Course Description

Course Name

Systematics and Macroevolution

Session: VCPS3119

Hours & Credits

36 Host University Units

Prerequisites & Language Level

Overview

Course outline:
This course deals with the description and analysis of biodiversity and evolution at the species level and above. The course begins by considering the nature and definition of "species," the processes by which new species arise in nature (speciation), and the data and procedures employed in the practical discovery, naming and description of previously-undescribed species. Thereafter, the focus shifts to the inference of phylogenetic (evolutionary) relationships amongst species, with an emphasis on the data (morphological, molecular) and analytical methods (parsimony, likelihood, Bayesian) employed in phylogeny reconstruction. Following on from this, the utility of phylogenetic data in the study of macroevolution is explored, specifically in relation to the study of adaptation, key innovation, evolutionary radiation and molecular dating. Students will also be introduced to several key biodiversity initiatives including the Tree of Life Project and The Consortium for the Barcode of Life.

*Course content subject to change