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BIOL 413 The Tree of Life

BIOL 413.  The Tree of Life.  4 Credits.   N   

A tour of the tree of life that introduces the major groups of organisms on Earth, their important traits, phylogenetic relationships, life histories, roles in global ecosystems, and interactions with humanity. Our primary guide to this tour is the “Tree of Life,” a branching diagram (phylogenetic tree) that illustrates how life evolved over the few billion years. Learning to read and interpret phylogenetic trees is central to the course, with lessons addressing general tree literacy, as well as advanced topics like mapping traits onto trees and reconstructing their evolution, interpreting fossils and timetrees, and biogeography. Weekly in-person and virtual labs offer opportunities for students to interact directly with physical specimens while also gaining practical experience with simple algorithms and software applications that can be used to reconstruct and interpret how major groups of organisms evolved over time. Two of the four credit hours from this course will apply towards BIOL lab elective requirements numbered 400 or higher for biology majors. Prerequisite: BIOL 152 or BIOL 153, or consent of the instructor.

Bachelor of Arts in Biology

Biology is the study of living systems and is the broadest biological sciences major available at KU. The B.A. Biology degree provides students with much flexibility in their major course choices and can include ecology, microbiology, organismal physiology, and biochemistry.