Phylogenetic Systematics (Bisc 210)

Number of Credits: 4
Level of instruction: Graduate


  • Introduction to systematics. History of Modern Systematics.
  • Cladistics. Grouping by synapomorphy. Wagner trees.
  • Descriptive statistics for cladograms.
  • Optimality criteria and optimization
  • Rooting.
  • Searching for most parsimonious trees
  • Character definition and analysis.
  • Homology
  • Character weighting.
  • Missing entries in data matrices.
  • Multiple equally parsimonious trees. Consensus techniques.
  • Taxa and taxon sampling
  • Monophyly and related concepts.
  • Molecular systematics. Distance methods in molecular systematics. Maximum likelihood methods in molecular systematics.
  • Statistical reliability of phylogeny estimates
  • Character congruence or total evidence.
  • Ontogeny and phylogeny.
  • Species concepts.
  • Classifications. Biological nomenclature. Documenting biodiversity.
  • Systematics and the fossil record.
  • Phylogenies and the comparative method.
  • Biogeography and coevolution.
  • Hybrids, homobionts, and reticulate evolution.
  • Phenetic methods.
  • Three-Taxon statements.

Computer Labs:

  • Lab 1. Character by taxon matrix editors: Winclada, MacClade, and Nexus Data Editor.
  • Lab 2. Phylogenetic Analysis Software: Nona, Hennig86, and PAUP.
  • Lab 3. Exploring and presenting the results of phylogenetic analysis.