Molecular Ecology and Evolution

Module code: NT4006

The study of ecology and evolution is being revolutionised by the application of modern molecular genetic techniques such as genome sequencing using next-generation sequencing, and rapid genotyping methods (e.g. microsatellites and single nucleotide polymorphisms). These methods have become a powerful means to study biodiversity and to aid the conservation and management of populations. This means understanding molecular genetic techniques is essential for biologists interested in pursuing careers in these areas as well as those interested in evolutionary biology.

This module introduces modern molecular techniques of assessing genetic variation and explains how they can be used to investigate geographical patterns of genetic variation, genome evolution and behavioural ecology. The module also emphasises how to use molecular genetic analyses to answer questions relating to conservation and the environment. The emphasis is very much on a how-to approach embedded within a solid theoretical foundation.

Topics covered

  • Molecular markers and their properties
  • Use of molecular markers in understanding behaviour, ecology and evolution
  • Application of molecular markers to conservation and environmental issues
  • Application of molecular markers in other disciplines

Learning

  • 20 hours of lectures
  • 4 hours of seminars
  • 9 hours of tutorials 
  • 12 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 105 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Exam, 2 hours (60%)
  • Coursework (20%)
  • Practical report (10%)
  • Student presented seminar (10%)