The University of Southampton
Courses

BIOL3010 Topics in Ecology and Evolution

Module Overview

Ecological processes impact on individuals, populations and communities. Evolution typically happens over long time periods. Still, ecology and evolution are interlinked and influence each other in many different ways. In this module, we will examine various ways in which ecology and evolution interact. The module will be taught by a number of different staff, and will reflect their current research interests. It will begin by exploring the different ways in which interacting organisms can influence each other’s evolution, and how co-evolution manifest itself in different types of interactions. Then we will focus on the interaction between humans, animals and plants and how domestication has given rise to the society we see today. An understanding of evolutionary processes, using domestication as a model system, will be investigated. This will be followed by looking at the importance of biodiversity for mediating ecosystem level processes and how this relationship may be impacted by environmental context. Finally, we will discuss how evolution affects the ecology of invasive species, and how invasions affect evolution. Varied though the topics in this module are, they all highlight the interaction between ecology and evolution.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

extend the knowledge of ecological and evolutionary processes taught in first and second year modules increase understanding of the importance of biodiversity for mediating ecosystem level processes and how this relationship may be impacted by environmental context provide an understanding of early bird evolution the interaction between humans, animals and plants and how domestication has given rise to the society we see today consider various aspects of the process of coevolution in a wide range of interacting species increase understanding how evolution affects the ecology of invasive species

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • appreciate the extent of overlap between ecology and evolution
  • discuss the the importance of biodiversity for mediating ecosystem level processes and how this relationship may be impacted by environmental context
  • describe the interaction between humans, animals and plants and how domestication has given rise to the society we see today
  • explain how species co-evolve depending on the nature of their interactions
  • explain how evolution affects the ecology of invasive species

Syllabus

Ecological processes impact on individuals, populations and communities. Evolution typically happens over long time periods. Still, ecology and evolution are interlinked and influence each other in many different ways. In this module, we will examine various ways in which ecology and evolution interact. The module will be taught by a number of different staff, and will reflect their current research interests. It will begin by exploring the different ways in which interacting organisms can influence each other’s evolution, and how co-evolution manifest itself in different types of interactions. Then we will focus on the interaction between humans, animals and plants and how domestication has given rise to the society we see today. An understanding of evolutionary processes, using domestication as a model system, will be investigated. This will be followed by looking at the importance of biodiversity for mediating ecosystem level processes and how this relationship may be impacted by environmental context. Finally, we will discuss how evolution affects the ecology of invasive species, and how invasions affect evolution. Varied though the topics in this module are, they all highlight the interaction between ecology and evolution.

Special Features

100% coursework-assessed Writing of a New Scientist-style article Peer review: students review and criticise each other’s essays Podcast

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The principal method of teaching will be via 20 lectures. Students will write an article in the style of New Scientist, write an essay on one from two topics, and offer criticism on an essays on the other topic, and prepare a poster. The students will be directed to considerable background reading.

TypeHours
Lecture20
Independent Study130
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Thompson. The Coevolutionary Process. 

Naeem et al. Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning and Human Wellbeing. 

Futuyma & Slatkin. Coevolution. 

Caswell. Matrix Population Models. 

Ellner & Guckenheimer. Dynamic Models in Biology. 

Keyfitz & Caswell. Applied Mathematical Demography. 

Loreau et al. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: Synthesis and Perspectives. 

Solan et al. Marine Biodiversity & Ecosystem Functioning. 

Freeman & Heron. Evolutionary Analysis. 

Raffaelli & Hawkins. Intertidal Ecology. 

Begon et al. Ecology. 

Thompson. The Geographic Mosaic of Coevolution. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: BIOL2001 and BIOL2004

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