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SLE372 - Evolutionary Ecology

Unit details

Year2017 unit information
Enrolment modes:Trimester 1: Waurn Ponds (Geelong)
Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit chair:

John Endler


SLE103 and SLE204, and one of SLE111 or SLE254, plus any two level 2 or level 3 SLE-coded units



Incompatible with:


Contact hours:

3 x 1 hour class per week. The first two hour classes are lectures and the third class is a discussion and interactive session with computer models of evolutionary ecology.


This unit is designed to teach the fundamentals of evolution with a strong emphasis on the ecological and functional causes of evolution.   In a time of changing environments it is very important to understand the functional links between ecology and evolutionary processes because that helps us to predict responses to changing ecology and has spinoffs in other fields such as drug and pesticide resistance.  The approach will be a mixture of important facts, concepts, and both mathematical and computer models.   

Subjects will include:

  • biodiversity
  • phylogenetics as a way of both organizing and understanding biodiversity the basic mechanisms of evolution (natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow)
  • the basic logic behind evolution and evolutionary inference
  • the evidence for evolution
  • ecological causes of natural selection and evolutionary change
  • ecological and other causes of evolutionary divergence
  • effects of habitat diversity and habitat changes on evolution
  • constraints on evolution, speciation
  • effects of evolution on ecology
  • making and testing evolutionary hypotheses


Examination 35%, in-class test 30%, independent field research project 35%

Unit Fee Information

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