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Evolutionary Animal Ecology, 15 cr


Course description

This is an advanced course in ecology focussing on understanding evolutionary processes on the level of individuals, populations and species. The basic goal of the course is that you will learn to understand how evolutionary processes act on animals, that is you will learn “evolutionary thinking” applied on ecological questions (for example costs and benefits of different behaviours or the process shaping phenotypic traits of animals. The course covers different parts:

  1. evolutionary ecology and population ecology,which will provide you with basic knowledge of evolutionary theory and examples of evolutionary processes, and some basic knowledge in population genetics,
  2. migration and ecological physiology, such as how animals navigate and migrate and how their physiology have been adapted to different environments and behaviours,
  3. life-history ecology, mating systems and sexual selection, focussing on how animals decide on trade-offs between current reproduction relative to future reproduction and what factors is important for mate choice and mating patterns,
  4. co-evolution, cover ecological signals such as odour communication in insects and bird song, as well as social evolution (cooperation and group living).

Education is given as lectures, group discussions, group exercises and own literature project.


At the beginning of the course we have a one day long excursion at our field station Stensoffa Ecological Station at Lake Krankesjön. In groups you will conduct a short field project on a topic in evolutionary ecology, for example experiments with insects and crustaceans, capture of birds, and studies of voles and borrelia. The aim with this project is to get an insight in the methods used to capture and handle animals and to begin stimulating your owncreative thinking and discussions when analysing evolutionary and ecological questions.

Literature Project

The literature project is based on your own independent work and covers a topic you have selected in animal evolutionary ecology. You will read scientific papers on this topic, and summarise facts and draw conclusions from the text you read. The work will then be presented in written form (which will be graded) and with a short oral presentation.


Your progress in understanding ecological and evolutionary concepts and analyses is checked with awritten examination (directed especially at creativity and analytical understanding) and it contributes to 80% of the total grade of the course. Graded are also the literature project (16% of the course grade) and a conference contribution in which oral presentation, experimental design and the ecological and evolutionary discussion will be important (4% of the course grade).

And later …

The course not only provides basic knowledge for advanced graduate studies in animal ecology, but you will also acquire skills in other topics where evolutionary analyses are important. Furthermore, the course gives very good training in creative analyses of problems, critical thinking and group work.

Page Manager:

Study coordinator

Lotta Persmark
Study advisor
Education office, Ecology building

Telephone: +46 46-222 37 28
E-mail: Lotta [dot] Persmark [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Course coordinator

Dennis Hasselquist

Telephone: +46 46-222 37 08
E-mail: Dennis [dot] Hasselquist [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Susanne Åkesson
Evolutionary ecology

Telephone: +46 46-222 37 05
E-mail: Susanne [dot] Akesson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Course literature

You find all literature at our course literature page

Course period

The course is offered during the second period of the autumn semester.The language of instruction is English.

Course evaluation

The latest evaluation (pdf)


Schedule (pdf; 27 kB)

Resit exam occasions

Resit exams