Adaptation and Biodiversity

University of Toronto St. George

Principles and concepts of evolution and ecology related to origins of adaptation and biodiversity. Mechanisms and processes driving biological diversification illustrated from various perspectives using empirical and theoretical approaches. Topics include: genetic diversity, natural selection, speciation, physiological, population, and community ecology, maintenance of species diversity, conservation, species extinction, global environmental change, and invasion biology. A lab coat is required and the cost is approximately $16 if students wish to purchase it through the Department. (Lab Materials Fee: $25)
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24HR Notes for BIO120H1

Available 24 hours after each lecture

Frederickson M. Wright S.

BIO120H1 Syllabus for Frederickson M. Wright S. — Fall 2018

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto
Course Syllabus – Fall 2018
The BIO120H Team
Prof. Stephen Wright
(Lectures 1-12)
Prof. Megan Frederickson
(Lectures 13-24)
Jill Wheeler, Course and Laboratory Coordinator
Laura Heslin Piper, Course Administrator
TBD, Lecture TA + many Laboratory Teaching Assistants
Dom Fenech and Dongling Zhao, Laboratory Technicians
BIO120H office –
Please direct all course enquiries to the BIO120 office; the office will re-direct enquiries as appropriate.
Email: Phone: 416-978-7588
Please include your full name and student number when emailing the BIO120 Office
Location: RW 105E (Ramsay Wright Building, 25 Harbord St., enter off St. George St.)
Office hours: see “Course Staff & Contacts” on Quercus.
Course description
Principles and concepts of evolution and ecology related to origins of adaptation and biodiversity.
Mechanisms and processes driving biological diversification illustrated from various perspectives using
empirical and theoretical approaches. Topics include: genetic diversity; natural selection; speciation;
physiological, population and community ecology; maintenance of species diversity; global environmental
change; conservation, species extinction, and invasion biology. Prerequisite: Grade 12 Biology or equivalent.
Exclusion: BIO150Y1Y.
Course objectives
1. A goal of this course is to provide you with a solid foundation in evolutionary and ecological principles
and conceptsas related to the origins of adaptation and biodiversityso that you can make informed
decisions on pressing societal issues, such as population growth, global environmental change, and the
conservation of biodiversity, and be prepared for advanced study in the biological sciences.
2. Darwinian evolution is the unifying concept in biology and explains biodiversity on earth and why
species differ. You will learn that the traits of organisms are the product of a complex interplay between
natural selection, genetic variation, and evolutionary history.
3. You will learn that adaptive evolution is a process that results from selection pressures imposed by the
physical and biotic environment on individuals within populations. The ecological challenges of
capturing resources for growth, successful reproduction, and avoiding enemies largely determine the
ways organisms function.
4. Required readings will extend and reinforce lecture material on how natural systems work and how
diverse organisms respond to the challenges of the natural world. From reading Why Evolution is True
for Prof. Wright’s lectures, you will learn how various independent lines of evidence demonstrate the
fact of evolution and give insight into its mechanisms, particularly adaptation by natural selection.
Required readings for Prof. Frederickson’s lectures will extend and reinforce lecture material on
how natural systems work and how diverse organisms respond to the challenges of the natural world.
5. In the laboratories you will learn to make observations, devise hypotheses, and conduct experiments in
ecology and evolutionary biology, including critically evaluating and communicating (both orally and in
writing) hypotheses and experimental designs.
A paper copy of this syllabus is available at the front of your BIO120 Laboratory Manual.
BIO120H1F Syllabus Fall 2018
Required course materials (#1 and #2 are available from the U of T Bookstore)
1. BIO120 Laboratory Manual Fall 2018 (Read Chapters 1 and 6 before your first lab.)
Note: You cannot use previous lab manuals (e.g., if you took BIO120 in a previous session, you cannot re-use
your lab manual), as the manual is revised each year.
2. Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne (paperback edition, Penguin).
3. Population Growth, an interactive chapter/module available online (produced by and
downloaded to your computer. The cost of this module is included in the cost of the BIO120 Laboratory
Manual. Further information, such as how to access it, will be provided on Quercus.
4. There will be other required (e.g., Struggle for Existence) and recommended readings, such as journal
articles; these will be available from the course site on Quercus.
Course Site on Quercus (new!)
The BIO120 course website will be available on Quercus ( for the Fall. Quercus is the new
learning management system for U of T. For information on using Quercus, please see the “Help” button on
Quercus, or the links we post on the course site. The BIO120 site on Quercus contains: a copy of this course
syllabus, announcements, lecture slides and audio files, lab-related content, discussion boards, test and lab
marks, quizzes and sample test questions. Some assignments will also be submitted through Quercus. Only
students who are enrolled in BIO120 on ACORN have access to this site (within 24-48 hours after enrolling).
It is mandatory that you check the announcements at least once a week. We strongly recommend turning
on announcements in your Notifications setting so that you receive them as emails.
Day section (L0101 and L2002): Monday and Wednesday 10:10-11:00 a.m. in Convocation Hall (CH)
Evening section (L5101): Wednesday 5:10-7:00 p.m. in ES 1050 (Earth Sciences Centre Auditorium, 6
Bancroft Ave.)
See page vii of this syllabus for the lecture schedule.
Students can attend either lecture section, but note that seating is limited in the evening.
You can find the following under “Lectures Module” on Quercus:
o Lecture slides: These will be available on Friday afternoon for Monday lectures, and on Tuesday
afternoon for Wednesday lectures. To conserve paper and ink, we request that you print only if
necessary; please print six slides per page, on both sides of a page and use previously used paper
and only black ink.
o Audio files: Audio files of Monday and Wednesday day lectures will be available on Quercus on
Thursday. (Note that there is no guarantee that audio files will be available for a given lecture, as it is
possible that recording equipment could fail.) Evening lectures are not recorded, but you may make
your own recordings if you wish.
o Required readings: The pages that you are required to read before each lecture will be posted on
Lecture tutorials
This is your chance to ask the professor questions about lecture content. These are held Wednesdays at 9:10-
10:00 am in Convocation Hall. Attendance is optional. Format is “question and answer.”
Reading quizzes
Quizzes will be available on Quercus to help you assess your understanding of the required readings,
and to motivate you to do the readings before each lecture.
Detailed information on the reading quizzes is available on Quercus under “Reading Quizzes Module”.
You must obtain a perfect score (100%) on Quiz 1 in order to be eligible to receive a mark for any of the
subsequent quizzes (although Quiz 1 is not worth any marks itself).
You must obtain a perfect score on a quiz in order to receive a mark for it.
Quizzes can be attempted multiple times (until you obtain a perfect score).
BIO120H1F Syllabus Fall 2018
(also read the BIO120 Laboratory Manual for detailed information)
Check the “Grades” link on Quercus after 5:00 pm on Monday, Sept. 10; there will be a column that
shows a code, which corresponds to the week, day, time, and room number of your lab.
Labs are held in alternate weeks (bi-weekly); see the detailed lab schedule on page x in your BIO120
Laboratory Manual.
Week 1 (P**01) labs begin the week of Sept. 17; Week 2 (P**02) labs begin the week of Sept. 24
All labs are held on the first floor of the Ramsay Wright (RW) building, 25 Harbord St.
Labs are 3 hours in length. Tues., Wed., and Thur. afternoon labs begin at 1:30; Thur. evening labs begin
at 6:10; and Fri. morning labs begin at 11:10 am. (There are no BIO120 labs on Mondays.)
A lab coat is required for Labs 2, 3 and 4.
Preparation for Lab 1: Read Chapters 1 and 6 and Appendix D in the BIO120 Laboratory Manual Fall
Beginning on Sept. 11, if you are not enrolled in a practical section on ACORN, please contact the
BIO120 Office at
Procedures for requesting a temporary lab change (for example, due to illness) are discussed in the
“Important Policies and Procedures” section on page vi of this syllabus.
Academic support
