Syllabus for Evolutionary Patterns

Evolutionära mönster

A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 15 credits
  • Course code: 1BG306
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Biology A1F
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2007-03-15
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2021-12-14
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: Autumn 2022
  • Entry requirements:

    150 credits including (1) 60 credits in biology and 30 credits in chemistry or earth science, or (2) 90 credits in biology. Evolutionary Processes. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

  • Responsible department: Biology Education Centre

Learning outcomes

The course focuses on how the evolutionary processes and the evolutionary history is expressed in the different patterns observed in and among organisms, how these patterns can be detected and analysed, and conclusions drawn about their causes.

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • explain the principles of, and apply methods for, detection and reconstruction of evolutionary patterns
  • discuss, and relate evolutionary patterns at different hierarchical levels to evolutionary processes
  • apply hypotheses about evolutionary patterns to explain, discuss and analyse evolutionary causalities
  • discuss and communicate principles, problems and research findings in issues that touch evolutionary patterns
  • relate and apply chosen (combinations of) evolutionary biological techniques and methods.


The course comprises studies of evolutionary patterns manifested at different hierarchical levels. The course comprises the following parts

  • Formalising observed traits; homology, homoplasy, complex systems, characters and character coding
  • Species and other taxa; species and the species concept - ontology and epistemology, species delineation, classification, and information content
  • Interpretation and inferences of phylogenetic trees; parsimony, probabilistic methods, substitution models
  • Application of phylogenetic trees; character evolution, biogeography, comparative models
  • Gene phylogenies in genomes and populations; coalescence, reticulation, duplication, incongruences with species phylogenies
  • Temporal patterns; fossils and paleontological models, stratigraphy, diversification and extinctions, dating of phylogenies

A seminar series elucidating evolutionary biology and evolutionary biological methods and applications.


Lectures, laboratory practicals, seminars and literature assignments . Participation in lab practicals, is compulsory.


Modules: Theory 9 credits; Laboratory session 6 credits. .

The theory part comprises a written examination and a seminar series that requires active participation and is followed up in discussion form. The laboratory sessions require active participation and are presented orally and in writing.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2022

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Baum, David A.; Smith, Stacey D. Tree thinking : an introduction to phylogenetic biology

    Greenwood Village, Colo.: Roberts, c2013

    Find in the library

Last modified: 2022-04-26