Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton Second semester 2012 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Beth McGraw


Biodiversity ultimately results from evolutionary processes. This unit will take an evolutionary and ecological genetics approach to understanding evolution. It will describe how the four evolutionary forces, mutation, random genetic drift, natural selection and gene flow act within and between populations to cause evolutionary change. It will focus on evolutionary processes, especially adaptation by natural selection, in an ecological context to explain patterns of biodiversity in nature. It will cover quantitative genetic and genomic approaches to understanding the genetic basis of evolutionary change. This unit will also illustrate how evolutionary and ecological genetics have direct contributions to make to biodiversity management and conservation.


On completion of this unit, students will:

  1. be able to describe how evolutionary processes shape patterns of biodiversity;
  2. be able to describe genetic diversity - what it is and how to measure it, and explain how the different types of genetic diversity influence evolutionary processes;
  3. understand quantitative and genomic approaches to measuring genetic variation and studying evolution both in model systems and in natural populations;
  4. be able to illustrate how evolution by natural selection can be detected;
  5. have developed skills in the collection, analysis and interpretation of experimental data;
  6. have developed skills in the presentation of scientific information and ideas;
  7. be able to illustrate how evolution and genetic diversity are central to successful biodiversity conservation and management.


Written reports, mini-quizzes, problem solving exercises: 40%
Final examination (3 Hours): 60%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Beth McGraw

Contact hours

Two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour lecture/tutorial session per week for 12 weeks. One 3-hour practical session per week for 8-9 weeks.


One of GEN2041, BIO2050 or BMS2042; plus another 6 points from any level two BIO or GEN units