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Unit (2019)

Information on this page, including unit offerings, is from the 2019 academic year.

Evolutionary Analysis (BIO379)

Organisational Unit Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Credit Points 3
Availability MURDOCH: S2-internal
Teaching Timetables Murdoch S2
Description Evolutionary Biology (the study of the processes that drive organic evolution) uses discipline-based tools (e.g. molecular biology, genetics, and ecology) to address fundamental questions about evolution and the natural world, and unites all biology in doing so. This unit integrates the theoretical knowledge you have gained across various biological disciplines to gain a deeper understanding of how evolution works and how it can be studied.
Unit Learning Outcomes 1. Define evolution and discuss the evidence for evolution
2. Integrate information from different disciplines and demonstrate a synthetic understanding of how evolution occurs, how evolution can be studied and how the knowledge of evolutionary processes can be applied
3. Demonstrate knowledge of the theory behind estimating evolutionary trees and carry out basic phylogenetic analyses
4. Demonstrate knowledge of evolutionary processes, their evolutionary outcomes and how they interact
5. Explain and discuss the evolutionary significance of key areas of evolutionary study (adaptation, life history strategies, sexual selection, social behaviour, human health, macroevolution) and their applications in contemporary research
6. Demonstrate the ability to undertake independent literature-based research and apply practical research skills to analyse evolutionary data
7. Critically evaluate concepts in evolutionary theory and the evidence for them and develop a high level of analytical scientific thinking.
8. Integrate information and ideas to form a clear and structured argument.
9. Communicate ideas in a clear and professional scientific manner in written format and spoken presentations
Timetabled Learning Activities Theory Workshops: 2 hours per week; Practical/project workshops: 2-4 hours per week.
Unit Learning Experiences The approach to learning in this unit is based around students contributing to and shaping their own learning through independent study and through the experience of analysing problems and answering questions in the study of evolution. Students are expected to read widely and in-depth to develop their expertise in the field. Independent study of major evolutionary topics will be followed by the opportunity to use this knowledge and the evidence gathered to contribute to discussions and complete activities during workshops. Each student will help synthesize the scope, arguments, and evidence for concepts in evolution for the benefit of the whole class. Experiential learning will come from applying knowledge and skills to problems in particular areas of evolutionary study. An in-depth and comprehensive analysis of one particular topic in evolutionary biology will be required to write a scientific review paper. Practical research skills developed throughout the degree will be drawn upon and further developed by undertaking a group research project, in consultation with a member of the teaching team, to answer a particular question in evolutionary research.
Other Learning Experiences A research-based project will run for the entire semester. The time spent on this project will be scheduled in consultation with the project supervisor, but will be in the order of approximately 4 hours per week, including some of the timetabled project workshop hours.
Assessment The progress of students' independent learning and their grasp of the main concepts will be assessed and feedback given in workshops.

Students will undertake a semester-long project and will need to function as a team, apply their research skills to a problem and then present their findings in a seminar in a way that captures the interest of the audience.
The final exam will assess the extent to which students are able to communicate fundamental concepts in evolutionary biology in their own words.
Prerequisites BIO356/BIO372 Genetics and Evolution.
Exclusions Students who have successfully completed BIO369 Evolutionary Biology or BIO369 Evolution and Conservation may not enrol in this unit for credit.
Previously 2015: 'Evolutionary Biology'
Appears in these Courses/Majors:
see individual structures for context
Biological Sciences (BSc) [New in 2014]
Biology and Environmental Science Major Teaching Area (BEd(Sec)) [New in 2019]
Internet Access RequirementsMurdoch units normally include an online component comprising materials, discussions, lecture recordings and assessment activities. All students, regardless of their location or mode of study, need to have access to and be able to use computing devices with browsing capability and a connection to the Internet via Broadband (Cable, ADSL or Mobile) or Wireless. The Internet connection should be readily available and allow large amounts of data to be streamed or downloaded (approximately 100MB per lecture recording). Students also need to be able to enter into online discussions and submit assignments online.


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