Evolutionary Biology explores how life has come to be and how it changes over time, while interacting with several other factors such as other living systems and their environment. We will explore the basics of Evolutionary Theory, Population Genetics, Evolutionary Ecology, Phylogenetics, and other tools commonly used in evolutionary research. Additionally, we will share tips and experiences on how to successfully apply to highly competitive graduate programmes in Evolutionary Biology. More details below.
Understanding the forces that shape genetic variation is one of the main goals of evolutionary biology. This section will introduce basic concepts in population genetics and will explore classical models in the field that are used to study how allele and genotype frequencies change over time in response to processes like mutation, genetic drift and natural selection.
Despite being the building blocks of life, genomes are extremely dynamic. This dynamic provides the raw material for evolution and selection to act upon, with consequences cascading to all levels of evolution, from the molecular world to species evolution. Thus, understanding the many forces acting on genomes and how they change over time is crucial to understand current models of evolution. This course will cover:
The course aims to explore the way behaviour is shaped by evolution and how it feeds back into it. Evolutionary ecology shapes the way organisms behave and adapt and we will discover these aspects in the following subsections:
In this section we will discuss the role of evo-devo (evolutionary and developmental biology), phenotypic plasticity and evolvability in evolutionary biology. Specifically, we will discover the answer to following questions:
Apart from exploring the answer to these questions (and more), we will discuss recent work in these areas and link them to current debates and controversies in evolutionary biology.
With this course, we aim to provide you with an overview of evolutionary theory presented with a historical timeline. The story of this course will start at the beginning of evolution with the Darwinian thought on heritability and take you on a trip through time ending with modern concepts that we can learn from for example evolutionary computation. Three main points will be tackled:
The course aims at giving students a background in what species are and how they come to exist. Furthermore, basic principles of species studies will be explained, with the focus on the use and understanding of evolutionary trees.
Part One consists of two subsections: speciation (1.1) and biogeography and tree thinking (1.2). In 1.1 we will consider:
In 1.2 we will consider:
Part Two considers the following sections:
For this section, we will have a discussion forum together with lecturers.