INTRODUCTION TO EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

                                             LECTURE SYLLABUS ‑ SPRING 2008


Lecture room: 327 Mudd Building, M ‑‑ W ‑‑ F 11:00 ‑ 11:50 AM




(1) Jan 23: Introduction. Definitions of evolution; Definition of species, speciation, phyletic lineage, phyletic evolution; Relationship between the phyletic lineage and the species.


(2) Jan 25: Major subdivisions of evolutionary theory; Nomological‑Deductive Explanations versus Historical‑Narrative Explanations and theories of evolution; Units of evolution; Facts versus theory; Tests of nomological evolutionary theories – phyletic evolution – speciation.


(3) Jan 28: Tests of evolutionary theory (cont.) History of life – tests of historical evolutionary theory: classification and distribution of features in organisms; vestigial organs; distribution of species in space; distribution of organisms in time.


Readings: Darwin, On the Origin of Species; Mayr, Chapter 1




(4) Jan 30: Background to Darwin; Historical analysis of On the Origin of Species 1859; Darwin's argument.


(5) Feb 1: Darwin's argument (cont.).


(6) Feb 4: Weaknesses of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.


(7) Feb 6: History of evolutionary ideas from 1859 ‑ 1992.


Readings: Complete Darwin Origin of species; Maynard Smith, Ch. 1, 2; Mayr, Ch. 1, 2, 3.




(8) Feb 8: Introduction to evolutionary mechanisms; Analysis of cause, process and outcome; use in evolutionary theory;  Genotype vs phenotype;  Importance of the external environment.


(9) Feb 11: Genetic variation; Types and measurement of variation; Correlation between genetic and phenotypic variation; Mitosis versus meiosis.


(10) Feb13: Formation of genetic variation; Relative roles of diverse mechanisms that produce genetic variation.


(11) Feb 15: The Hardy‑Weinberg Law; Foundations of population genetics.


Readings: Maynard Smith, Ch. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; Mayr, Chapter 4, 5




(12) Feb 18: Selection – definitions; Natural Selection versus selective demands; Darwin's uses of Natural Selection; Development of modern ideas and issues on selection; Natural selection versus selective agents; Natural selection versus artificial selection;  External environment.


(13) Feb 20: Selection (cont.); Early experiments; Use of life table data.


(14) Feb 22: Selection (cont.); Types of selection – directional, stabilizing, disruptive; Hard versus soft selection; Cost of selection, and the cost of evolution.


(15) Feb 25: Group selection; Kin selection; Altruism; Helpers at the nest.


(16) Feb 27: Darwinian versus non‑Darwinian evolution; Genetic drift; Evolutionary clocks.


Readings: Maynard Smith, Mayr, Chapter 6, 7




(17) Feb 29: Introduction to concepts of adaptation; Survival features versus reproductive features; History of the concept of adaptation; Adaptations relative to what; Evaluation of adaptations versus adaptive evolution; The form‑function complex.


(18) March 3: Adaptation (cont.); Biological role; Selective agents from the external environment; Synerg; Niche concepts.


(19) March 5: Adaptation (cont.); Definition and measurements of adaptations; Adaptation as a state of being and as a process.


(20) March 7: Adaptation (cont.); Recognition of adaptation; Paradaptation.


(21) March 10: Adaptation (cont.); Adaptive evolutionary change; Preadaptation.


(22) March 12: Physiological adaptation; The Baldwin effect; Genetic assimilation of an acquired character; "Crossveinlessness" in fruit flies.


(23) March 14: Fitness: Definition and measurement of fitness: Adaptation and other components of fitness.


March 15 - 23 Spring Recess:


(24) March 24: The adaptationist program.


Readings: Mayr, Chapter 7




(25) March 26: History of the species concept; The morphological species concept; The biological species concept; Phylogenetic, evolutionary and paleontological species concepts.


(26) March 28: MIDTERM EXAMINATION: (Material through Lect. 23, March 24)


(27) March 31: History of the species concept (cont.); The non‑dimensional species taxon versus the multi‑dimensional species concepts; Diverse properties of species; Species concept versus species category versus species taxon.


(28) April 2: Isolating mechanisms; Extrinsic isolating barriers versus intrinsic isolating mechanisms; Analysis of intrinsic isolation mechanisms and their reproductive costs.


(29) April 4: Speciation: General concepts; Geographical speciation – allopatric phase; Evolution of the separate properties of species; Genetic aspects of speciation, including concepts of genetic revolutions; Origin of  intrinsic isolating mechanisms.


(30) April 7: Speciation: Geographical speciation – sympatric phase; Evolution of intrinsic isolation mechanisms to reduce reproductive costs.


(31) April 9: Speciation: Ecological events; Termination of the speciation process; Timing of speciation events.


(32) April 11: Speciation: Sympatric and parapatric speciation; Chromosomal aspects of speciation; Populational aspects of speciation.


(33) April 14: Speciation: Hybridization and polyploidy leading to new species; Polyploidy series in plants; Female species in animals.


Readings: Maynard Smith, Ch. 13. 14. 14. 16. Mayr, Chapter 8, 9




(34) April 16: Introduction and history of concepts of macroevolution; Definition of macroevolution.


(35) April 18: Quantum theories of macroevolution; Arguments against these ideas.


(36) April 21: Macroevolution; The synthetic theory


(37) April 23: Macroevolution: The synthetic theory (cont.); Mosaic evolution; Patterns and sources of selective demands


(38) April 25: Cultural evolution. Punctuated equilibrium and Species selection; The analysis of some dubious concepts.


Readings: Maynard Smith, Ch. 17, 18, 19. Mayr, chapter 10, 11, 12




(39) April 28: Introduction to the concept of phylogeny; Homology – definition and methods of recognition; Relationship to testing hypotheses of phylogeny and classification.


(40) April 30: Classifications: Construction, testing, evaluation and uses of biological classifications; Comparisons and evaluations of diverse approaches to classifications.


(41) May 2: Phylogenies: How phylogenies are reconstructed, evaluation and used of phylogenies; Relationships of phylogenies to classifications.


(42) May 5: Biogeography: Concepts of the dispersal and geographic history of organisms; Concepts of biogeographic regions. The concept of continental drift (sea‑floor spreading) and its relationship to the geographic history of organisms.


FINAL EXAMINATION: Monday; 12 May 2004


TEXTBOOKS (available in Barnes and Noble College Bookstore, or get on a .com web site):


    a) What evolution is. Ernst Mayr, Basic Books,  ISBN: 0465044263,  Paperback.


    b) The theory of evolution. John Maynard Smith, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521451280,  Paperback.


    c) The origin of species.  C. Darwin, Pelican Paperback,  ISBN 014 040.001X



GRADING     The grade will be based on the midterm (about 40 %) and final examinations (about 60%).


RECOMMENDATIONS   Because this is a lecture course, there is no basis for me to write meaningful recommendations, and hence I can not do so.



Office: 733 Mudd.

Mail box:          2428 Fairchild (front of building).