As it is impractical for Lecturers to offer office hours for a course of this size, any questions on lecture
content can be (1) asked during the weekly Lecture Tutorials conducted by the professors (see page iv),
or (2) posted under “Discussions” on Quercus, which is monitored by the BIO120 Lecture TA (a
Teaching Assistant who attends lectures). The Lecture TA can also be available for small-group help
sessions (by appointment).
Any questions on laboratory content can be (1) directed to the BIO120 Course Coordinator Jill Wheeler
during her office hours (see “Contacts” on Quercus), or (2) posted under “Discussions” on Quercus.
The discussion forums on Quercus have been created for students to post their questions regarding
course material. It is expected that students will respond to their classmates’ questions. Course staff will
respond to posts where appropriate (and within 48 hours, weekdays only).
Lecture material, including required readings
Lab material, including required readings
Evaluation details:
Test 1: Friday, October 12, 5:40-6:30 p.m. (50 minutes)
Content: 25 multiple-choice questions covering Lectures 1 to 8 (Prof. Wright), including associated
required readings. (Lab material will not be evaluated on Test 1.)
Test 2: Friday, November 16, 5:30-6:30 p.m. (60 minutes)
Content: 30 multiple-choice questions (12 questions from Prof. Wright’s Lectures 9 to 12, 10
questions from Prof. Frederickson’s Lectures 13 to 15, and 8 questions from Lab Chapters 1 to 3,
Appendices A and B, including associated required readings).
Final Exam: (during Dec. 8-21 exam period, exact date TBA), 120 minutes
Content: 60 multiple-choice questions (12 questions from Prof. Wright’s Lectures 1 to 12, 40
questions from Prof. Frederickson’s Lectures 13 to 24, and 8 questions from Lab Chapters 1 to 5, and
Appendices A, B, and C, including associated required readings for lecture and lab content).
Note that this exam is “cumulative” (that is, it does include all course material).
Laboratory quizzes and assignments
Lab Quizzes (4%), in-lab assignments (3%), and “Writing a Scientific Proposal” assignment (15%).
See page xi in the BIO120 Laboratory Manual for detailed information.
Reading Quizzes
Quizzes on required readings for the lecture content (e.g., Why Evolution is True and other required
readings) (4%)
Population Growth online module (1%)
BIO120H1F Syllabus Fall 2018
Important course policies and procedures (please read these carefully!)
1. Your quiz, assignment, test, and exam grades for BIO120 will be visible to you on Quercus. It is your
responsibility to check your grades and report any inconsistencies to the BIO120 Office as soon as
2. It is also your responsibility to check your UTORmail account on a frequent basis, as any urgent
communications will be sent that way. Failure to see an email will not be accepted as an excuse.
3. Please send all course-related email to; your email will be forwarded to the
appropriate team member. Include your full name and student number in the body of the message. You
should use your UTORmail address or else your emails are likely to be diverted to Junk Mail.
4. You must obtain a minimum average of 50% on the laboratory material (see page xi in the lab manual) in
order to pass the course. If you do not receive a minimum average of 50% on the laboratory material, the
highest possible final grade you can receive is 49% for the course.
5. Test 1, Test 2, and the Final Exam consist of multiple-choice questions; marks are not deducted for
incorrect responses. Test locations will be posted on Quercus. Bring an HB pencil, eraser, and your T-
card to all tests/exams; no aids are permitted (no cell phones, calculators, dictionaries, etc.).
6. If you miss Test 1 or Test 2 due to illness you must contact the BIO120 Office within 24 hours of the
missed test. Valid documentation is required in order to be considered for the make-up test. The make-
up tests include short-answer or essay questions (i.e., not only multiple-choice) and are typically written
on the Friday morning of the week following the test at 8:00 a.m. Valid documentation consists of one
of the following: a U of T Verification of Student Illness or Injury Form
(, or a letter from your College Registrar.
7. If you miss the Final Exam you must contact your college registrar and initiate a petition to write a
deferred exam (do not contact the BIO120 Office). If your petition is granted, the exam is typically
written during the next Faculty Examination Period.
