Università degli studi dell'Insubria


Degree course: 
Corso di Second cycle degree in ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
Academyc year when starting the degree: 
Academyc year when helding the course: 
Course type: 
Supplementary compulsory subjects
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (24 hours), Laboratory (16 hours)

Basis of ecology

Final Examination: 

- Topic theories on the Biological and cultural (co)evolution of humankind (40%)
- Presentation of ecological data elaboration (computer simulations, numerical and statistical calculations) using powerpoint presentation (60%)

Voto Finale

The course provides deeper knowledge of ecological theory at two main levels of ecology: 1) Human biological and culturural coevolution and 2) wildlife community ecology.

1. Knowledge on the topic theories on the biological and cultural (co)evolution of humankind.
2. Experience with mathematical and genetic models used to describe wildelife populations and communities: the course gives skills in using mathematical and graphical models to analyse population and community processes. Learn to analyse results, formulating new hypotheses.
3. Skills in bioinformatics elaboration, promoting oral and/or written presentation.

Topics proposed in the course are related to:
• Biological and cultural (co)evolution of human mankind, [12 hours]

The course comprises laboratory experience [40 hours] based on genetic tools and evolutionary inferences. The molecular ecology tools will be addressed to the analysis of wildlife population evolution and community dynamics.
The activities proposed will be divided into two part:
- Laboratory activities related to molecular data production (20 hours) in which the students learn basic elements of DNA extraction protocols and production of specific molecular markers
- Informatics laboratory (20 hours) in which the basic elements of bioinformatics tools applied on evolutionary inferences will be proposed, like phylogenetic tree reconstruction, taxonomic evaluation based on molecular dataset, phylogeographic dynamics, population connection and gene flow implications.

Frontal Lessons: Cultural and Biological Evolution: Why Culture? Cultural evolution Vs. biological; Culture as a biological phenomenon, Sociobiology and Memetics; Dual inheritance and biological-cultural co-evolution; Cultural cumulative evolution; An ecological and evolutionary approach applied to cultural models; Genetic determinism and Eugenics; Leading forces of cultural evolution.
Laboratory activities: 1) molecular – DNA extraction activity; application of mitochondrial and nuclear biomarkers; readings of genetic sequences. 2) bioinformatics – processing of multiple alignment matrices; application programs for the analysis of genetic and phylogenetic variability

Mittelbach G.G. 2012. Community Ecology. Ed. Sinauer.
Beebee T., Rowe G. 2008. An introduction to Molecular ecology. 2nd edition. Oxford University Press.

6 Lectures (12 hours)
40 Lab hours: exercises based on molecular ecology laboratory (20 hours) and computer laboratory (20 hours)

Student meeting upon request