BIO2022 - Evolutionary Ecology

General Unit Information


Life on Earth has a three and a half billion year history, during which it has changed, diversified, suffered mass extinctions, and rebounded with astonishing new forms.

In this subject we examine the patterns and causes behind this history. Darwin's theories of natural selection and sexual selection form the starting point.

From there we look at the Earth's biodiversity, ask how life started in the first place, consider the evidence for a comet impact that wiped out the dinosaurs, ask why there are only two sexes and not more, and examine how diseases evolve to exploit their hosts, among many topics.

An evolutionary perspective helps to make sense of all other areas of biology. This subject provides a useful foundation for students interested in botany and zoology, genetics, environmental biology, psychology, and medical fields.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the historical development of the theory of evolution and the evidence for the occurrence of evolution;
  2. Explain the fundamental processes of evolution and the major evolutionary events in the history of life;
  3. Describe the principles of systematically classifying organic diversity;
  4. Apply the techniques for inferring the evolutionary relationships of organisms;
  5. Synthesise and communicate scientific principles and information underlying evolution in oral and/or written formats.

Specific Unit Information

NamesAssoc. Prof. Damian Dowling
Office location17/439
Office hoursBy appointment - Please email
Technical coordinator
NameEmily Skoda
Office location18/114
Phone990 24630
PrescribedFreeman, Scott; Herron, Jon C.  2014. Evolutionary Analysis, 5th Edition. Pearson Benjamin Cummings.  

Allendorf, F. W., G. H. Luikart, and S. N. Aitken. 2013. Conservation and the Genetics of Populations. Second edition. Wiley.
Program for 2015
University Handbook EntryBIO2022 - Synopsis, Assessment & Prerequisites
ScheduleBIO2022 - Lecture & Practical Schedule for 2017
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