Spring 2006 Syllabus
Biology 650, Topics in Evolution
A seminar covering various topics in marine biology, fisheries and aquaculture, marine biomedical science, and coastal ecology.

R. T. Dillon
Science Center Room 200A
953-8087, DillonR@cofc.edu

1. Class meetings are held Tuesdays at 5 - 7:00 PM in Grice Room 202.  I will be disappointed if you are not present.

2. Theoretical Population Genetics.  Science is the construction of predictive models about the natural world.  In few other disciplines are those models as formal as in evolutionary biology.  We will devote at least part of each class meeting to a review of foundational population genetic theory.  You won’t want to miss this!

A series of problem sets in population genetics will be distributed as homework.  Please do not collaborate in solving these problem sets.  You will receive one grade for each homework set assigned.

3.  Literature Review.  We will also survey the published literature to see how evolutionary theory can be applied to populations of marine organisms.  Our first reading list focuses on marine mussels (genus Mytilus).  Please read all the papers critically.  Each student will be assigned one paper to present for the class, reviewing biological background and relevant research previously published, as well as the methods, results, and conclusions of the primary work.  The class will then discuss each paper as a group.  Future reading lists will be developed with student input.

I will grade each student on the quality of his or her presentation.  There will also be a grade for class participation.  

4.  Darwin Week Report.  A series of lectures and other events has been scheduled in the late afternoon hours February 12 - 16, in observance of the 197th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin.  Please attend at least one of these events and write a brief report outlining the theme or subject of the event and its impact on your understanding of evolutionary science and/or related social issues.

5. Course Grade.  Your overall final grade will be the simple average of your grades on each problem set, each paper presented, class participation, and the Darwin Week report.  I can’t predict the exact number of grades at this point.  I would guess about four or five problem sets, three or four papers, one class participation and one Darwin Week, so about ten grades total for the semester.