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BI3809: LIFE HISTORY EVOLUTION (2017-2018)

Last modified: 06 Jul 2017 09:37


Course Overview

The course will give you generic knowledge on life history theories and trade-offs.

The different life history concepts presented in this course will be illustrated using world leading research studies covering the whole spectrum of life, from bacteria to fungi and plants to animals.

Directed learning will give you the opportunity to move from theory to practice. You will use tutorials to learn how, for example, to explore and describe trait variability, compute heritability estimates, or measure selection coefficients.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Dr Pierre Bize
  • Dr Julien Martin

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • One of BSc Biology (Studied) or BSc Conservation Biology (Studied) or BSc Zoology (Studied) or BSc Animal Ecology (Studied) or BSc Marine Biology (Studied) or BSc Animal Behaviour (Studied) or BSc Behavioural Biology (Studied) or MSci Biological Sciences (Studied) or BSc Biological Sciences (Honours) (Studied) or BSc Plant and Soil Sciences (Studied) or Bachelor Of Science In Environmental And Forest Management (Studied) or BSc Ecology (Studied) or BSc Forestry (Studied) or BSc Forest Sciences (Studied) or BSc Environmental Science (Studied)
  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

None.

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

Course Description

The aim of this course is to provide students with generic knowledge on life history theories and trade-offs. We will be using world leading research studies to illustrate the different life history concepts presented in this course, making sure to use examples from bacteria to fungi and plants to animals. We will also make the most of directed learning to give students the opportunity to move from theory to practice. Using tutorials, students will learn how, for example, to explore and describe trait variability, compute heritability estimates, or measure selection coefficients.

Upon completion of the course, students will: 

  • recognise that our current understanding of biology is contested and provisional, set within a history of scientific exploration and experimentation, and a dynamic continuation of scientific advances;
  • describe and evaluate the proximate and ultimate explanations regarding the diversity of living species, from bacteria to fungi and plants to animals;

  • explain how life history theories are relevant to biological sciences;

  • gain knowledge on how science works, from data collection and analyses to biological interpretation.

  • demonstrate competence in biological interpretation of statistical analyses.

 

These outcomes will be achieved by:

  • passing a final written exam based on themed lectures that cover core content and world class case studies;
  • demonstrating competency in the use of statistical tools to address key questions in biological sciences during tutorial sessions;
  • interpreting the output of research and analyses related to life history trade-offs and demonstrating understanding in an oral presentation and practical report.

The course begins with an introduction to life history stages and cycles, heritability, selection and quantitative genetics.  The theory develops by decomposing the phenotype and considering additive genetic variance and environmental effects.  Tutorials are used to plot and analyse trait variability, compute fitness estimates and measure selection coefficients.  Life history trade-offs, the ultimate consequences of these and the proximate mechanisms are explored.  The applications of evolution of life histories are explored, for example, through evolutionary medicine, pathogen virulence, conservation biology and animal translocation.

Associated Costs

None

Further Information & Notes

This course runs in weeks 31-35, and is scheduled in Thread 1, so may have contact hours in any or all of these times:  Mondays, 9-13; Thursday, all day; Friday, 9-13.  If this is an optional course, there may also be contact hours on Wednesdays, 11-13.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

  • BSc Animal Behaviour

Contact Teaching Time

35 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


Assessment

1st Attempt: 50% 2-hour written exam, 50% coursework.  The coursework is comprised of three practical reports (30%) and a group presentation based on a case study (20%).

Resit: Similar to 1st Attempt, with continuous assessment mark(s) and/or exam mark carried forward with an opportunity to resit either or both, depending on what was failed in the first attempt.

Formative Assessment

Directed learning sessions will provide opportunities for student-student and student-tutor interactions.

Feedback

Students will receive regular oral feedback during each directed learning session, and written feedback about a previous session at the start of each new session.

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