Thursday, 27 May 2010

S366: The book

As I've said, this course is a combination of two books. The text book that comes with it, and the companion text which tells you which bits to read. Sometimes this directs you to read a whole chapter, sometimes just bits and the companion text then has lots of text to read that replaces or supplements that in the text book. So what do we do in this course? Well here are the first few chapters. All labelled with letter of the alphabet.

Section A Evolutionary biology - this is an introduction to evolution. Where it stands, what its principles are, how secure it is etc. Sets the scene nicely.

Section B Adaptation - here we look at some examples of adaptation. It includes a DVD video on Adaptation in Svalbard reindeer. Some reindeer that are unique to a small island, which has influenced their evolution.

Section C The Tree of Life: classification and phylogeny. Lots of stuff on constructing cladograms, and phylogenetic analysis. Several exercises to do here, some stuff for TMA 1 too.

Section D Patterns of evolution - more on phylogeny, and a look at trends and adaptive radiation.

Section E Evolution in the fossil record - some examples including the origin of feathers and the ancestry of birds. A look at fossil trends, punctuated equilibrium, and this is where the brachipod stuff fits in.

Section F A history of life on Earth - From Earth’s earliest life, through evolution in the precambrian to evolution in the more recent eras.

Section G The geography of evolution - looking at geographical influences, barriers, climates, ecologies.

Section H The evolution of biodiversity - which looks at how to quantify taxonomic diversity, mass extinctions, and so on.

Section I The origin of genetic variation and Evolution of genes and genomes - here we look at genes and genomes, how mutations occur and the randomness of it. Also things like recombination, the origin of new genes and then some parts on the phylogenetic processes applied to genes.

Section J Variation - Distinguishing sources of phenotypic variation, some work on population genetics, molecular markers and qunatative traits. Some maths involved here.

So - thats about half the course.

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