Fall Semester, 2014

NOTE: We are changing this site continuously, as the semester progresses.  Please visit it often! 

Food for thought, posted 2 years ago on CNN:
"The Gallup Poll has been tracking Americans' views on creation and evolution for the past 30 years.  In June [2012] it released its latest findings, which showed 46% of Americans believed in creationism, 32% believed in evolution guided by God, and 15% believed in atheistic evolution.  During the 30 years Gallup has conducted the survey, creationism has remained far and away the most popular answer, with 40% to 47% of Americans surveyed saying they believed that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years."

Also check out this YouTube video (28 August 2012)
And an August, 2012 article by Jerry Coyne in Evolution on America's problem with evolution.
A comprehensive list of books on evolution.


Charles S. Henry, TLS 481 (

Carl D. Schlichting, TLS 366 (

Lectures Tuesday/Thursday 9:30 - 10:45 AM, TLS 371 

Syllabus and General Information

Each week, we will assign at least one original paper for you to read.  These articles should be read promptly.  At the end of the week, you will turn in a written "reaction" to that week's reading(s).  This should be sent to both of us via e-mail, in MS-Word format.  We will also accept printed copies, but these are less desireable.

Your reaction paper should include a brief summary of what the study found, the significance of those findings, and your critical reaction to the results and conclusions.  You can also include specific comments about the methods, discussion, conceptual context, or whatever else you think is important. The length of your response should be one to (at most!) two double-spaced pages.  On Tuesday (usually) of the following week you should be ready to participate in a class discussion of the paper or papers.

In addition, we might occasionally ask you to respond to a question in the textbook selected from the "Problems and Discussion Topics" included at the end of each chapter in Futuyma (2013).  These responses also should be no more than two double-spaced pages in length.

Chapters from Futuyma, 2013, are listed below and should be read before lecture.  Other assigned readings for your reaction papers, etc., can be downloaded using the links provided.  Links to PowerPoint lecture material (in PDF format) are also provided.  Let one of us know if you have difficulty retrieving anything from the course web site.

Lecture 1, August 26 (Henry) -- Species and species concepts. (Chapters 17 & 18)

Reading/Reaction paper 1 (due Tuesday, September 2):
Zachos, F. E., et al. 2013.  Species inflation and taxonomic artefacts - A critical comment on recent trends in mammalian classification. Mammalian Biology 78:1-6.
Note also the existence of two related articles, a critique of Zachos et al. by Gippoliti & Groves (dated 2012 for some strange reason) and a response by Zachos & Lovari (2013) to the G&G critique.  Skimming these additional articles will likely give you a better understanding of the original paper.

Lecture 2, August 28 (Henry) -- Speciation I: Geographical, demographic, and ecological factors. (Chapters 17 & 18) 

Lecture 3, September 2 (Henry) -- Speciation II: Ecological selection and divergence; hybrid zones; reinforcement. (Chapters 17 & 18)

Reading/Reaction paper 2 (due Tuesday, September 9):
Wessel, A., H. Hoch, M. Asche, T. von Rintelen, B. Stelbrink, V. Heck, F. D. Stone, and F. G. Howarth. 2013. Founder effects initiated rapid species radiation in Hawaiian cave planthoppers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110: 9391-9396.

          Reading (for background, not for reaction):
Grant, P. R., and B. Rosemary Grant. 2014. Synergism of natural selection and introgression in the origin of a new species. American Naturalist 183: 671-681.

Lecture 4, September 4 (Henry) -- Speciation III: Parapatric/sympatric and hybrid modes of speciation. (Chapters 17 & 18)

Readings (for background, not for reaction):
Svensson, E. I. 2012. Non-ecological speciation, niche conservatism and thermal adaptation: how are they connected? Organisms Diversity & Evolution 12: 229-240.

Lecture 5, September 9  (Henry) -- Hybrid speciation, the genetics of speciation, and rates of speciation. (Chapters 17 & 18)  

Reading/Reaction paper 3 (due Tuesday, September 16):
Surget-Groba, Y., and K. M. Kay. 2013. Restricted gene flow within and between rapidly diverging Neotropical plant species. Molecular Ecology 22: 4931-4942.
(alternative link, if the one above doesn't work:)

Lecture 6, September 11 (Henry) -- Multilevel selection theory. (Chapters 11 & 16)

Reading (for background, not for reaction):
Nowak, M. A., Tarnita, C. E. & Wilson, E. O. 2010. The evolution of eusociality. Nature, 466, 1057-1062.

And/Or, glance over the following -- it is long but also an easy and entertaining essay:
Gibson, A. H. 2013. Edward O. Wilson and the Organicist Tradition. Journal of the History of Biology 46: 599-630.

Lecture 7, September 16 (Henry) -- The evolution of cooperation and altruism. (Chapters 11 & 16)

Reading /Reaction paper 4 (due Tuesday, September 23):
Carter, G., and G. Wilkinson. 2013. Does food sharing in vampire bats demonstrate reciprocity? Communicative and Integrative Biology 6.

Lecture 8, September 18 (Henry) -- Cooperation (conclusion); the evolution of sexual reproduction. (Chapters 11 & 16)

Reading (for background, not for reaction):
West, S. A., and A. Gardner. 2010. Altruism, Spite, and Greenbeards. Science 327: 1341-1344.

Lecture 9, September 23 (Henry) -- Sexual selection. (Chapters 14 & 22)

Reading/Reaction paper 5 (due Tuesday, September 30):
Johnston, S. E., J. Gratten, C. Berenos, J. G. Pilkington, T. H. Clutton-Brock, J. M. Pemberton, and J. Slate. 2013. Life history trade-offs at a single locus maintain sexually selected genetic variation. Nature 502: 93-95.

