ENV BIOL 2501 - Evolutionary Biology II

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2017

This course addresses key components of evolutionary biology from the perspective of molecular evolution, from the perspective of individual organisms evolving attributes to cope with and exploit spatially and/or temporally variable and different environments, and from a macro-evolutionary perspective. Natural selection, sexual selection, kin selection and inclusive fitness are used to develop an understanding of the behavioural, morphological and physiological adaptations of individual organisms to their environments, as well as an understanding of the interactions and co-evolutionary processes that occur between organisms both intra- and inter-specific (reproductive strategies, mating systems, competition, predator-prey, plant-herbivore, host-parasite, mutualisms, facilitation). Molecular evolution and population genetics provide the mechanics for evolution. Knowledge of these and biogeographic changes are used to develop the ideas of species and speciation, to construct phylogenies, and to interpret the fossil record and patterns of extinction

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ENV BIOL 2501
    Course Evolutionary Biology II
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 6 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge BIOLOGY 1101 & BIOLOGY 1201 or BIOLOGY 1202
    Course Description This course addresses key components of evolutionary biology from the perspective of molecular evolution, from the perspective of individual organisms evolving attributes to cope with and exploit spatially and/or temporally variable and different environments, and from a macro-evolutionary perspective. Natural selection, sexual selection, kin selection and inclusive fitness are used to develop an understanding of the behavioural, morphological and physiological adaptations of individual organisms to their environments, as well as an understanding of the interactions and co-evolutionary processes that occur between organisms both intra- and inter-specific (reproductive strategies, mating systems, competition, predator-prey, plant-herbivore, host-parasite, mutualisms, facilitation). Molecular evolution and population genetics provide the mechanics for evolution. Knowledge of these and biogeographic changes are used to develop the ideas of species and speciation, to construct phylogenies, and to interpret the fossil record and patterns of extinction
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Jack Da Silva

