OEB Evolution Core Course (Org&EvBi 790A), 2012 syllabus

Organizer: Ben Normark (bnormark@ent.umass.edu)

Location: OEB Seminar Room (319 Morrill South)

Lectures: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1 - 2:15 p.m.

Lab / Discussion: Tuesday, 2:30 - 5:15 p.m.

Course Structure: 4 credits. Class periods will be interactive lectures and discussions. Instructors will assign papers from the primary literature that the students will discuss each week. Instructors will present cutting edge material in each topic area. Problem sets will be assigned to help students learn the quantitative aspects of each topic area.

Laboratory Sessions: Problems sets, data manipulation and computer exercises.

Textbook: Futuyma, D.J. 2009. Evolution. 2nd edition. Sinauer Associates.

The text is intended to introduce students to the various topics we will cover. We view it as the launching pad for a deeper treatment of each subject area. Students should review the text prior to the start of the course. A quiz will be given during the first class period on 9/6. While this will not be part of your grade, it will be used to asses your background.

Writing assignments (or problem sets): At the end of the first lecture period (Thursday) the instructor will hand out a probing question. Each student will research the question over the weekend and hand in a written response on the following Tuesday. These will be graded and will take the place of the midterm and final exams. For some quantitative topics a problem set may take the place of a writing assignment. Activities on Tuesday include the ‘lecture period’ and a ‘lab’ in the afternoon. Many instructors will choose to have a discussion section instead of a lab. Some of this time on Tuesday will be devoted to discussing answers to the written question.

Grading: Written assignments 80%, Participation in discussions and labs 20%

Course Website: https://bcrc.bio.umass.edu/courses/fall2012/grad/oeb790a/ PDFs of Primary Literature readings will be posted here. Any updates to the syllabus will be posted on course website.


Sept 4: Course Organization; quiz based on Futuyma text (Ben Normark)
Sept 6,11: History of Evolutionary Thought (Bruce Byers)
Sept 13,18: Population Genetics I (Adam Porter)
Sept 20, 25: Population Genetics II (Adam Porter)
Sept 27, Oct 2: Population Genetics III (Adam Porter)
Oct 4: Quantitative Genetics (Adam Porter)
Oct 11,16: Molecular Evolution (Laura Katz)
Oct 18,23: Phylogeny (Ben Normark, Akiko Okusu)
Oct 25,30: Evo Devo I (Craig Albertson)
Nov 1,6: Evo Devo II (Craig Albertson)
Nov 8,13: Species & Speciation (Norman Johnson)
Nov 15,20: Sexual Selection (Bruce Byers)
Nov 27: Levels of selection; genetic conflict (Ben Normark)
Nov 29, Dec 4: Fossil Record and Extinction (Margery Coombs)
Dec 6: Evolution of genetic systems (Ben Normark)