Reading (for background, not for reaction):
Prum, R. O.  2012. Aesthetic evolution by mate choice: Darwin's really dangerous idea. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 367, 2253-2265.

Lecture 10, September 25 (Henry) -- Sexual selection, conclusion; introduction to life history evolution. (Chapters 14 & 22)

Reading (for background, not for reaction):
Thomas, H. 2012. Senescence, ageing and death of the whole plant. New Phytologist doi:10.1111/nph.12047: 1-15.

Lecture 11, September 30 (Henry) -- Life history evolution: trade-offs and demographics. (Chapters 14 & 22)

Reading/Reaction paper 6 (due Tuesday, October 7):  
Morales, M., M. Oñate, M. B. García, and S. Munné-Bosch. 2013. Photo-oxidative stress markers reveal absence of physiological deterioration with ageing in Borderea pyrenaica, an extraordinarily long-lived herb. Journal of Ecology 101: 555-565.

Lecture 12, October 2 (Henry) -- Life history evolution: senescence, genetics, phylogeny, and sex ratio. (Chapters 15 & 19)

Lecture 13, October 7 (Henry) -- Phylogenetic studies: molecules, revised relationships, co-cladogenesis. (Chapters 2 & 20)

Reading (for background, not for reaction -- read at least one of the following:
(1) Bond, J. E., N. L. Garrison, C. A. Hamilton, R. L. Godwin, M. Hedin, and I. Agnarsson. 2014. Phylogenomics resolves a spider backbone phylogeny and rejects a prevailing paradigm for orb web evolution. Current Biology 24: 1-7.
(2) Wagner, C. E., I. Keller, S. Wittwer, O. M. Selz, S. Mwaiko, L. Greuter, A. Sivasundar, and O. Seehausen. 2013. Genome-wide RAD sequence data provide unprecedented resolution of species boundaries and relationships in the Lake Victoria cichlid adaptive radiation. Molecular Ecology 22: 787-798.

Lecture 14, October 9 (Henry) -- Comparative trend analysis and character mapping. (Chapters 2 & 20)

Midterm/Final take-home exam, due Friday, 17 October at midnight.


Lecture 15, October 14 (Schlichting).  Overview of the Modern Synthesis.  (Chapter 1)

Major tenets of the evolutionary synthesis (taken from Futuyma 1998)
 References relevant to Lecture 1

Lecture 16, October 16 (Schlichting).  Genes, phenotypes, and environments.  (Chapter 12, pp. 309-321)

Reading/Reaction Essay 7 (two papers to read but one essay to write, due Tuesday, October 23):
(1) Pigliucci, M. 2009. An extended synthesis for evolutionary biology. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1168: 218-228. 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04578.x
(2) Futuyma, D. J. (2011). Expand or revise? The evolutionary synthesis today. Quarterly Review of Biology. 86: 203-208.

Lecture 17, October 21 (Schlichting).  Population Genetics and Quantitative Genetics.  (Chapter 13, pp. 347-368)

Reading/Reaction Essay 8 (due Tuesday, October 28):
Galloway, L. F. and K. S. Burgess. 2012. Artificial selection on flowering time: influence on reproductive phenology across natural light
environments. Journal of Ecology 100: 852-861. 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2012.01967.x

Lecture 18, October 23 (Schlichting).  Evolutionary "forces:" Gene flow and drift.  (Chapter 10)

Lecture 19, October 28 (Schlichting).  Evolutionary "forces:" Natural selection.  (Chapter 11; Ch. 12, pp. 322-343)

Lecture 20, October 30 (Schlichting).  Phenotypic evolution: Genetic architecture.  (Chapter 13)

Reading/Reaction Essay 9 (due Tuesday, November 4):
Parchman, T. L. and C. W. Benkman. 2013. When directional selection reduces geographic variation in traits mediating species interactions. Ecology and Evolution 3: 961­970.

Lecture 21, November 4 (Schlichting).  Phenotypic evolution: Maintenance of variation.  (Chapter 13)

Lecture 22, November 6 (Schlichting).  Phenotypic evolution: Reaction norms.  (Chapter 13)

Reading/Reaction Essay 10 (due Tuesday, November 11):
Lanfear, R., S. Y. W. Ho, et al. 2010. Mutation rate is linked to diversification in birds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 107: 20423­20428.7

Lecture 23, November 11 (Schlichting).  Phenotypic evolution: Maintenance of variation.  (Chapter 13)

Lecture 24, November 13 (Schlichting).  Phenotypic evolution: Reaction norms.  (Chapter 13)

Reading/Reaction Essay 11 (due Tuesday, November 18):
Kulkarni, S. S., I. Gomez-Mestre, et al. 2011. Evolutionary reduction of developmental plasticity in desert spadefoot toads. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24: 2445­2455.

Lecture 25, November 18 (Schlichting -- cut short by a meeting).  Limits to phenotypic evolution.  (Chapter 13)

Lecture 26, November 20 (Schlichting).  Macroevolution, part 1.  (Chapters 7 & 22)

Reading/Reaction Essay 12 (due Thursday, December 4):
Benson, R. B. J., N. E. Campione, et al. 2014. Rates of Dinosaur Body Mass Evolution Indicate 170 Million Years of Sustained Ecological Innovation on the Avian Stem Lineage. PLoS Biology 12: e1001853.5


Lecture 27, December 2 (Schlichting).  Macroevolution, part 2. (Chapters 7 & 22)

Lecture 28, December 4 (Schlichting).  Macroevolution, part 3.  (Chapters 7 & 22)

Final Exam handed out -- take-home, 5 December
Final Exam due -- 12 December.