BIOL215-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

Origins and Classification of Life

15 points
16 Jul 2018 - 18 Nov 2018

Description

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.

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.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, students are expected to be able to:

  • Explain the relevance to biological sciences and society of 1) discovering and documenting biodiversity, 2) taxonomic classifications, and 3) knowledge about evolutionary history and relationships (assessment tasks: quizzes, final exam)
  • Understand key methods and principles of biological classification and nomenclature (assessment tasks: quizzes, final exam)
  • Collect, document, and describe biological specimens (assessment tasks: lab report, project presentation)
  • Be familiar with a wide range of morphological and genetic taxonomic identification tools (assessment tasks: quizzes, lab report, project presentation, final exam)
  • Generate DNA sequence data from soil, plant, and fungal specimens (assessment tasks: lab report)
  • Perform phylogenetic analyses using DNA sequence data (assessment tasks: lab report, project presentation)
  • Use a metabarcoding approach to study communities (assessment tasks: quizzes, lab report, project presentation, final exam)

    Skills register
    The following skills are developed in this course:
  • Identification skills used for plants, fungi, and bacteria. Essential in organismal biology, microbiology, ecology, conservation, and biosecurity.
  • Work safely in a molecular lab and comply with PC2 containment regulations. Important for careers that include lab work.
  • Molecular genetic laboratory skills. Important for careers that include lab work.
  • Interpretation of phylogenetic trees and reconstructing evolutionary relationships. Important in fields of evolutionary biology such as genetics, bioinformatics, systematics, molecular ecology, microbiology.
  • Use of biological classifications and scientific names. Essential skill in any field in biology and conservation.
  • Independent and self-motivated learning. A life-skill that is important in any career.
  • Finding, understanding, and using information in literature and on the internet. These are very general skills that are essential in many careers.
  • Written and oral communication. Many employers require employees to have good communication skills.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.

Pre-requisites

BIOL113, or with the approval of the Head of School. RP: BIOL112

Recommended Preparation

Timetable 2018

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 09:00 - 10:00 Jack Erskine 443 16 Jul - 18 Nov
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 09:00 - 10:00 F3 Lecture Theatre 16 Jul - 18 Nov
Computer Lab A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 13:00 - 16:00 Jack Erskine 010 Computer Lab 10 Sep - 7 Oct
Lab A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 13:00 - 16:00 Ernest Rutherford 350 Biology Project Space (1/8-8/8)
Putaiao Koiora 463 (15/8)
30 Jul - 19 Aug
Lab B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 13:00 - 16:00 Putaiao Koiora 463 20 Aug - 26 Aug
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 13:00 - 16:00 E13 (25/7)
Ernest Rutherford 465 (10/10-17/10)
23 Jul - 29 Jul
8 Oct - 21 Oct

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Pieter Pelser

Lecturers

Ian Dickie and Matthew Stott

Lab Coordinators

Thomas Evans and Reijel Gardiner

Assessment

Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Final Exam 40%
Lab report 1 15%
Lab report 2 15%
Project presentation 10%
Learn quizzes 20%

Course links

Course Outline

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $865.00

International fee $3,788.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see School of Biological Sciences.

All BIOL215 Occurrences

  • BIOL215-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018