Monday, September 27, 2010

BIS002C "Biodiversity & the tree of life" Lecture2&3 more on phylogeny & trees

Well, tomorrow is going to be a bit crazy for me.  I teach four lectures tomorrow for "BIS002C - Biodiversity and the Tree of Life" and UC Davis.  Well, actually, I do each of two lectures twice.  This happens for two reasons.  First, there are two sections for the class and the way we do it, each faculty gives each lecture for which they are responsible twice.  Second, on Mondays, we do two lectures for each section.  In total there are four lectures per week and our schedule is as follows

Section A:  MWF 11-12 M 6-7
Section B: MWF 3-4 M 7-8

So tomorrow at 11 AM I give Lecture 2 for the class to Section A.  Then at 3 PM I give Lecture 2 to Section B.  Then at 6 PM I give Lecture 3 to Section A.  Then at 7 PM I give Lecture 3 to Section B.  Well, enough trying to make it seem like I am working hard.  Especially after PZ Myers gave me a little grief about this on twitter since, well, my teaching load is not actually that big compared to many.

Anyway - back to the class.  I am going to be posting about the class here as much as I can.  To give people an idea of the whole course this is the general highly simplified schema:

Lectures 1-5 Phylogeny (me)
Lectures 6-13 Microbes (Bacteria, Archaea, microbial euks) (me)
Lectures 14-21 Plants and relatives (Jim Doyle)
Lectures 22-24 Fungi  (Jim Doyle)
Lectures 25-36 Metazoa (Susan Keen)
Lectures 37-38 Wrap up, symbioses, etc (Susan Keen)

I do Lectures 1-13 and possibly 37-38.

For the first week or so I am introducing the students to various aspects of phylogeny and phylogenetic trees.  We do this in part because the rest of the class is oriented around using phylogenies and phylogenetic trees so it is important that the students really understand them.

To that end, tomorrow here is the plan:

Lecture 2 will focus on (a) the components of a phylogenetic tree and what they mean plus (b) taxa and groups in trees.  Among the topics we will cover are rooted trees, rotating trees (e.g., vertical vs. horizontal), rotating branches in trees, monophyletic groups/clades, non monophyletic groupings, outgroups vs. ingroups and more.  Oh in addition we will show the awesome Tree of Life movie that we did not get to on Friday. See below

Lecture 3 will then focus on characters and on tracing character evolution on trees.  Among the topics we will cover include traits vs states, homology, ancestral vs. derived, synapomorphies, and the many faces of homoplasy.  Am planning to start posting slides from the class after lecture hopefully starting soon.  But I keep refining them so not going to post before I am close to done ....

Any comments or suggestions welcome ...

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