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Unit of study_

BIOL3944: Evolution and Biodiversity (Advanced)

2021 unit information

The content will be based on the standard unit BIOL3005 but qualified students will participate in alternative components at a more advanced level. Evolution is the biological process that has generated the biodiversity on this planet. It explains the common ancestry of all life on earth, why all organisms use the same genetic code, and why major life forms are constrained to a relatively small number of basic body plans such as four limbs in tetrapods. Thus, the principles of evolution and population genetics underpin all biology, including ecology, medicine, and agriculture. In this unit, you will explore the mechanisms that generate evolutionary change across geological and contemporary scales. You will learn how to use DNA sequences to reconstruct the relationships among organisms and to estimate evolutionary timescales. Evolution is an ongoing process, so you will use genetic techniques to discover whether populations are divided into subpopulations. This unit will examine a variety of organisms, including Australian invertebrates, vertebrates, and plants. By completing this unit, you will develop skills in evolutionary thinking, phylogenetic analysis, population genetics, and genomics. You will learn about fundamental aspects of evolution such as adaptation, sexual selection, symbiosis, and the origins of life. You will gain general skills in computer literacy, data management, and data analysis.

Unit details and rules

Managing faculty or University school:

Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations

Code BIOL3944
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
An average mark of 75 or above in [12cp of BIOL2XXX] OR [6cp of BIOL2XXX and (MBLG2X72 or GEGE2X01 or GENE2002)]
BIOL3044 or BIOL3025 or BIOL3925 or PLNT3003 or PLNT3903
Assumed knowledge:
Students should be familiar with DNA and the genetic code, understand the principles of biological evolution, and have basic laboratory skills like pipetting. A knowledge of elementary statistics and probability is assumed.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Use biological language to discuss and explain the major themes in evolutionary biology, including population genetics, multilevel selection, the evolution of sex, mechanisms of speciation, adaptive evolution, and molecular evolution.
  • LO2. Interpret the application of evolutionary principles to real-world problems.
  • LO3. Independently source and critically interpret relevant evolutionary literature.
  • LO4. Select and use appropriate tools and concepts to analyse and critically interpret evolutionary and genetic data collected and collated in the field.
  • LO5. Describe and explain the meaning of evolutionary experimental results within the context of the current literature.
  • LO6. Generate objectives and hypotheses in experimental investigations and communicate these coherently in the form of a written scientific report.
  • LO7. Compare and debate the strengths and weaknesses of research in evolutionary biology and communicate these verbally in the form of an oral presentation.
  • LO8. Apply appropriate computational and statistical tools to analyse genetic and genomic data in order to address authentic problems in evolutionary biology.

Unit availability

This section lists the session, attendance modes and locations the unit is available in. There is a unit outline for each of the unit availabilities, which gives you information about the unit including assessment details and a schedule of weekly activities.

The outline is published 2 weeks before the first day of teaching. You can look at previous outlines for a guide to the details of a unit.

There are no availabilities for this year.
Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Semester 1 2020
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Semester 1 2021
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Modes of attendance (MoA)

This refers to the Mode of attendance (MoA) for the unit as it appears when you’re selecting your units in Sydney Student. Find more information about modes of attendance on our website.