Zoology BSc/MSci

Ecological Speciation 4A option BIOL4212

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Biodiversity One Health Vet Med
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course is intended to give students a deeper understanding of the evolutionary and ecological principles that operate in population- and species-level time scales. We do so by focusing on theory and empirical analysis of ecological speciation, with a strong emphasis on fishes and amphibians. 


This option is assigned to block S2-A. There are normally two 2-hour sessions on Mondays. 

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 2-hour examination (70%) and in-course assessment consisting of a poster based on a concept and an empirical example from published paper (30%).

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to help students to gain a deeper understanding of the evolutionary and ecological principles that operate in population- and species-level time scales by focusing on vertebrates in aquatic ecosystems, especially fishes and amphibians. This will offer students the opportunity to draw conceptual links from across their degree programme and relate those to fundamental and applied issues in biodiversity research. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

■ critically discuss the ecological conditions that promote adaptation, divergence, and speciation of fishes and other aquatic vertebrates;

■ explain key concepts of and critically comment upon the ecological conditions and developmental and genetic basis of diversification in the organisms studied;

■ critically discuss anthropogenic influences and effects on microevolution of the organisms studied;

■ critically assess tools used in studying phenotypes and genetics of vertebrate populations in nature;

■ relate microevolution and speciation of the organisms studied to broader topics in evolution and ecology. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.