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Evolutionary Biology




Admissions requirements

A sufficient background knowledge of Biology is required, demonstrated by having taken Biology in high school, or successful completion of the LUC Biology 100-level course.


Evolution is the change in heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. It is the foundation of biology. Evolutionary change is generated by variation, caused by processes such as mutation and gene mixing, in combination with selection due to differences in survival and reproductive success. These processes underlie speciation, changes within species, extinction, and the generation of biodiversity at every level of biological organisation. Contrary to original beliefs, evolutionary changes can occur at rather short time scales.

Understanding evolutionary processes is crucial for understanding important issues related to global challenges, such as the development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, changes in pathogen virulence and adaptations to new host species, extinction due to habitat fragmentation, and genetic adaption of organisms to pollutants.

This course will give an introduction to evolutionary biology, and discuss the implications of evolutionary processes for human behaviour, health, and interactions with our biological environment.

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  • Discuss key concepts in evolutionary biology and apply them to issues in the field of GPH and EES, including resistance of diseases, and genetic adaption to pollution

  • Examine scientific literature in the field of evolutionary biology

After successful completion of this course students should know and understand:

  • Basic principles of evolution, such as: the evolutionary synthesis, the Tree of Life ,and main mechanisms of genetic inheritance and change.

  • The relevance of these principles in the context of global challenges, such as
    the origin and evolution of new diseases and human impacts on biodiversity.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, group presentations, group assignments, class discussions.


Class participation: 10%
Midterm exam (week 5): 30%
Group assignment reports (weeks 2 to 7): 30%
Final exam (Reading week): 30%


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Evolution – 4th international edition, 2018
Douglas Futuyma and Mark Kirkpatrick
Oxford University Press, New York
ISBN 9781605357409


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Patsy Haccou