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Course, academic year 2019/2020
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Macroevolution and diversity - MB162P41
Title in English: Macroevolution and diversity
Czech title: Macroevoluce a diversita
Guaranteed by: Department of Ecology (31-162)
Faculty: Faculty of Science
Actual: from 2019
Semester: summer
E-Credits: 3
Examination process: summer s.:
Hours per week, examination: summer s.:2/0 Ex [hours/week]
Capacity: unlimited
Min. number of students: unlimited
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Guarantor: doc. Mgr. Vladimír Remeš, Ph.D.
Opinion survey results   Examination dates   Schedule   
Annotation -
Last update: RNDr. Veronika Sacherová, Ph.D. (28.05.2019)
This course will be focused on the origins and evolution of biological diversity on long temporal scales and at the
level of phylogenetic lineages. We will pay attention to both species diversity and the diversity of traits and
strategies of organisms (disparity). We will talk about major trends in the evolution of life on Earth and the
underlying processes that can be inferred from the study of genes, phylogenetic trees, and paleontological record.
Students will also learn about modern approaches to the analysis of diversity and how to ask interesting
You will have to choose a paper (or a series of related papers) on a macroevolutionary topic and present its
contents to all of us at the end of semestr (we will discuss and evaluate the presented study).
This course assumes that you know only basic undergraduate biology and thus is convenient for students
studying diverse subjects (zoology, botany, ecology, evolutionary biology etc.).
Literature -
Last update: doc. Mgr. Vladimír Remeš, Ph.D. (30.09.2019)

These two books provide good overview of the material covered in this course:
Bromham, Cardillo (2019) Origins of Biodiversity. Oxford UP
Boenigk et al. (2015) Biodiversity and Earth History. Springer

This book is a modern overview of evolutionary biology, including macroevolution:
Losos et al. (eds, 2017) The Princeton Guide to Evolution. Princeton UP

Following books can be recommended as supplementary reading:
Baum, Smith (2012) Tree Thinking: An Introduction to Phylogenetic Biology. WH Freeman
Lane (2010) Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution. WW Norton and Co.
Maynard Smith, Szathmáry (1995) The Major Transitions in Evolution. Oxford UP
Shubin (2009) Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body. Vintage
Simpson (1944) Tempo and Mode in Evolution. Columbia UP reprint from 1984 (old but worth reading)
Zimmer, Emlen (2016) Evolution: Making Sense of Life. Roberts and Co. (selected chapters, mainly no. 3, 4, 13-15, 17)

Other relevant literature (books and book chapters) can be recommended to those interested in particular topics.

Requirements to the exam -
Last update: RNDr. Veronika Sacherová, Ph.D. (28.05.2019)

Written and oral examination; presentation of the analysis of a scientific paper

Syllabus -
Last update: doc. Mgr. Vladimír Remeš, Ph.D. (30.09.2019)

In this course, following topics will be presented (not necessarily in this particular order):

1) Introduction to macroevolution; major transitions

2) Paleobiology: organisms and their environment in the paleontological record
3) Evo-devo: deep homologies, genes, and body shapes
4) Comparative biology: phylogenetic trees and trait evolution

5) Origin and evolution of major innovations in the history of Life
6) Speciation, species, and species selection
7) History of phylogenetic lineages; geography of evolution and diversity
8) Diversification, extinctions, and biotic turnover
9) Evolutionary radiations, disparity, and convergence

We will also cover historical and theoretical aspects of these topics during lectures.

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