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The University of Southampton
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BIOL6029 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. Varied though the topics in this module are, they all highlight the interaction between ecology and evolution.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

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

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. Varied though the topics in this module are, they all highlight the interaction between ecology and evolution.

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 essay on the other topic, prepare a poster and write a research proposal. The students will be directed to considerable background reading.

TypeHours
Independent Study130
Lecture20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

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

Ellner & Guckenheimer. Dynamic Models in Biology. 

Freeman & Heron. Evolutionary Analysis. 

Caswell. Matrix Population Models. 

Begon et al. Ecology. 

Thompson. The Coevolutionary Process. 

Solan et al. Marine Biodiversity & Ecosystem Functioning. 

Futuyma & Slatkin. Coevolution. 

Thompson. The Geographic Mosaic of Coevolution. 

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

Keyfitz & Caswell. Applied Mathematical Demography. 

Raffaelli & Hawkins. Intertidal Ecology. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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