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Evolution: Making Sense Of Life (BIOL20001)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2018
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeBIOL20001
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

It is widely held that nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution. But evolutionary theory is crucial not only for making sense of organic diversity, but also for helping us understand and manage our interactions with other organisms: antibiotic and insecticide resistance, disease virulence, fisheries decline, spread of invasive species, human behaviour and life-histories are all informed by a knowledge of the processes of evolution. This subject will reveal the ubiquity of biological evolution in both natural and human modified environments. It will describe and explain the agents of change— drift, migration and selection, and show their effects on both single and multiple gene traits, and on the phylogenetic relationships of species. The subject will introduce co-evolutionary processes, which are critical for understanding traits that evolve through interactions between species, including humans. Particular topics will include (but not limited to): heritable variation; agents of evolution; artificial, natural and sexual selection; phenotypes and quantitative genetics; phylogeny, speciation and the tree of life; and antagonistic and mutualistic co-evolution. The subject will emphasise both the outcome and process of scientific research leading to our understanding of evolutionary processes, drawing on examples from across the diversity of life.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of this subject students should have an appreciation of phylogenies and the tree of life; genes, mutations and phenotypes; quantitative genetics; adaptation and natural selection; mutualistic and antagonistic co-evolution; applications of evolutionary ideas to human activities

Generic skills

The subject builds upon generic skills developed in first year level subjects, including the ability to critically assess and assimilate new knowledge. Students should learn how to use these skills to solve practical problems associated with the discipline. They should learn how to design experiments and critically evaluate experimental designs. This subject also enables students to gain experience in evaluating and interpreting data and writing scientific reports.

Last updated: 24 January 2018