, Results, Discussion)
  • Short essay (1000-2000 words)
  • Critically evaluating sources/information
  • Finding information on the web
  • Finding literature
  • Referencing
  • Searching databases
  • Lab safety awareness
  • Problem-solving questions
  • Biodiversity analysis
  • Calculations/equations
  • Chi-square test
  • Data analysis
  • Data presentation
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Genetic Drift
  • Phylogenetic analysis
  • Produce graphs/figures
  • Produce tables
  • Use other data analysis software
  • Lab or field notebook
  • Critiquing experimental design
  • Generate class dataset
  • Working in pairs/small groups
Data Sources: information in this online module handbook is gathered from several sources.
Small footnote marks beside content, or by section titles indicate the source.
* University of St Andrews Module Catalogue
School of Biology Symbiosis Database (module organisers only)
University of St Andrews MMS (St Andrews users only)

Policies

(Information in this section applies to all Biology Modules)