Lecture: Speciation – the making of biodiversity (Fall Semester 2023)


Speciation is the evolutionary divergence 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

Day, time, and location of the lectures

The course is organized as six 2-hour lectures during the fall semester. The lectures will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays of the weeks 42 - 44 (lecture dates: 17, 19, 24, 26, 31 October, and 2 November) at 14:15-16:00 in physical presence in the small lecture hall O1.13 on the 1st floor of the Vesalianum, Zoological Institute, Vesalgasse 1.

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 during the course.

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), and in 'Speciation and Patterns of Diversity' by Butlin, Bridle & Schluter (2012, Cambridge University Press). 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, taking place on 23. November 13:15-14:00 in the small lecture hall (O1.13) on the 1st floor of the Vesalianum.