Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 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 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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

FacultyFaculty of Science
Organisational UnitSchool of Biological Sciences
OfferedClayton Second semester 2015 (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 be able to:

  1. Describe how evolutionary processes shape patterns of biodiversity;

  1. Define genetic diversity, explain how to measure it, and explain how the different types of genetic diversity influence evolutionary processes;

  1. Explain quantitative and genomic approaches to measuring genetic variation and studying evolution both in model systems and in natural populations;

  1. Illustrate how evolution by natural selection can be detected, and how evolution and genetic diversity are central to successful biodiversity conservation and management;

  1. Demonstrate high-level skills in data collection, analysis and interpretation, and data presentation, and apply these in the preparation and presentation of scientific reports in written form and oral presentations;

  1. Critically evaluate and summarise new discoveries from the scientific literature in evolutionary and ecological genetics.


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

Workload requirements

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.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study