Evolutionary Biology Spring 2017

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EEB 2245/2245W
Evolutionary Biology

Course Overview & Syllabus

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Meeting Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30-10:45 am in TLS 154
Textbook: Futuyma, D.J. 2013. Evolution. 3rd ed. Sinauer Associates, Inc. (ISBN 978-1-60535-115-5)
Assigned readings are indicated below. Please read assigned chapters prior to coming to class.
Goal:The goal of this class is to teach the basic principles of evolutionary biology and the history of life on earth.

This website contains information for the lecture portion of the course only.
Please see HuskyCT for materials for the W portion of the course.

Lecture Instructors


Dr. Janine N. Caira (Lectures 1–12)
Office: TLS 483
Phone: 486-4060
Office hours: by arrangement

Dr. Chris Simon (Lectures 13–25)
Office: Biopharm 305D
Phone: 486-4640
Office hours: by arrangement

Note: All emails must contain "EEB2245" in the subject line to avoid being filtered out and deleted

Teaching Assistants

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Veronica Bueno Katherine Nazario
Office: TLS 478 Office: BioPharm 323A
Phone: 486-1882 Phone: 486-3947
Students with last names A–K Students with last name L–Z
office hours: by arrangement office hours: by arrangement


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EEB 2245: Each half of the course counts for 50% of your lecture grade. Your grade in the first half of the course will be based on your performance on two lecture exams (for a total of 200 points). Your grade in the second half of the course will be based on your performance on three lecture exams (180 points total) and weekly, short on-line quizzes (20 points) (for a total of 200 points). However, your grade for Exams1–4 will be dropped. Please note: because you are allowed to drop one of these grades, we will not give make-up exams.

EEB 2245W: For W students your final grade in the lecture portion of the course will be calculated as above. This grade will constitute 75% of your final course grade. The W portion of the course, as determined by your “W” instructor, will constitute the remaining 25% of your final course grade. Please note that an F in either the W or lecture portion of the course will result in an F for the entire course. Dr. Paul Lewis (TLS 162; tel: 486–2069; paul.lewis@uconn.edu) is the coordinator of the W portion of the course. Refer to HuskyCT for further information on the W portion of the course. You will be assigned your W instructor at the mandatory library session you attend for the W portion of the course. You must sign up for a library session in HuskyCT by January 19th.


Review Session Exam 1: Monday, February 6th 7:00-9:00 pm in BPB 130
Review Sessions Exam 2: Tuesday, February 28th 7:00-9:00 pm in BPB 131AND Wednesday, March 1st 7:00-9:00 pm in BPB 131

Review Sessions Exam 3: Monday April 3rd 7:00-9:00 pm in BPB 130 AND Wednesday, April 5th 7:00-9:00 pm in BPB 130

Past Exams, Study Guides & Other Documents

Pdficon small.gif Example Exam 1 EEB 2245
Pdficon small.gif Updated Study Guide Exam 1
Pdficon small.gif Systematics Terminology handout
Pdficon small.gif Tree Building Exercise
Pdficon small.gif Updated Study Guide Exam 2
Pdficon small.gif Example Exam 2 EEB 2245

Pdficon small.gif Five Most Serious Threats to the World
Pdficon small.gif Study Guide Lectures 13-14
Pdficon small.gif Study Guide Lectures 15-16 - Variation, inbreeding, drift
NEW Pdficon small.gif Enhanced Study Guide Weeks 2 and 3 (Lectures 15 - 18)

Lecture Schedule

Please read assigned chapters, as indicated below, prior to class
This schedule is subject to change. Check regularly for updates!

