Introduction to Biosystematics

Zoology 575 (Winter) - MWF 11-11:50, Sci B 142

Instructor: Derek S. Sikes
Department of Biological Sciences
2500 University Drive NW
University of Calgary
Calgary, AB, Canada, T2N 1N4


Carolus Linnaeus (also Carl von Linné), 1707–1778

Overview This course will introduce students to the field of biosystematics and will include history, theory, and practice of both taxonomy (the original bioinformatics) and modern phylogenetics. The methods covered apply equally to all eukaryotic taxa, based on either morphological or molecular characters. Training in key software packages will take place on Fridays.

Some of the topics and methods covered:

Taxonomy. Species demarcation / concepts, phylogeography, description / diagnosis, naming, rules of nomenclature, DNA barcoding, the "taxonomic bottleneck," digitization of taxonomic data / bioinformatics, homology / characters (alignment 1)

Phylogenetics. History & development, Phenetics, Cladistics, homology of sequences (alignment 2), taxon and character sampling, distance methods, parsimony, maximum likelihood, Bayesian MCMC, model selection, branch support, ancestral state reconstruction, divergence dating, biogeography, fossil data, trouble-shooting.