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Molecular and Evolutionary Ecology

About this course

Have you ever wondered how you can:

  • determine the origin of wolves crossing the Dutch border?

  • find out what bears eat, even if you only have access to their poo?

  • determine the region of origin of invasive insect pest species threatening fruit production?

  • find out how you can get information from DNA sampled at a crime site?

If you are interested in ecology and evolution and want an answer to these types of questions, the Molecular and Evolutionary Ecology (MEE) course GEN-20306, is just the course for you!
The subject of the MEE course is the application of molecular techniques and evolutionary concepts for ecological research, which will be illustrated and applied in a personal experimental research project. The course starts with a practical training in molecular techniques like DNA isolation, RFLP and PCR analysis and gel-electrophoresis and focuses on its use for answering ecological and evolutionary questions. Mini-projects will be introduced in the second week. The mini-projects are organized in research teams, each consisting of 4-5 groups that will work on their own research questions centred around one of 6 overarching research topics. The last two weeks will be used to finish the course (written reports, oral presentations at the final symposium and an oral final evaluation).

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • summarize and explain available molecular techniques for evolutionary/ecological research;
  • apply molecular methods for evolutionary/ecological research;
  • design and carry out an experiment (mini research project) using molecular techniques to answer ecological question in evolutionary context;
  • evaluate the results of an experiment in the field of evolutionary and molecular ecology research;
  • critically evaluate your own and other projects;
  • present the results of the research project.

Teaching method and examination

Final grading is based on:

  • answers to Labbuddy module during practical training week 1 (individual student) 10%;
  • observation of performance in Mini-project (2-3 students) 50%;
  • team role (2-3 students) 10%;
  • final team presentation (10 students) 10%;
  • final group report (2-3 students) 20%;
  • partial marks remain valid only during the current course year;
  • there will be no written exam, the course will be evaluated with each mini-group during a 10 minute meeting in the last week of the course.

Required prior knowledge

Mandatory Knowledge:
ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety
Assumed Knowledge:
Basic knowledge on Evolution, Genetics, Ecology and Molecular Biology:
GEN11306 Evolution and Systematics;
GEN11806 Fundamentals of Genetics and Molecular Biology;
PEN10503 Ecology I.

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.

Offering(s)

  • Start date

    11 maart 2024

    • Ends
      3 mei 2024
    • Term *
      Period 5
    • Location
    • Instruction language
      English
    Enrolment period closed
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University