BIOL 413 - Evolution - Fall 2005

Textbook Author Web Site The textbook for the course is Evolution, by Douglas J. Futuyma. (Sinauer Assoc., 2005). Dr. Futuyma is a major figure in evolutionary biology, and has helped to elucidate the complex interactions among plants and insects.

Fall 2005 Syllabus The lecture schedule, readings, and homework assignments can be found here.

Set I: Start-Migration                Set II: Mutation-Selection      Speciation & Earth History

Why Study Evolution?

Evolution White Paper
This paper is being produced by a committee of the Society for the Study of Evolution. It outlines the basic principles of evolutionary biology and explains why a knowledge of evolutionary biology is fundamental to both pure and applied research in the biological sciences. Two related versions of this document are available in Adobe Acrobat format from  The American Society of Naturalists (see "Evolution, Science and Society").

The Classics

The Origin of Species
The full text of Darwin's book that convinced the scientific community of the fact of Evolution and proposed Natural Selection as a primary mechanism.

The Voyage of the Beagle
The full text of Darwin's account of the 1831-36 voyage.  It is still considered one of the best travel and natural history books ever published.

Darwin and Wallace
This site includes the Origin of Species, and the full text of Wallace's key papers on evolutionary theory.

The Darwin-Wallace Joint Presentation This site was produced by James Reveal, F.L.S., Paul J. Bottino and Charles F. Delwiche. It contains an account of the 1858 joint presentation and a the text of the papers.

Darwin Obituary
This is contemporary (1888) summary of Darwin's career.

Genetics Review

Additional Genetics Notes This site, from Dr. Phillip E. McClean at North Dakota State University, is an excellent review of Mendelian genetics and related topics regarding the link between genotype and phenotype.

Human Gene Mutation Database Produced by the University of Wales College of Medicine, this is an extensive database on known human mutations and their phenotypic effects.

Mendelian Inheritance In Humans An extensive database on the human genotype.

Evolution of Dominance The phenomenon of Dominance has been one of the fundamental questions in Genetics.  This site summarizes some hypotheses to explain it.

Population Genetics  

Dr. David Rand's Evolution Course  This is an outstanding web site developed for a course in evolutionary biology at Brown University.

Dr. Barry Sinervo's Behavioral Ecology course Dr. Sinervo's web site offers an excellent summary of a number of evolutionary principles and shows how they can be applied to the study of animal behavior.

Heritability  This site ( also from Phillip E. McClean at North Dakota State University) is an excellent overview of the basic concepts of Heritability.


What is a Species? This is a reprint of a recent essay by Ernst Mayr, who developed the biological species concept.

Models of Speciation , Genetics of Speciation , Cases of Speciation
These three sites are all from David Rand's site at Brown University (see above).  They offer a detailed discussion of the principles of Speciation.

Evolution, "Scientific Creationism", and Science Education

The National Center for Science Education The NCSE is an organization dedicated to protecting the integrity of Science Education in the public schools.  Most of the threats in this area have come in form of attempts to restrict the teaching of evolutionary biology.

Evolution and Science Education This is an online document prepared by the National Academy of Sciences.

The Talk.Origins Archive This website has become a clearinghouse for information about evolutionary biology.

The Discovery Institute  The Discovery Institute is effecttively the home of the Intelligent Design movement.  Although denying that they are scientific creationists, the core of the Intelligent Design concept is that the complexity of Life shows signs of the direct intervention of an intelligent agent.  Understandably, most people assume that the intelligent agent is a supernatural being in the traditional sense.

The Institute for Creation Research This site will offer you a glimpse into the world of "creation science".  Representatives of the Institute for Creation Research have played a role in the various attempts to require the teaching of "creation science" in the public schools.

Center for Scientific Creation Another "creation science" site.  This one offers a number of online texts that offer good examples of the creationist approach to science.

Access Research Network This site offers you an idea of the potential sophistication the creationist movement. This organization is a major proponent of "Intelligent Design", which is the latest version of "scientific creationism".  Reading these articles will give you good training in recognizing misrepresentation of ideas in evolutionary biology and the use of logical fallacies.

Evolution Resources

The WWW Virtual Library: Evolution (Biosciences) This site has many useful links, but some of them are
no longer active.

Action Bioscience a good source for original essays on a variety of topics in evolutionary biology.


