Evolution syllabus 2012

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University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras
Department of Biology
Evolution – Biol 4345
Spring 2012

Professor: Tugrul Giray/Richard Thomas
Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 9:00-12:00 (RT) or by appointment
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 10-12 (TG) or by appointment

Lectures: Monday and Wednesday, 2:00-3:20, CNL-A-231
Quizzes: in class

Textbook:Futuyma, D. J. 2009. Evolution, Second Edition. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA.
Lectures: Available on Blackboard

Midterms: 1st Midterm: Wednesday, Feb 15
2nd Midterm: Wednesday, Mar 28
Final: Finals week TBA

Course overview: Biol 4345 is an in-depth introduction to evolution. Evolution is a heritable change over time that has given rise to life’s rich diversity. Evolutionitself is the result of many different processes at the micro- and macro-evolutionary level. Understanding these evolutionary processes is fundamental to understanding all aspects of biology. In the course of the semester we will study the mechanisms of the evolutionary process, and resultant patterns of biological diversity. Throughout the course we will discuss major questions in evolutionarybiology and how scientists ask and answer those questions. We will also focus on the impact of evolutionary biology on modern issues of health, agriculture, and conservation. A central aspect of the course is working through details of evolutionary theory and quantitative modeling.

Of all the biological sciences, evolution is inherently the most integrative and comprehensive. It is the unifyingtheory of biology. By the end of the course we hope you will fully appreciate the famous statement by Theodosius Dobzhansky “Nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution.”

By the end of this course you will be able to:
1 Learn to apply rigorous evolutionary thinking to any question in biology.
2 Understand how to ask and answer questions in evolutionary biology.
3 Understandhow different mechanisms of evolution (natural selection, drift, mutation and gene flow), individually and combined, affect changes in allele frequencies in populations.
4 Appreciate how evolution has, and is, influencing issues in social sciences, medicine, conservation and agriculture.
5 Understand how new species originate and the factors that influence species diversity.

Reading: Eachweek there will be chapters or parts of chapters to read from the textbook. You are expected to have read these before coming to class. A class may start with a brief quiz regarding the subject of the class, and such quizzes count towards your final grade. Some weeks there will also be additional material to read. About eight quizzes are expected to be given during the semester, and the best fiveof these quizzes will be used toward your final grade.

Exercises/assignments: There will a few assignments (quantitative problem sets/reading) that will give you opportunities to spend quality time thinking about concepts learned in lecture. We encourage students to work together on exercise problems. However, written responses need to be composed individually, and will be evaluated in themidterm and final tests.

Exams: There are two exams in the class, one midterm and one final. The exams will cover material from lectures, discussion readings and assigned readings, and quantitative problems. The final exam will concentrate on material from the last third of the semester, but will include some cumulative general questions. Exams will be curved.

Quizzes: 20% of totalAssignments: 10% of total
Midterm Exams: 40% of total
Final Exam: 30% of total
Course participation/prof. evaluation 5% additional.

Final Grades will be as follows:
A: 90 – 100
B: 80 – 89
C: 70 – 79
D: 60 – 69
F: below 60

Receiving or making phone calls during class will not be tolerated. You will be asked to leave the class, and you will get a zero (0) for that week’s quiz. Receiving...
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