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Evolutionary Animal Ecology BIOR81

15 credits

The course is given the second period of the autumn semester, and the language of instruction is English.

The central topic of the course is evolutionary theory and its ecological applications. We will focus on processes at both gene- and individual level, with an emphasis on animals.

A person showing up a small frog. Photo.

The course is divided into different parts based on subject content. Evolutionary ecology. We start with the basics of Darwin's theory of evolution. Thereafter, we discuss central concepts such as natural and sexual selection, fitness, proximate and ultimate explanations, and speciation. Important general analytical methods to study evolutionary processes are also included, e.g. quantitative genetics, optimality- and game theory as well as comparative and allometric methods.

Ecophysiology and migration. This section highlights the importance of organism's physiological and morphological adaptations and limitations, both at ecological and evolutionary time scales. Energy metabolism, migration, locomotion, orientation and navigation, as well as morphological adaptations are concerned.

Life history strategies. This section focuses on questions about when, where, and how organisms optimally carry out different parts of their life-cycle, especially reproduction. Concepts in focus are e.g. demography, reaction norms, phenotypic plasticity, hormones, maternal effects, epigenetics, sex allocation, aging, costs of reproduction and relevant "trade-offs", as well as the importance of immune defence, parasites and diseases.

Mating systems and sexual selection. This section deals with social mating systems, extra-pair copulation, the evolutionary consequences of conflicts between the sexes and parent-offspring, as well as theories of sexual selection and mate choice. Coevolutionary processes and signals. In this section, coevolutionary processes within and between species are discussed.

Scientific methodology. This is partly integrated in the other parts of the course, but contains also specific parts, which include scientific methodology, literature project (review of articles that are carried out individually), experimental design, as well as short practical projects.

The course ends with a conference, where the students use their knowledge in evolutionary ecology, scientific methodology.

You find information about application, prerequisites and the syllabus for the course Evolutionary Animal Ecology at Lund University's central web pages.


Lotta Persmark Study advisor
Biology and Bioinformatics

Tel: +46 46 222 37 28
Email: Lotta [dot] Persmark [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Course coordinator

Course literature, 2021

Evolutionary Analysis. 5 edition. Herron JC & Freeman S. 2015. Pearson Education. ISBN 10: 1-292-06127-8 (global Edition).


The latest schedule for the course Evolutionary Animal Ecology in the schedule software TimeEdit.


You find the latest evaluation on our web page with course evaluations.