APS352 Phylogenetic Approaches in Evolution







Pre/Co Requisites

APS240 Data Analysis, APS274 The Molecular Revolution in Biology

Teaching Staff

Dr Pascal-Antoine Christin, Dr Gavin Thomas


Dr Pascal-Antoine Christin


Phylogenetic analyses have become a major component of many current studies. This course will introduce students to how phylogenetic approaches can be used to solve topical problems in evolutionary biology and ecology. Through lectures and independent reading, students will learn (i) the methods available to infer phylogenetic trees, (ii) to use phylogenetic tools to study gene and genome evolution, (iii) to apply phylogenetic approaches to study macro-evolutionary processes, including species diversification, adaptation, and ecology, and (iv) to critically evaluate and discuss these different approaches. Computer-based practicals will provide the students with a range of technical skills, which will be applied to address a topical problem in evolutionary biology, using real data.


By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. infer and interpret phylogenetic trees;
  2. conduct and interprest a range of comparative analyses;
  3. understand the power and limitations of phylogeny-based approaches;
  4. mine the literature for relevant information and synthesize it, through a scientifically accurate discussion of their individual work.

Delivery Method: Lectures and Computer Sessions

Student Contact Hours: 18

Assessment Method: Written report, including a description of the research conducted during the course and a review of the literature.

Feedback: Students can also receive feedback on performance in examinations by arranging a meeting with their personal tutor at the start of the following Semester.

For more information in APS352, please go to MOLE.