Evolution and Biogeography of Aquatic organisms

EMBC+ MODULE 1: Understanding the structure and function of Marine Biodiversity

1) Dynamics of genes in natural populations. Genetic polymorphisms. Changes in allele frequencies. Natural selection. Gene drift. Genic substitution. Neodarwinist theory and theory of neutral mutations.
2) Evolution of nucleotide sequences. Models of nucleotide substitution. Coding and non coding regions. Methods for alignment of sequences.
3) Patterns of nucleotide substitution. Substitution rate and differential evolution of the genome. Causes for variation in substitution rates. Molecular clocks. Non random use of synonymous codons.
4) Molecular phylogenetic relationships. Constructing phylogenetic trees. Estimating distances between taxonomic units. Calculations of time of divergence between species. Methods for reconstructing phylogenies (UPGMA, transformed distance, Neighbor-Joining, Maximum Parsimony, Maximum Likelihood, Bayesian methods). Bootstrapping.
5) Patterns and processes in biogeography. Biogeographic patterns. Diversity of species. Basic biogeographic theories. Vicariance theory. Continental drift and phylogenetic reconstruction. Phylogeography. Insular populations
Practical work
Use of the Internet for obtaining and analysing nucleotide sequences. Online databases. GenBank. Use of BIOEDIT programs for sequence editing and CLUSTAL-W for alignments. Initiation to the MEGA software for phylogeny reconstruction based on molecular data.

Adaptation, Gene drift, Genetic variation, Migration, Molecular evolution, Phylogenetics, Selection, Speciation, Vicariance

Basic knowledge of Genetics and Ecology at graduate level


Students will acquire basic knowledge for understanding the main mechanisms that enable organisms to use so diverse habitats, as well as the biogeographic distribution of marine species; acquaintance with most popular software.