91123 Nature and Evolution6cp; 6hpw (Spring session)
The existence of humans on earth has arguably been made possible through the evolution of a vast diversity of biota – to which we are inextricably linked, both directly and indirectly. Earth's biodiversity is not only extraordinary and fascinating but also fundamental to our ongoing survival. An understanding of the biological complexity of life is an important component underpinning a career in science, irrespective of the chosen scientific profession.
This subject investigates the question: what does it take for life to exist in the range of habitats across the globe? There is considerable variation among living organisms, including humans, in their biology and how they interact with their environment. This subject explores the problems faced by organisms living in different habitats and demonstrates the strategies of plants, animals, fungi, protists, bacteria and archaea that have evolved to cope with the vast array of habitats on earth. The order in which these biota are treated is reflected in the order of the evolution of life, i.e. movement from water to land (and in some cases back again). All major taxa are discussed comparatively to better demonstrate the diversity of evolutionary strategies that have evolved in response to environmental conditions. The subject concludes with considerations of the sustainable use of animals, plants, fungi and bacteria as resources for humans.
Spring session, City campus
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