Evolution and Biodiversity

Module summary

Module code: OBIO1094
Level: 4
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Module Coordinator(s): Gabriel Fernandez-Grandon



Evolutionary theory underpins modern biological understanding, and provides the mechanism for classifying the natural world. This course will introduce students to evolutionary theory and practice, and the resulting range of biodiversity.

The course aims to:
• Provide an understanding of the principles of evolution and how knowledge of these has changed over time;
• Introduce students to general taxonomy and its relationship with evolutionary processes;
• Provide an overview of the nature of the living world based on modern taxonomic principles;
• Show the interactions between environments and evolutionary processes.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Describe the basic principles underpinning evolutionary processes;
2. Identify and describe the key characteristics of selected organism groups;
3. Discuss the relationship between environmental changes and evolutionary processes;
4. Speculate about the consequences of future environmental change on evolutionary processes.
5. Use Library and internet sources effectively to develop independent study and research skills.

Indicative content

• The appearance of life on Earth, and its subsequent development;
• The development of the theories of evolution and biogeography;
• The history of organism classification and development of modern taxonomy;
• The key characteristics of major organism groups;
• The relationship between ecology and evolution;
• Changes in biodiversity throughout the history of life and the drivers of these.

Teaching and learning activity

Learning will be facilitated through teaching in the form of guided reading and lectures, plus student directed learning.

Contact Hours
lectures 36
practical sessions

Private Study 76

Assignments: course work and other forms of assessment
coursework 36
laboratory work
examinations 2


Grading Mode - Numeric
Weighting % 50%
Pass Mark 40%
Word Length 2000 words
Outline Details: An essay on a topical issue in the field of evolution or biodiversity studies (1, 3, 4, 5).

Weighting % 50%
Pass Mark 40%
Outline Details: 2 hour exam to test understanding of the course content (1 ,2, 3, 4,)