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BSC 2011 Learning Objectives, Unit 1: Evolution

Chapter 18: Origin and history of life

1. Understand how eukaryotic cells evolved from prokaryotic cells

2. Explain the biases of the fossil record

3. Understand what we know the most and least about concerning the various stages of the origin of life

4. Know the age of the earth, and within order of magnitude, approximate time of appearance of:

prokaryotes, eukaryotes, multicellular eukaryotes, animals, land plants, humans

5. Understand that the earth’s environment has changed over its history, and how major environmental changes have affected living organisms

6. Demonstrate how to estimate the age of fossils

7. Recall that the first living cells evolved in oceans

Chapter 19: Introduction to evolution and population genetics

1. Understand the mechanism of natural selection

2. Understand Darwin's contribution to the theory of evolution

3. Explain 5 lines of evidence that support the theory of evolution

4. Understand the relationship between mutations and the other 4 processes that change allele frequencies

5. Understand that natural selection is not goal-oriented

6. Understand that variation in populations is common and is necessary for natural selection

7. Differentiate the 4 patterns of natural selection and the mechanisms that lead to them

8. Use the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium to answer questions about allele frequency, genotype frequency, and evolution in a population

9. Define sexual selection and distinguish between intra- and intersexual selection

10. Understand that genetic drift has a greater effect in small populations, and recognize particular situations in which it occurs

11. Explain how neutral mutations can spread through populations

12. Define inbreeding and explain how it can be detrimental to populations

Chapter 20: Origin of species and macroevolution

1. Understand the various definitions of species and the limitations of each

2. Understand that reproductive isolation is necessary for divergence in populations

3. Explain the eight mechanisms of reproductive isolation

4. Explain common ways in which sympatric speciation can occur

5. Recognize that allopatric speciation is the most common way in which new species arise

6. Describe how the spatial expression of genes affects pattern formation

7. Understand how early development of an organism helps understand evolutionary relationships

Chapter 21: Taxonomy and systematics

1. Be able to correctly interpret phylogenetic trees, and draw one based on species characteristics or knowledge of evolutionary relationships

2. Recognize that phylogenetic trees are based on current information and can be revised

3. Recognize monophyletic, paraphyletic and polyphyletic groups and understand why monophyletic groups are preferred in taxonomy

4. Use the principle of parsimony to choose among phylogenetic trees

5. Understand how molecular clocks can be used to estimate time since divergence between species

6. Understand how horizontal gene transfer and convergent evolution can complicate the drawing of phylogenetic trees

7. Describe the binomial nomenclature system and the hierarchy of taxonomic grouping