BIO120-Syllabus-Fall 2012(1) - BIO120H1F Adaptation Biodiversity Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of Toronto Course Syllabus

BIO120-Syllabus-Fall 2012(1) - BIO120H1F Adaptation...

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1 BIO120H1F – Adaptation & Biodiversity Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto Course Syllabus – Fall 2012 The BIO120H team Lecturers: Prof. James Thomson (Lectures 1-11) Prof. Spencer Barrett (Lectures 12-23) Corey Goldman , Course Coordinator Jill Wheeler , Laboratory Coordinator Tammy Pecoskie , Course Administrator Emily Austen , Lecture TA + many Laboratory Teaching Assistants Dom Fenech and Mary Ann Honig , Laboratory Technicians BIO120H office – [email protected] - Please direct all course enquiries to the BIO120 office; the office will re-direct enquiries as appropriate. - ES 3045A (Earth Sciences Centre, enter off 33 Willcocks, take stairs to third floor), 416-978-7588 - Please include “BIO120” in subject line of emails, and be sure to include your full name and student number. - Office hours: see “Contacts” page on course site on the Portal. Course description Principles and concepts of evolution and ecology related to origins of adaptation and biodiversity. Mechanisms and processes driving biological diversification illustrated from various perspectives using empirical and theoretical approaches. Topics include: genetic diversity; natural selection; speciation; physiological, population and community ecology; maintenance of species diversity; global environmental change ; conservation, species extinction, and invasion biology. Prerequisite: Grade 12 Biology or equivalent. Exclusion: BIO150Y1Y. Course objectives 1. A goal of this course is to provide you with a solid foundation in evolutionary and ecological principles and concepts—as related to the origins of adaptation and biodiversity—so that you can make informed decisions on pressing societal issues, such as population growth, global environmental change, and the conservation of biodiversity, and be prepared for advanced study in the biological sciences. 2. Darwinian evolution is the unifying concept in biology and explains biodiversity on earth and why species differ. You will learn that the traits of organisms are the product of a complex interplay between natural selection, genetic variation, and constraints imposed by evolutionary history. 3. You will learn that adaptive evolution is a process that results from selection pressures imposed by the physical and biotic environment on individuals within populations. The ecological challenges of capturing resources for growth, successful reproduction, and avoiding enemies largely determine the ways organism’s function. 4. Required reading of selected articles from the Nature Scitable online library will extend and reinforce lecture material on how natural systems work and how diverse organisms respond to the challenges of the natural world. From reading Why Evolution is True , you will learn how various independent lines of evidence demonstrate the fact of evolution and give insight into its mechanisms, particularly adaptation by natural selection.

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