Major Researchers of the 20th Century

Ronald A. Fisher Sir Ronald Fisher was one of the founders of population genetics.  His 1918 paper showed how Mendelian genetics could be reconciled with continuous variation.  He went on to develop many of the major principles of quantitative genetics and applied statistics.  His Genetical Theory of Natural Selection remains one of the most important books in modern evolutionary biology.

J. B. S. Haldane Prof. Haldane, along with Fisher and Wright, laid the foundations of theoretical population genetics.

G. H. Hardy  A biography of one of the three independent developers of the Castle-Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium Principle.

Sewall Wright  Sewall Wright, along with R. A. Fisher and J. B. S. Haldane, established the foundation of population genetics.  It was Wright who attempted to synthesize several microevolutionary processes within the framework of his Shifting Balance Process.

Theodosius Dobzhansky Dobzhansky was able to bridge theoretical and experimental approaches to population genetics.  His most famous quote is "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution."

Some Current Researchers

Lin Chao Dr. Chao has conducted an innovative research program on the evolution of sexual reproduction by using
viruses as a model.

Russel Lande Dr. Lande has made a number of substantial contributions in the area of theoretical quantitative genetics, and he helped to develop an overall theory of the role of sexual selection in speciation.

Dr. Sarah P. Otto Dr. Otto is a population geneticist at the University of British Columbia.  She is interested in a variety of topics, including the evolution of life cycles, mating systems and genome architecture.  Dr. Otto site includes a wealth of material that she developed for her courses and seminars.

Dolph Schluter Dr. Schluter has established a reputation as an innovative researcher in the areas of selection and speciation.  His recent work with sticlebacks has offered new insights into the process of speciation.

Alan Templeton Dr. Templeton is a major theoretical and experimental population geneticist.  Over the last 20 years, he has published a number of seminal papers on the population genetics of speciation.

Massimo Pigliucci Dr. Pigliucci's research focuses on the phenomenon of phenotypic plasticity.

Stephen Freeland Dr. Freeland's research investigates a fundamental question: Why does the Genetic Code have this particular, almost universal structure?  He also has an informative site related to his research - EvolvingCode.

Kevin Omland is interested in avian phylogeny and speciation.  Additional details on his research can be found here.




Geological Timeline A current summary of Earth History, from the archive.

Astrobiology (NASA)  Astrobiology is the study of Life throughout the Universe.  NASA's official site contains some useful information.

Burgess Shale fossils The University of Calgary's summary of this exceptional group of Cambrian fossils.  It includes links to other sites.  Here is more on the Burgess Shale fauna from the  Burgess Shale Foundation.

Mass Extinctions A BBC educational site that offers an excellent summary of research on the mass extinctions that have affected life on Earth.

Terrestrial Impact Craters The Earth has had some spectacular encounters.  If you like thefilms Armageddon and Deep Impact, you'll love this site.

The Creataceous Impact Event A good summary of the evidence that there was a major impact event 65 million years ago.  

The Irish Elk The Irish Elk is actually the largest cervid (deer) that ever lived.  It will be discussed in class as an example of how we can learn about the biology of extinct species.

Human Evolution in 3D An impressive site that summarizes the fossil evidence regarding human evolution.  It requires the Shockwave plugin.


American Naturalist A major journal devoted to Evolution, Ecology, and Population Biology. Recent articles can be obtained in Adobe Acrobat format.

Evolution Gee, I wonder what this journal is about?  It's in the Cook Library.

Paleobiology A Paleontology journal devoted to both primary research and conceptual papers.  It's in the Cook Library.


National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian)

American Museum of Natural History

The Field Museum of Natural History

Berkeley Evolution Exhibit

Other Resources

BBC Evolution The BBC had a series on Evolution a few years ago.  They still maintain this informative site.

PBS Evolution Series The Public Broadcasting System and WGBH of Boston will be broadcasting a series on Evolution in September of 2001.  This is the companion web site to the series.

Other Items

 Erik Scully's Home Page

 Biology Department Home Page

 Mail to Erik Scully

 Library Online Resources

 Dr. Scully on a good day


  Annual  Review of Ecology & Systematics

 Trends in Ecology & Evolution

Google Scholar

BIOL 413 - Fall 2005 - last update - 7/14/2005