23 June, 2009

Semester 2, 2009

Classes has ended for Semester 1. Contrary to expectation, Human Ecology was my weakness with its utter boredom and Vegetation Ecology was my strength.
Marks will be released in 2 weeks

Classes for Semester 2, 2009.

Australian Vertebrates
: An overview of diversity and supposedly highlighting recent research on Australian Vertebrates. I do hope a significant part of it is marsupials.
This course involves:
*evolutionary history

I am interested in all of these, but I primarily wish to focus on ecology, behaviour, conservation and evolutionary history.
Evolutionary history should be very useful for next year.

Evolution of Biodiversity:
This one will be significantly useful for next year as it focusses on biodiversity and loss over time.

1. Explain the primary mechanisms of biodiversity generation and loss over macroevolutionary time.
2. Describe the distributional patterns of biodiversity at community to global scales and explain how these patterns are assembled.
3. Understand phylogenies and how they are used to interpret macroevolution and document the diversity of life.
4. Apply critical skills in hypothesis testing using a range of types of information, including palaeontology, systematics, developmental biology, and molecular data.
5. Interpret a scientific paper on any of a range of topics in evolution and present a critical analysis of competing views either orally or in a short essay.

There is no exam, instead I will have 4 in-class tests, a worksheet and a paper review + essay.

Human Society as an Animal Society: I chose this class for lack of anything else suitable available. Apparently it is taught by David Attenborough's son, so I have high expectations. I also expect it to be interesting.

Primate Ecology and Behaviour: I have been warned that this class is hardcore and I have acquired the 2007 reading brick. Nethertheless, it seems interesting and involves at least one trip to the zoo.

While neither of the BIAN courses are essential to me 2010 studies, I expect they will be interesting.

The two BIOL courses will be most useful as preliminary info for my 2010 special topics course which will involve "...scoring characters for one or maybe two extinct marsupials (e.g Marsupial lion or Diprotodon), adding these to an existing dataset and using some new methods to infer its (their) placement in the phylogenetic tree..."

This is a kind of "independent project" I have discussed with a supervisor. I am looking forward to it.

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