* Registrar’s office note: Students are required to be available for final exams during the time stated in the Registrar's Office Schedule. If you have a conflict with this time you must visit the Office of Student Services and Advocacy to discuss the possibility of rescheduling your final exam. Please note that vacations, previously purchased tickets or reservations, graduations, social events, misreading the assessment schedule and over-sleeping are not viable excuses for missing a final assessment. If you think that your situation warrants permission to reschedule, please contact the Office of Student Services and Advocacy to meet with a staff member.
Lecture Date Topic Readings
1 T Jan 17 Introduction to the Geological Time Scale; the Fossil Record Ch. 4 (pp. 77–81)
2 Th Jan 19 Life in the Precambrian; evolution of the Metazoa Ch. 5 (pp. 103–110)
3 T Jan 24 Cambrian explosion & Life in the Paleozoic Ch. 5 (pp. 111–119)
4 Th Jan 26 Life in the Mesozoic Ch. 5 (pp. 119–125)
5 T Jan 31 Life in the Cenozoic Ch. 5 (pp. 125–132)
6 Th Feb 2 Evolution of primates Ch. 4 (pp. 90–95)
7 Th Feb 9 Evolution of biodiversity & extinction - SNOW DAY Ch. 7
8 T Feb 14 Characters, homology & homoplasy Ch. 3 (pp. 51–63)
9 Th Feb 16 Systematics & reconstructing evolutionary history Ch. 2
10 T Feb 21 Evolution and development Ch. 3 (pp. 63–66) & Ch. 21
11 Th Feb 23 Biogeography & major patterns of distribution Ch. 5 (pp. 129–132) & Ch. 6
12 T Feb 28 Continental drift & Historical Biogeography Ch. 6
See HuskyCT for weekly quizzes, periodic updates that track progress & introduce late breaking topics.
13 T Mar 7 What is Evolution. Why is it useful? Pdficon small.gif Lecture 13 Notes Updated
14 Th Mar 9 Evolution vs Creationism. What is science? Refuting Creationist arguments. The Monkey Trial Ch. 1 (pp. 1–3) and Ch. 23 (pp. 646–655)Pdficon small.gif Lecture 14 Notes Updated
15 T Mar 21 Deviation from Mendelian Ratios. Sources of phenotypic variation. Variation due to the environment,phenotypic plasticity, common gardens. Epigenetic inheritance, variation in natural populations, The Hardy-Weinberg equation: Why do we care? Ch. 9 (to p. 235); Review Chapter 8 (basic genetics) on your own, especially pp. 208–209, mutation as a random process. Pdficon small.gif Lecture 15 Notes updated
Pdficon small.gifHardy-Weinberg derivation
16 Th Mar 23 Is variability rare in natural populations? Lewontin & Hubby, understanding deviations from HW ratios, effects of non-random mating, Inbreeding. Conservation biology and purging.The Erosion of Genetic Variability by inbreeding. Genetic drift. CH. 10 Pdficon small.gif Lecture 16 Notes Updated
17 T Mar 28 Consequences for conservation biology, Effective population size. Bottlenecks, founder events, gene flow models; gene flow studies. Chs. 10 & 11 Pdficon small.gif Lecture 17 notes updated
18 Th Mar 30 Geneflow x selection x drift. The interaction of ecology, climate, gene flow, bottlenecks. Northern purity/southern richness. Neutral theory. Chs. 11 Pdficon small.gif Lecture 18 notes
19 T Apr 4 Introduction to selection, directional selection and the environment. Competitive character displacement, runaway sexual selection, the importance of heritability, multiple niche polymorphisms, the speed of directional selection, deleterious dominants.Mutation and selection; fluctuating, frequency dependent, disruptive selection, balancing selection. Chs. 11 & 12
Th Apr 6 EXAM #3 (COVERS LECTURES 13–18)
20 T Apr 11 Introduction to geographic variation. Character variation, parallel and perpendicular clines, geographic races of rat snakes and cicadas. Causes for clines. Human variation and the concept of Race. Ring species. Factors that inhibit gene flow- pre-mating isolation: Mating colors & dances, aggressive mimicry. Mating songs. Chs. 9 (again), 17 & 18.
21 Th Apr 13 Post-mating and pre-zygotic: lock & key vs sexual selection and cryptic female choice, sperm-egg contact, natural selection at the molecular level. Post-mating and post-zygotic reproductive isolation, sterile hybrids. Post-mating and post-zygotic reproductive isolation (cont'd.), parasitic sterility, polyploids. Ch. 17
22 T Apr 18 Speciation: The origin of biodiversity. Species concepts: typological, biological, phylogenetic, cohesion. Practical considerations: large biodiversity studies versus detailed studies of specific genera. Chs. 17 & 18
23 Th Apr 20 Speciation Mechanisms: categories of speciation mechanisms. Butlin’s 2008 Table of speciation events over time. Allopatric, peripheral isolates, founder event speciation, reproductive character displacement, reinforcement. Periodical cicada case study. Allochronic speciation, contact zones, reproductive character displacement. Chs. 17, 18 & 19 pp. 531–533.
24 T Apr 25 Speciation Mechanisms (cont.): Allochronic speciation, contact zones, reproductive character displacement (cont'd). Parapatric speciation, speciation with gene flow, North American chipmunk examples, sympatric speciation; host races. Translocations, polyploidy, polyphyletic species of Hyla.
25 Th apr 27 Parallel speciation. Chromosomal speciation with hybridization; co-adapted allele complexes. Sunflowers. Read: Chs. 17, 18 & 19 pp. 531–533.
Mon May 1st
8am -10am
TLS 154
Final Exam Week EXAM #4 (COVERS LECTURES 20–25) & EXAM #5* (COVERS LECTURES 13–25)