Evolutionary Biology

Theodosius Dobzansky, a prominent biologist, says nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”. Here, we explore why.

We can only appreciate the diversity of life on earth if we understand evolution. To understand tiny microbes to redwood trees, or even the rapid spread of diseases in the world, we need to examine patterns of evolution and how evolutionary change occurs. This course helps you understand the biological meaning of evolution, the centrality of evolution in the natural world, and offers you a conceptual understanding that is essential for molecular and organismic biology. 

We begin by taking a look at Darwin and the rise of Darwinism, exploring patterns from the beak of the finch to understand natural selection. We will look at the evolution of sex with a lab activity on sexual selection, discuss genomes and social behaviour, conflict and cooperation. You will work with lizards to understand the diversification and rates of speciation. Finally, you will read texts on interactions between species: predator-prey and plant herbivore systems. This course includes laboratory and literature review and assignments.