BI 520 Systematics
3 cr. (2-1-0)
Prerequisite: BI 315, graduate standing or permission of the instructor
This course is designed to introduce students to the latest advances in the rapidly growing field of systematics. Systematics includes taxonomy and classification, and focuses on the discovery of the natural evolutionary relationships (phylogenies) between organisms. The course is divided into three parts: (1) introduction to taxonomy and systematics, (2) theoretical background to phylogenetic methods and (3) the construction of cladograms using computer software. The aim of the course is to present a coherent and logically consistent view of systematic theory founded on cladistic methodology and the principle of parsimony. Both morphological datasets and molecular datasets are used. Students also learn the fundamentals of molecular systematics, and how to analyze data from DNA sequences.