This course emphasizes and explores evolutionary processes and the patterns that they produce at and above the species level. We'll begin with a reprise of microevolution and the distinction between it and macroevolution (if indeed such demarcation can be sharply drawn and is useful). This is followed by detailed considerations of theoretical underpinnings and empirical examinations of models of speciation (contrasting different mechanisms), adaptive radiation, mechanisms and rates of extinction, evo/devo cladogenesis and origins of higher-order taxa and reconstructions of evolutionary history of focal groups of species. Class lectures (2 - 50 min. sessions weekly) may be supplemented by guests presenting case studies based on their latest research. In the laboratory, lectures are complemented by student-led tutorials on recent articles from top-line scientific journals like Science, Nature, and Evolution, and by a group research project designed to expose students to recent advances in phylogenetic inference.

NOTE: This is the web site from 2012. I will be updating the web site over the next few weeks.

Time slots for 2012:

Lectures - Wednesday 11:30-12:20 & Thursday 13:30-14:20 Bioscience Room 1120

Tutorial/Laboratories - Section 002: Tuesday 11:30-14:30, Bioscience 2305 & Section 003: Wednesday 8:30-11:30, Location: Bioscience 2305. Please note that we may seek alternate venues for these.

Please attend labs in Week 1.


There is no comprehensive textbook on both speciation and macroevolution (and I know of no book that adequately covers both evolution above the species level and speciation itself). This presents a conundrum as I know many students prefer having a text to deepen their undertsanding of concepts covered in class. Regardless, we require no text (saving you loads of $$$) and use review articles and papers from the primary literature to underpin the lectures and labs in this course. There are many excellent books that you may wish to purchase and that cover some of what we will discuss in Biology 440 some of which I list here:

Course grading scheme

Individual tutorial 25%
Phylogentics group exercise 25% (5% for verbal proposal, 20% for presentation)
Term paper 40%  (10% for outline, 30% for paper) Paper Due: Friday Nov. 30th at 4:00 pm
Participation 10% (contributing to discussions, asking questions, appearing in labs)

This course taught by:

Instructor: Steve Lougheed. Room 4428 Bioscience Complex Tel: x. 36128 email:
TA for both lab sections: Kat Stewart. Room 4430 Bioscience Complex Tel: x. 75051 email:

Biology DSC: Biology DSC Website | Here |