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BS2470 - Evolution

Credit points: 3
Year: 2019
Student Contribution Band: Band 2
Administered by: College of Science and Engineering

Evolution is important for every field of biology, from marine and terrestrial biology and ecology through to conservation, aquaculture, molecular genetics, and even human health. How did evolution result in the diversity of life on earth today? Why does this species look and behave as it does? How do all these species live together in a community? Will this species be able to adapt to a changing environment? How do I improve my crops and farming stock? Why did these antibiotics not work? The evolutionary perspective provides answers to a myriad of questions across multiple disciplines. Indeed, as a famous biologist once said, "nothing makes sense in biology except in the light of evolution". This subject will take the learner on a journey from a broad perspective starting with the history of life on earth, the Tree of Life, and the evolution of biodiversity; through to how species evolve as a result of natural and artificial selection; and all the way down to the underlying genetic basis for why organisms look and behave the way they do.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss how complex organisms result from the basic genetic code; Describe the applications of genetic techniques to ecology and evolution;
  • Define the basis and methods for studying genetic diversity at different hierarchical levels (from genes to species);
  • Identify the ways in which structures and functions of living things are determined by genetic factors and interact with their environment;
  • Demonstrate proficiency in observation and evaluation of methods of data collection and analysis;
  • Demonstrate reliable problem-solving and scientific decision-making, and development of skills in preparing and presenting written technical reports.
Students enrolling in this subject should have completed 12 credit points of level 1 science subjects, have an understanding of the fundamentals of biology, inheritance and the principles of evolution (BZ1001/BS1001 or equivalent).
Prerequisites: BZ1001 OR BS1001 OR BZ1005
AG2005 BZ2820 BZ5420 BZ5820 BZ2420


Townsville, Study Period 1, Internal
Census Date 28-Mar-2019
Coordinator: Dr Lynne Van Herwerden
Lecturers: Professor Kyall Zenger, Dr Megan Higgie, Assoc. Professor David Bourne, Professor Jan Strugnell, Dr Lynne Van Herwerden.
Workload expectations:

The student workload for this 3 credit point subject is approximately 130 hours.

  • 26 hours lectures
  • 2 hours tutorials
  • 16 hours practicals
  • assessment and self-directed study
Assessment: end of semester exam (40%); tutorials, practical reports, mid-term exam, written assignments and on-course tests (60%).

Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.