8. Test conflict with a scheduled class: If you have a scheduled class at a time when Test 1 or Test 2 is
being written, your class takes precedence (i.e., attend your lecture and write the early test sitting for
BIO120). Contact the BIO120 Office no later than one week prior to the test date to arrange to write the
early sitting. If you do not notify the BIO120 Office before this deadline, we may not be able to arrange
an alternate sitting of the test for you. Please provide a copy of your timetable as proof of the conflict.
9. If you miss your scheduled lab period for an authorized reason (e.g., illness), present valid
documentation (see #6 above) to the BIO120 Office during office hours within one week of the missed
lab to find out if space is available to attend another lab during the two-week period that each lab is
offered. If it is not possible for you to attend a make-up lab, you will be assigned a make-up assignment
if you miss an in-lab assignment. The due date and time of lab quizzes do not change, regardless of
whether you miss a lab or attend a make up lab. It is important to note that you are permitted to make
up only one missed lab with the appropriate documentation. Serious illness affecting two consecutive
labs or more will be considered on an individual basis. Note that you are responsible for submitting
any assignments that are due for the lab you missed; no extensions will be granted for assignments
on or after their due date. E-mail your assignment to:, or submit it online
(when appropriate).
10. Labs begin at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays; at 11:10 a.m. on Fridays; and at 6:10
p.m. on Thursday evenings. If you arrive late to lab, the teaching assistant will send you to see the
Course Coordinator. She will decide if you have missed too much of the lab and therefore cannot remain
to complete it.
11. The lab quizzes are completed on Quercus. They are available for seven days preceding the start of lab.
Lab quizzes are due by the start date and time of the associated lab. No extensions or exemptions are
allowed. Detailed information on the quizzes is available on Quercus.
12. The University of Toronto is committed to accessibility. If you require accommodations for a disability,
or have any accessibility concerns about the course, the classroom or course materials, contact
Accessibility Services as soon as possible: or
BIO120H1F Syllabus Fall 2018
13. Read pages 6-9 and 6-10 in the BIO120 Laboratory Manual for important policies for the “Writing a
Scientific Proposal” assignment, and for other assignments.
14. Students will submit their “Writing a Scientific Proposal” report (Chapter 6 in the BIO120
Laboratory Manual) to Normally, students will be required to submit their report to for a review of textual similarity and detection of possible plagiarism. In doing so, students
will allow their reports to be included as source documents in the reference database,
where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. The terms that apply to the
University’s use of the service are described on the web site. You can choose
to not submit their report to; please contact the Course Coordinator before Monday, Oct.
15th to make alternate arrangements.
15. BIO120 has a zero tolerance policy for plagiarism. If you are caught plagiarizing the work of others in
any of your assignments, you will receive a grade of zero for the assignment and the Office of Student
Academic Integrity will be notified.
Schedule for Lectures, Tutorials, Labs, and Tests
Date Labs
Monday Wednesday
Lecture 10-11 a.m.
9-10 a.m.
Day Lecture
10-11 a.m.
Eve Lecture
5-7 p.m.
Sept 6-7
No labs
No lectures
Sept 10-14
No labs
1 (SW)
2 (SW)
1 + 2 (SW)
Sept 17-21
3 (SW)
4 (SW)
3 + 4 (SW)
Sept 24-28
5 (SW)
6 (SW)
5 + 6 (SW)
Oct 1-5
7 (SW)
8 (SW)
7 + 8 (SW)
6 Oct 8-12 2-2
U of T closed
9 (SW)
9 + 10 (SW)
Test 1: Fri Oct 12 5:40-6:30 p.m. (Lectures 1 to 8)
Oct 15-19
10 (SW)
11 (SW)
11 + 12 (SW)
Oct 22-26
12 (SW)
13 (MF)
13 + 14 (MF)
Oct 29-Nov 2
14 (MF)
15 (MF)
15 + 16 (MF)
Nov 5-9
No labs
Fall Reading Week
11 Nov 12-16 4-2
16 (MF)
17 (MF)
17 + 18 (MF)
Test 2: Fri Nov 16 5:30-6:30 p.m. (Lectures 9 to 15; Labs 1-3, App. A and B)
Nov 19-23
18 (MF)
19 (MF)
19 + 20 (MF)
Nov 26-30
20 (MF)
21 (MF)
21 + 22 (MF)
14 Dec 3-6 No labs
22 (MF)
23 (MF)
23 + 24 (MF)
Lecture 24 for L0101 and LEC2002 will be 10-11 a.m. on Thurs Dec 6
Faculty exams (Dec. 8-21): BIO120 Final Exam on Lectures 1 to 24, and Lab Chapters 1 to 5, and App. A to C
* 1-1 = Lab 1, Week 1
1-2 = Lab 1, Week 2

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