|Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Oldroyd, A/Prof Beekman.|
Classes: 2x1 hr lectures/week, 1x4 hr practical/week.
Assessment: 1x1.5 hour exam, assignments, seminar (100%)
|The unit of study covers the main themes of modern evolutionary theory including population genetics. In the practicals, students use molecular methods to quantify genetic variation in natural populations. Using these skills we will search for population subdivision and discuss how this can lead to speciation. Lectures will cover how the evolution of traits can be tracked using the comparative method. We will consider how studies of sex ratios, sexual selection, kin selection, game theory and quantitative genetics can illuminate the mechanisms by which animals have evolved, and explain why they behave as they do. We will then consider if these themes have any relevance to human sociobiology. The unit also covers the role of genetics in conservation. There will be a field trip to collect organisms for population genetic analysis. There will be plenty of opportunity in the student seminars to examine the more controversial aspects of modern evolutionary thought.|