ENV BIOL 3122 - Evolution and Palaeobiology of Animals III
North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2014
General Course Information
Course Code ENV BIOL 3122 Course Evolution and Palaeobiology of Animals III Coordinating Unit School of Earth and Environmental Sciences Term Semester 2 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 5 hours per week Prerequisites ENV BIOL 2501 Course Description This course aims to provide advanced understanding of fundamental principles and modern advances in techniques for systematics, evolution and the fossil record, and the application of these to the study of the evolution and conservation of biodiversity.
Topics include: evolutionary trees; morphological and molecular systematics, ancient DNA; molecular clocks, speciation, phylogeography, biogeography, phylogenetic approaches to biodiversity, conservation, epidemiology, extinction.
Course Coordinator: Dr Michael Lee
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning OutcomesA successful student in this course should be able to:
1 understand the important of evolutionary studies as a foundation of comparative biology; 2 examine and understand the methodologies for the reconstruction and interpretation of phylogenetic and biogeogrpahic patterns and processes; 3 understand the importance of the fossil record in evolutionary studies and the role of phylogenetic studies in wider ontext of biodiversity and conservation; 4 demonstrate knowledge of cutting-edge solutions to problems in evolutionary biology related to expertise of the lectures; 5 examine and interpret freshly collected and previously unexamined sediments; 6 demonstrate an understanding of the nature of paleontological data through laboratory work.
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s) Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1,3,4 The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1-4 An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 4 Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 2,3,5,6 A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1-6 A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-6 A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 4 An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 4,5,6
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesThis course will be delivered by the following means:
- 2 X 1-hour lectures per week
- 1 X 3-hour practicals/tutorials per week
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
Learning Activities Summary
Schedule Lectures Practicals Week 1 Introduction to course
Evolutionary (phylogenetic) trees & Inferring trees part 1 & 2
Morphological characters: hand-analysis of Caminalcules. Demonstration of parsimony analysis, homology, homoplasy, reading trees. Week 2 Inferring trees part 3
Evolution of the NZ biota
Morphological characters: Parsimony analysis and character mapping using Mesquite (Essay topics announced) Week 3 Evolution of the NZ biota
St Bathans and the origin of the modern NZ fauna
The St Bathans fauna – introductory practical with talk about the locality, history, fauna, and current work. Microscope stations set up with common taxa; students to learn how to identify and recognise common taxa. Week 4 Ancient DNA and NZ fauna
Ancient DNA and palaeoecology
Sorting fossils from sediment, identification, analysis and discussion group Week 5 Ancient DNA and palaeoecology
Ancient DNA and palaeoecology
Sorting fossils from sediment, identification, analysis and discussion group Week 6 Biogeography and molecular dating – case studies
Speciation and species concepts
Sorting fossils from sediment, identification, analysis and discussion group Week 7 Diversification rates and patterns
Forensics and wildlife crime – molecular techniques
Collation of results from all groups, and discussion of overall assemblage obtained over pracs 4-6 Week 8 Monitoring exploited wildlife – molecular techniques V
Venom and snake evolution
Discussion and advice with lab leaders for group prac project report, to be written and marked individually. Week 9 Bioprospecting and antivenoms
Understanding diseases using evolutionary trees
Discussion group (individual lecturers to introduce background to their essay topic, and lead group discussion). (time and date can be varied to suit students/lecturers). Week 10 DNA barcoding – problems and prospects
Tutorial sessions with lecturers for essay topics (time and date can be varied to suit students/lecturers). Week 11 Extinction in geological past
Current anthropogenic extinctions - phylogenetic insights
Tutorial sessions with lecturers for essay topics (time and date can be varied to suit students/lecturers). Week 12 Course wind up, overview Tutorial sessions with lecturers for essay topics (time and date can be varied to suit students/lecturers).
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment Task Type of Assessment Percentage of total assessment for grading purposes Hurdle
Outcomes being assessed/achieved Due date Essay Formative and Summative
1-5 Week after mid-semester break Practical reports
Formative and Summative 15% No 1,2,4,5 Week 1 & 7 Group Laboratory/Practical assigment Formative and Summative 10% No 2,4,6 Due end of Swot Vac Exam Summative 50% Yes
Assessment Related RequirementsTo pass this course, students must achieve at least 45% in the essay and 45% in the final exam.
The essay is redeemable by way of replacement essay.
Assessment DetailEssay (25% of total course grade)
To Integrate and evaluate critically the scientific evidence for the particular question in evolution that the essay topic addresses.
Practical Reports: (15% of total course grade).
Practical Reports are project based and are handed in weeks 1 and 7 and assessed promptly to provide continual feedback to students and a sense of progressive accomplishment in the course. Students will receive written feedback on each of the practical reports submitted for assessment.
Group Practical Assignment (10% of total course grades)
To learn practical techniques (e.g. sorting and identifying microfossils) and interpret and discuss raw data in a coherent written report. Students work in groups and the laboratory project but the students submit their individual work and it is marked invidually.
Exam (50% of total course grades)
The final exam is based on content from lectures and practicals.
If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.
SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.
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