BHE-50306 Life History Evolution


Studiepunten 6.00

Group work4
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. A Kotrschal
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. P Bijma
dr. ir. BA Pannebakker
dr. CHJ van Oers
prof. dr. M Naguib
dr. A Kotrschal
Examiner(s)prof. dr. M Naguib

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

PEN-10503 Ecology I; GEN-11806 Fundamentals of Genetics and Molecular Biology; BHE-20303 Animal Behaviour.

Continuation courses:

ABG-50806 Ecology of Animal Life Histories; ABG-51806 Wildlife Conservation Genetics.


This course will cover basic life history theory by highlighting major decisions animals have to make with respect to reproduction and adaptation. Life History Evolution is one of two courses offered about the evolution of life histories. This course (BHE50306) is intended for undergraduates, and forms part of the minor in Wildlife Biodiversity, and focuses on acquiring basic knowledge and understanding of life history theory. The other course (ABG 50806) is an advanced course which is intended primarily for masters students, and focuses on understanding concepts and ideas, and applying them in the design of experiments.
Life history theory is essential for understanding animal decision making and trade-offs throughout various life stages . Thus, the course will cover all life stages of an individual from early development, reproductive decisions and investment into offspring. Life history decisions are very fundamental for wildlife biology as they affect fitness and thus animal biodiversity through natural selection. The course will focus on life history in vertebrates and is part of the minor in Wildlife Biodiversity.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

- understand and reproduce the basic principles of life history theory;

- give examples of individual decision making with respect to reproduction and adaptation and explain how natural selection acts on these decisions;

- explain how genetics and physiology affect and constrain life history decisions and how natural selection acts on these underlying mechanisms;

- understand the link between individual decision making and population dynamics;

- be able to analyse life history dilemma's using the tools provided in the lectures and report and present their analysis in a coherent review.


- lectures;

- individual exercises;

- group (2-4 pers.) assignments: problem solving, literature discussions, presentation of assignments.


Written exam and report.


Will be provided during the course.

Verplicht voor: WUWLBBSc Minor Wildlife Biodiversity4WD