GEN3062 - Evolutionary & Ecological Genetics

General Unit Information


Biodiversity ultimately results from evolutionary processes. This unit will take an evolutionary and ecological genetics approach to understanding evolution. It will describe how the four evolutionary forces, mutation, random genetic drift, natural selection and gene flow act within and between populations to cause evolutionary change. It will focus on evolutionary processes, especially adaptation by natural selection, in an ecological context to explain patterns of biodiversity in nature. It will cover quantitative genetic and genomic approaches to understanding the genetic basis of evolutionary change. This unit will also illustrate how evolutionary and ecological genetics have direct contributions to make to biodiversity management and conservation. Conservation requires knowledge of the reproductive and field biology of threatened plant and animal species.  Modern molecular-genetic techniques provide valuable insights into population and breeding structure, movement patterns, and into levels of genetic relatedness and inbreeding within and between populations.  Ecologically and evolutionary important processes that are affected by genetic variation levels, including resistance to disease, resistance to pollution and to environmental stress, and the process of adaptation to changing environments, are explained.  Experience with relevant genetic techniques and with population genetic analyses are an integral part of this unit.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe how evolutionary processes shape patterns of biodiversity;
  2. Define genetic diversity, explain how to measure it, and explain how the different types of genetic diversity influence evolutionary processes;
  3. Explain quantitative and genomic approaches to measuring genetic variation and studying evolution both in model systems and in natural populations;
  4. Illustrate how evolution by natural selection can be detected, and how evolution and genetic diversity are central to successful biodiversity conservation and management;
  5. Demonstrate high-level skills in data collection, analysis and interpretation, and data presentation, and apply these in the preparation and presentation of scientific reports in written form and oral presentations;
  6. Critically evaluate and summarise new discoveries from the scientific literature in evolutionary and ecological genetics.

Specific Unit Information

NamesProf. Carla Sgro
Office location18Inn (Bld 17) - Rm 439a
Office hoursBy appointment - please e-mail
Technical coordinator
NamesChrista Meek
Office location18Inn (Bld 17) - Rm 337
Highly recommended

A Primer of Ecological Genetics, JK Conner & DL Hartl, Sinauer Assoc, Inc. Sunderland, Massachusetts, USA, 2004

RecommendedConservation and the Genetics of Populations, 2007. Fred W. Allendorf and Gordon Lukart
For Reference

Free On-line access through Monash Library

Introduction to Conservation Genetics [electronic resource] R Frankham, J Ballou and D Briscoe,Cambridge University Press, 2002.

A Primer of CONSERVATION GENETICS [electronic resource] R Frankham, J Ballou and D Briscoe, 2004 Cambridge University Press.

Program for 2022
University Handbook EntryGEN3062 - Synopsis, Assessment & Prerequisites
ScheduleGEN3062 - Lecture & Laboratory Schedule for 2022
Important links
Science FacultyInformation for Current Students
UniversityInformation for Students - Timetables, Exam, Semester Dates, more.....