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Develop and explain the importance of evolutionary studies as a foundation of comparative biology.
    2 Examine and apply the major genetic and ecological processes underlying evolution and selection
    3 Recognise and explain the processes driving speciation and how these relate to classification techniques.
    4 Explain and interpret the methodologies for the reconstruction and interpretation of phylogenetic and biogeographic patterns and processes
    5 Recognise and explain the importance of the fossil record in evolutionary studies, and the role of phylogenetic studies in the wider context of biodiversity and conservation.
    6 Access and synthesise contemporary information in evolutionary biology in written and verbal form.
    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1, 2, 3, 4
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    4, 5, 6
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    4, 6
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    ,4, 6
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    4, 5, 6
  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources
    Some important and useful texts include:
    Alcock, J (1998) ‘Animal behavior: an evolutionary approach, 6th edition.’ (Sinauer: Sunderland, Mass.)
    Judd, WS, Campbell, CS, Kellogg, EA, Stevens, PF, Donoghue, MJ (2008) ‘Plant systematics: a phylogenetic approach, 3rd edition.’ (Sinauer: Sunderland Mass.)
    Krebs, JR, Davies, NB (1993) ‘An introduction to behavioural ecology.’ (Blackwell Science: Oxford)
    Maynard Smith, J (2002) ‘Evolutionary genetics, 2nd edition.’ (Oxford University Press: Oxford)
    Ridley, M (2004) ‘Evolution, 3rd edition.’ (Blackwell Scientific Publishing: Malden, MA)
    Rose, MR, Mueller, LD (2005) ‘Evolution and ecology of the organism.’ (Pearson Education: Upper Saddle River, NJ)
    Skelton, PW (Ed.) (1993) ‘Evolution: a biological and palaeontological approach.’ (Addison-Wesley: Workingham, UK)
    Toft, CA, Jaeger, RG (1998) Writing for scientific journals. I: the manuscript. Herpetologica 54 (Suppl.), S42–S54.
    Zimmer, C (2001) ‘Evolution: the triumph of an idea.’ (Harper Collins Publishers: New York)
    Online Learning
    It is important that all students maintain active communication channels throughout the semester. The primary communication channels to students in this course will be via email, MyUni and announcements made in lectures:
    MyUni: Students should regularly login to MyUni via the MyUni website (http://myuni.adelaide.edu.au/) for important course-related announcements. Teaching materials, past examination papers and course documentation will also be posted on this site.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be delivered in the following means:
    • Lectures:  3 X 1-hour lectures per week
    • Practicals/Tutorials: 1 X 3-hour practical/tutorial per week
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A students 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 for the course (lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (eg revision, reading)
    Learning Activities Summary
    Schedule
    Week 1 The nature of biological evolution; natural selection
    Gene frequencies and the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium; the concept of fitness
    Week 2 Key findings in evolutionary biology
    Current issues in evolutionary biology
    Week 3 The idea of a species; speciation; allopatry, sympatry, vicariance, selection, genetic isolation
    Hybridisation, polyploidy, apomixis and other alternative pathways to evolve; adaptive radiation
    Week 4 Introduction to systematics; classical taxonomy; classification systems and nomenclature
    Morphological data – characters, states, typology; behavioural and non-traditional characters; cladistics; homoplasy
    Week 5 Using molecular and allied data; proteins, immunological approaches, amino acids, DNA, RNA, sequence and banding approaches
    Week 6 Micro-evolution, direct and indirect measures of fitness, diversity of selective pressures (optimality theory, life-time reproductive success, inclusive fitness)
    Selecting a place to live and selective pressures acting on dispersal
    Avoiding predation: selective pressures exerted by predators
    Week 7 Evolution of anisogamy, sex ratios, mate selection and sexual selection
    Cooperation, kin selection and altruism
    Life history and reproductive strategies (r- and K-selection, etc)
    Week 8 Evolutionary outcomes of competitive interactions
    Predator-prey and plant-herbivore co-evolution
    Mutualisms, plant–pollinator co-evolution
    Week 9 Introduction to biogeography; how organisms get to be where they are found; adaptations for dispersal; dispersal versus vicariance; application of phylogenetics in biogeography - explaining distribution patterns; centres of origin
    Film: Evolution
    Week 10 Island biogeography: adaptations of plants and animals to living on islands; gigantism and dwarfism; island communities; niche convergence
    Film: Evolution
    Week 11 Origins and make-up of the Australian biota: examples from the flora and invertebrates
    Film: Evolution
    Week 12 Origins and make-up of the Australian biota: the vertebrate groups
    The Geological Time Scale; the importance of fossils and how they are formed; how evolution takes place – incremental changes in existing structures; environmental stresses caused by large extra-terrestrial impacts; climate change past, present and future
    Final comments; revision; exam information and preparation
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Students will have the opportunity to work together and interact in small groups during practical classes and tutorials.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Hurdle
    Yes or No
    Weighting Learning Outcome
    Online Quiz  Summative

    No

    10% 1,2
    Major essay Formative Summative No 25% 1-6
    Practical reports Formative
    Summative
    No 25% 2,4
    Final exam Summative No 40% 1-6
    Assessment Detail
    Online Quiz (10% of total course grades)
    This online quiz will assess content and concepts presented in the first four lectures. . It will comprise approximately 10 multiple-choice questions and is designed to reinforce the major points on natural selection and population genetics. 

    Major Essay (25% of total course grades)
    Note that detailed information on the essay will be handed out separately. The essay is 1500-2000 words in length and comprises a set topic. It is designed to help students synthesise material from across the course and from their reading to develop an overall understand of the nature and process of evolution as it is presently understood and as it applies to a major group of organisms. The essay is also designed to help them develop writing skills so that you can learn to present information in a coherent but concise manner.

    Practical Reports (25% of total course grades)
    You will be required to write-up and present some of the practical exercises that you conduct during the semester. These will be written up in a formal report with introduction, methods, results and discussion. Dr Conran practicals are worth 10% and Dr Paton’s practicals are worth a total of 15%. These weightings are indicative of the amount of time you should devote to the reports. These reports should also cover your responses to questions posed in the practical notes.

    Examination Paper (40% of total course grades)
    The exam will be a 2 hour paper and will cover material presented and discussed in Lectures and Tutorial Sessions.
    Submission
    The Essay must be submitted electronically using TurnItIn within MyUni (instructions will be provided in the Essay tutorial). Hard copies will not be accepted.

    Practical reports should be lodged in the drop box for the course in the Mawson Building foyer. Do not give your reports or essay to any of the lecturing staff or put them into internal mail. All Practical reports must be submitted with a signed cover sheet that can be down loaded from MyUni. NB. Essays without a cover sheet will not be marked.

    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.
    Course Grading

    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.

  • Student Feedback

    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.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.