BIOB 420 sections 1 & 2, Evolution, Spring Semester 2015 (the link to this website is posted in D2L)

Instructors. Matt Lavin (1st half of the Spring Semester), 308 Plant Bioscience Building, email (preferred form of communication). Ryan Thum (2nd half of the Spring Semester), 313 Plant Bioscience Building, email (preferred form of communication).

Lecture section 01: 105 Reid Hall on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9:00-9:50AM

Lecture section 02: 304 Lewis Hall on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 1:10-2:00 PM

Office Hours (Lavin). Mondays 10 AM - 12:30 PM in 339 Plant Bioscience Building or by appointment.

Office Hours (Thum). Mondays 10 AM - 12:30 PM in 339 Plant Bioscience Building or by appointment.

Text: Evolutionary Analysis, 5th edition, J.C. Herron and S. Freeman

Learning outcomes. Students will be able to: 1) describe the fundamental aspects of a scientific study of natural selection; 2) use basic methods of inferring the history of biological evolution, including the reconstruction phylogenetic relationships from genetic and morphological data using distance and cladistics methods on data sets that are simplified for ease of hand-calculation; 3) using these methods, answer questions that are related to population management, forensics, epidemiology, and adaptation; 4) analyze allele frequency data on population samples in order to study recent historical events; 5) analyze nucleotide sequence, DNA structural, and morphological data on individual samples in order to study older historical events; 6) describe why merely accepting the truth of evolutionary theory is not so much the issue as is valuing the principles of reasoning and educated discourse that now make belief in evolution obligatory (quoting Sam Harris). This course will not focus on biochemical theories that address the ultimate origins of life. If interested, a good starting point includes chapters 17 and 18 in Evolutionary Analysis.

Schedule of lectures

14 January. (Matt Lavin begins lecturing)

16 January.

19 January. Martin Luther King Day, no class

21 January.

23 January.

26 January.

28 January.

30 January.

2 February.

4 February.

6 February. Exam #1

9 February.

11 February.

13 February.

16 February. Presidents Day, no class

18 February.

20 February.

23 February.

25 February.

27 February.

2 March.

4 March.

6 March. Exam #2

10-14 March. Spring Break

16 March. (Ryan Thum begins lecturing)

18 March.

20 March.

23 March.

25 March.

27 March.

30 March.

1 April.

3 April. University Day, no class

6 April.

8 April.

10 April. Exam #3

13 April.

15 April.

17 April.

20 April.

22 April.

24 April.

27 April.

29 April.

1 May.

4 May, Monday. Exam #4, section 1, 8:00-9:50 AM, 105 Reid Hall

8 May, Friday. Exam #4, section 2, 8:00-9:50 AM, 304 Lewis Hall

GRADES are derived from four exam scores, each contributing 25% to your final score.

Web sites from which examples, data, and tools for analysis are utilized:

Sponsoring MSU Department. Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology