Lecture: Speciation – the making of biodiversity (Fall Semester 2017)


Speciation is the splitting of a genome into two – understanding how this works is the goal of this course.

General information

LV 41100-01: Lecture, 1 credit point
Modules: Master Animal Biology, Master Plant Science
Lecturer: Daniel Berner, Dr.
Phone: 061 207 03 28
Email: daniel.berner-at-unibas.ch
Lecture language: English

Kick-off meeting

There will be a brief (ca. 30 min) meeting to give an overview of the lecture and to communicate organizational issues. This meeting is scheduled for the first week of the fall semester, Wednesday 20 September 2016, 16:15, in the small lecture hall (O1.13, 1st floor) of the Vesalianum, Zoological Institute, Vesalgasse 1, 4051 Basel.

Day, time, and location of the lectures

The course is organized as six 2-hour lectures during the fall semester (lecture dates: 25 October; 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 November). The lectures will be held on Wednesdays at 16:15-18:00 in the small lecture hall of the Vesalianum (O1.13, 1st floor), Zoological Institute, Vesalgasse 1, 4051 Basel.

Aim of the lecture

The objective is to provide a comprehensive introduction into pattern and process in the origin of species. In particular, this will cover the ecology, geography, and genetics of speciation. Theoretical concepts will be illuminated by empirical research in animal and plant speciation model systems.

Course materials

Lecture scripts will be distributed in digital and printed form in the course of the semester.

Recommended literature

Students interested in more details will find the topics of the lecture covered exhaustively in the fundamental ‘Speciation’ book by Coyne & Orr (2004, Sinauer). An explicitly ecological perspective on speciation is provided in the concise book ‘Ecological speciation’ by Nosil (2012; Oxford University Press). Excellent general papers on speciation include Rice & Hostert 1993 (Evolution 47:1637) and Sobel et al. 2010 (Evolution 64:295). Further classical and still valuable (albeit largely ‘pre-genetic’) books include Schluter’s ‘The ecology of adaptive radiation’ (2000; Oxford University Press), Grant’s ‘Plant speciation’ (1981; Columbia University Press), and Mayr’s ‘Systematics and the origin of species’ (several editions; Columbia University Press).


To pass the course, each student has to pass a written examination to be held on 6 December during the normal lecture time of the course.