Adaptation and Diversity

Module code: BS1070

Module co-ordinator: Dr Eamonn Mallon

This module will introduce you to to the vast diversity of plants and animals on Earth. To fully appreciate this diversity, we must understand two basic processes of biology: how plants and animals develop from their single cell state through development; and how life has evolved from its simplest stages to the myriad of diverse forms alive today. We will explore the physiological and behaviour adaptations that organisms have evolved to survive, and also discuss plants and animals as part of their ecosystems.

Topics covered

  • Animal and plant development
  • Phylogeny and the tree of life
  • Animal and plant origins and diversity
  • Darwinism and the origin of species
  • Ecosystems
  • Population and community ecology
  • Animal behavioural adaptations to the environment
  • Plant physiological adaptations to the environment


  • 30 one-hour lectures
  • 9 three-hour practicals
  • 3 one-hour tutorials


  • Exam (70%)
  • Short scientific paper, 1,500 words (30%) - discussing class lab results