Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BLGY2223 Organismal Evolution

10 creditsClass Size: 184

Module manager: Dr Andrew Peel

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module aims to provide students with an up-to-date understanding of how the great diversity of animal species found on earth today evolved over the course of more than 550 million years. The module will examine both microevolutionary (e.g. speciation) and macroevolutionary (e.g. changes in body plans) processes. The module will examine what we now know about animal evolution as a result of modern molecular techniques and resources, and how new data have confirmed or contradicted older ideas that were based on comparisons of animal morphology and analysis of the fossil record. The module will identify areas where much is still left to be discovered regarding the process of evolution, and make students aware of the immense rate at which new discoveries are being made thanks to modern techniques.


- This module encourages the development of research skills and critical thinking.

Learning outcomes
On the completion of this module, students should be better able to:
1. Make sense of micro- and macro- evolutionary processes, and relate these to changes at the genetic level;
2. Describe the biotic and abiotic factors promoting adaptive change and speciation;
3. Explain why evolutionary trees are of fundamental importance to dissecting these processes, as well as how and why such trees are used and constructed;
4. Describe developmental features of various multicellular organisms, and give their current evolutionary interpretation;
5. Provide examples of major macroevolutionary changes in known clades, understand how these changes came about, and the effect they had;
6. Place these examples in the context of evolution in general, in order to form an understanding of the processes by which organisms have radiated across the planet;


- The Phanerozoic: what happened;
- The Cambrian Explosion;
- The New Phylogeny;
- Extinction and punctuated equilibrium;
- Animal Origins: The evolution of multicellularity;
- The axis-formers: The origin and evolution of bilaterial symmetry;
- Major radiations: invertebrates;
- Major radiations: vertebrates;
- Adaptation: Natural and Sexual Selection;
- Speciation;
- History of evolutionary thought.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours85.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Students should note that the following information is for guidance only. The actual time required for the various elements will vary between students.
- 4 hours of self-study per lecture (60 hours)
- 25 hours: examination and preparation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Student attendance at lectures will be monitored in line with standard faculty practice.
- Completion of exam.
- Engagement with Minerva resources.

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment24 hr 100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 06/10/2021 10:45:05


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019