Origins and Classification of Life
This course takes a broad view of the ways biological diversity can be described and classified, and its origins understood. Systematics is the scientific discipline that encompasses the description, identification, nomenclature, and classification of organisms (Taxonomy) and the reconstruction of their macro-evolutionary history (Phylogenetics). Knowing the identity and evolutionary relationships of organisms is crucial to any biological study, but functional classifications are also important. This course is an introduction to the methodology and principles of systematics across all forms of biodiversity (bacteria, plants, fungi, protists, and animals), from morphological to next-generation DNA-based approaches and including functional methods.