Molecular Ecology & Evolution
Molecular Ecology and Evolution 2023-24
School Of Natural Sciences
Module - Semester 1
In the past few decades, molecular genetics has become one of the fastest growing fields in the life sciences. The application of molecular methods has spread to virtually all fields of modern biology, including ecology, conservation, breeding and natural resource management, leading to the establishment of Molecular Ecology. With the expansion of the application of molecular tools, it has become crucial that all biologists have a basic understanding of genetics and molecular biology. This includes the application of molecular tools to the detection of kin and population structure, the ability of populations to adapt to environmental change, conservation genetics and the assessment of the biodiversity of whole communities. The course takes advantage of the considerable research activity and expertise in molecular ecology and evolution within the School of Biological Sciences at Bangor. The focus will be on how recent advances in primarily DNA-based tools can be used at the population, species and community levels to explore the dynamics of biodiversity in a changing world, including a consideration of the range of molecular tools available, the analysis of population structure and adaptation in the wild, genomic approaches to the analysis of species and community diversity, aspects of behavioural ecology, conservation genetics and the management of exploited species. Although the course requires grounding in basic principles of genetics and evolutionary biology, the course aims to explain how molecular tools can assist in our understanding of whole-organism biology (e.g. behaviour, life history, dispersal), and the strategies that are available for conservation and management of taxa in the wild.
- Apply genetic and demographic concepts using team skills to hypothesis testing in the molecular ecology of organisms.
- Demonstrate understanding of how different molecular genetic tools can be applied to tackle ecological and evolutionary questions at different biological levels (e.g. individual, population, species and community levels)
- Demonstrate understanding of the range of ecological and evolutionary questions that can be tackled using molecular genetic markers, from parentage analysis, analysis of population and community structure, through to behavioural ecology and conservation genetics
- Develop cogent and critical arguments based on the course material.
- Undertake direct analysis of molecular genetic data within the context of principles in molecular ecology
- Working as a team, apply genetic and demographic concepts to address problems in molecular ecology.