NS4201: Diversity and Evolution

NS4201: Diversity and Evolution

Please note this module descriptor is indicative of the structure of this course and may be subject to change.

Module Title Diversity and Evolution
Module Code NS4201
Module Tutor Matthew Wood
School School of Natural and Social Sciences
CAT Points 30
Level of Study 4
Brief Description

This module is for those interested in understanding the origins and diversity of life on Earth and the central role that evolution plays in modern biology. It is essential preparation for many modules at Levels 5 and 6. The module introduces organism diversity and classification as well as the principles of natural selection, evolution, adaptation and Mendelian genetics. After setting firm foundations the module will examine some more controversial theories and modern advances in evolutionary biology.

Indicative Syllabus

Taking a comparative approach, this module begins by introducing the diversity, form and function of life on Earth. Key features are highlighted and explained, and used to understand the diversity and adaptation that we can observe. Students will also explore classification systems and identification techniques, building up practical and well as theoretical knowledge and skills. Natural selection as the underlying mechanism of evolution will be explained and linked to genetic inheritance, including calculating expected allele frequencies and phenotypes. Microevolution, macroevolution and speciation will be covered using contemporary and fossil record examples, and will reinforce the diversity elements of the module. Modern advances in evolution and natural selection will be examined, using primary literature wherever possible.

Learning Outcomes

A student passing this module should be able to:

  1. Identify the features of key plant and animal phyla and explain how these differ between selected phyla
  2. Understand how different classification systems are defined and used
  3. Understand the important concepts in evolution and natural selection, including gene frequencies, levels of selection and speciation
  4. Understand the contemporary and fossil evidence for evolution and for natural selection, and be able to use this evidence to support key concepts in evolution
  5. Critically evaluate controversial theories in evolution, and formulate arguments based on theory and evidence to support these
  6. Design and use taxonomic keys and be able to use a microscope
Learning and Teaching Activities Scheduled Contact Hours: 72
Independent Learning Hours: 228
Assessment (For further details see the Module Guide) 001: 50% Presentation: Group:: 3000 words or equivalent
002: 50% Laboratory Exam: 2.00 hours
Special Assessment Requirements
Indicative Resources The current reading list can be found in the Module Guide, which your lecturer should make available via Moodle.

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