ECOL 204

Molecular Ecology and Evolution

Course overview

An examination of the principles and methodologies of genetics and evolutionary biology, and their relationship to ecology.

Course information

Prerequisites and Restrictions You must satisfy the following requirement(s):
  • a minimum of 60 credit point(s) from the course(s) specified below
  • a minimum of 45 credit point(s) from the course(s) specified below
  • any level 100 course
  • any level 200 course
  • any level 300 course
  • a minimum of 15 credit point(s) from the course(s) specified below
  • Introduction to Earth and Ecological Sciences , PHSC-107
  • a minimum of 75 credit point(s) from the course(s) specified below
  • any level 100 course
  • any level 200 course
  • any level 300 course


  • restriction Evolutionary Biology, BIOS-112
  • restriction Population Biology, BIOS-201
  • restriction Behavioural and Molecular Ecology, ECOL-311

Credits 15
Domestic fees $943.00

Please note: This course can’t be fully completed online as you will need to be on campus to complete some activities.

What you will learn

After successfully completing this course, you’ll be able to:

  1. Understand and explain important scientific words and phrases used in molecular ecology and evolution.
  2. Outline the major themes in the history of molecular ecology and evolution.
  3. Describe the forces that influence the genetic structure of natural populations.
  4. Explain the causes and consequences of genetic diversity and evolutionary change.
  5. Describe how molecular data can be used to make inferences about ecology and evolution.
  6. Explain how these inferences are used to guide and inform conservation and wildlife management.
  7. Express your ideas about molecular ecology and evolution using appropriate scientific terminology, and be able to communicate these ideas effectively through oral and poster presentations.
  8. Be able to accurately extract relevant information from primary research literature.
  9. Analyse molecular and genetic data qualitatively and quantitatively, and solve problems in genetic analysis.
  10. Apply appropriate visualisation and statistical techniques to problems in molecular ecology and evolution.
  11. Construct a phylogenetic tree from comparative data using appropriate software.
  12. Design appropriate population management strategies using the basic principles of genetics and evolution.
  13. Link, integrate and begin to synthesise ideas across different levels of biological organisation.
  14. Connect your learning in this course to the content of other courses in your degree, and to topical issues in the news and public discourse.
  15. Plan an ecological field study and present a study proposal in written form.
  16. Articulate the important of evolution in biology in the context of the phrase “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”.
  17. Defend the need for empirical evidence and scientific literacy in making important decisions about conservation and wildlife management, especially relating to genetic diversity and evolutionary history.
  18. Demonstrate that you recognise the importance of ethical behaviour when conducting research in molecular ecology and evolution, and in how you apply the findings to conservation and wildlife management.

Course examiners

Adrian Paterson

Associate Professor Adrian Paterson

Head of Department

Department of Pest Management and Conservation