Course Coordinator: 
Evan P. Economo
Fundamentals of Evolution

From the diversification of lineages over billions of years, to the rise of modern humans, to ongoing global pandemics, evolution underpins our understanding of living systems.  Through lectures, discussion, and critical reading, this course focuses on fundamental theoretical and empirical aspects of evolutionary science, and how these are applied to both understanding the natural world and our place within it.    Substantial practice is provided in reading, discussing, critiquing, and writing scientific literature.   Assessment via term papers and assignments will reflect theoretical concepts, relate evolutionary events to scientific evidence, and apply it to contemporary problems.

Course Content: 

1. History of Evolutionary Science
2. Systematics and Phylogenetics
3. History of Life on Earth
4. Natural Selection and Adaptation
5. Population Genetics
6. Evolution of behavior
7. Sexual Selection
8. Speciation and Adaptive Radiation
9. Macroevolution
10. Applied Evolutionary Science

Course Type: 
In-class discussion and papers: 50%; Mid-term paper: 20%; Final paper: 30%
Text Book: 
  • Evolutionary Biology (3rd edition), Douglas Futuyma
Reference Book: 
    Prior Knowledge: 
    Students in the life sciences are highly encouraged to take a Fundamentals of Ecology course prior to this course. However, it is not required.

    Not offered AY2022