Evolutionary Ecology

Course content

Mating systems and sexual selection; decision making and the evolution of communication; senescence and life histories in animals and microbes; life history traits: genetic variation and phenotypic plasticity; mutualistic interactions and their evolutionary stability; social evolution: cooperation and conflict; parasite-host interactions.

Education

MSc Programme in Biology
MSc Programme in Agriculture

Learning outcome

To give students an understanding of life-history adaptations, of their ecological context, genetic variation and evolution. Students will gain a detailed perception of biological adaptation through natural and sexual selection, of the different levels of selection (genes, individuals, and social groups) and of the strength of these forces in shaping life-history adaptations. The course will enable students to integrate ecological, population genetic and evolutionary approaches.

Knowledge:

By completing the course the student will be able to understand and reflect on:

  • mating systems and sexual selection
  • decision making and the evolution of communication
  • senescence and life histories in animals and microbes
  • genetic variation and phenotypic plasticity
  • mutualistic interactions and their evolutionary stability
  • social evolution: cooperation and conflict in families and mutualisms
  • parasite-host interactions


Skills:

By completing the course the student will:

  • obtain a basic understanding of life-history adaptations, and of their ecological context, genetic variation and evolution
  • gain a detailed perception of biological adaptation through natural and sexual selection, of the different levels of selection (genes, individuals, and social groups) and of the strength of these forces in shaping life-history adaptations
  • be able to integrate ecological, population genetic and evolutionary approaches


Competences:

By completing the course the student can:

  • explain important concepts and current hypotheses for life history evolution
  • evaluate the influence of sexual selection on the evolution of mating systems in animals and plants
  • describe the connections between mating systems and population structure
  • explain the significance of cost-benefit and trade-off arguments for natural selection
  • explain the significance of reproductive conflicts in social systems and mutualisms
  • evaluate the significance of constraints on adaptive evolution by natural and sexual selection
  • independently retrieve and select information from the scientific literature and other relevant sources
  • present and critically discuss original scientific papers and reviews in the field of evolutionary ecology
  • present a coherent essay on a topic within this field of study

Nine hours of lectures and seminar class work per week for the first six weeks. In the 7th and 8th week, students will do a literature study and write a 5-page essay on a topic related to course papers.

See Absalon.

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 2 hours multiple choice under invigilation
Written assignment, 5 pages essay
The final grade is given based on the essay (50%) and the written exam (50%).
The written exam as well as the written assignment has to be passed in same examperiod.
Aid
Without aids

NB: If the exam is held at the ITX, the ITX will provide computers. Private computers, tablets or mobile phones CANNOT be brought along to the exam.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

The student gives an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material, cf. the learning outcome of the course, with no or only a few minor weaknesses.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 2
  • Preparation
  • 102
  • Lectures
  • 36
  • Colloquia
  • 18
  • Project work
  • 48
  • English
  • 206