The Advanced Studies module I will enable students to explore deeper into their subject through critical analysis, investigation and reflection. Further, it will provide opportunity for in-depth exploration of selected topics in the subject disciplines leading to content enhancement. Consequently, the module will facilitate demonstration of advanced knowledge level in their own subject disciplines. The outcome of the module will be delivered through two seminars within their subject groups. These seminars will provide the platform for sharing their learning to an appropriate audience. It will also provide the students context for gaining foundation knowledge and experiences essential to conducting research and scholarship through writing and presentation.

The Advanced Studies II in Biology aims to provide students with the opportunity of exploring the science of plant taxonomy and evolution of life-histories. Unit 1 provides the opportunity to gain advance knowledge and skills in taxonomy and morphology of flowering plants, including plant identification and family recognition. In Unit II students will study the principles of evolution that include the change in the properties of populations of organisms or groups of such population over the course of generations. More importantly, it provides the students with evolution as a unifying theme in biology that attempts to explain the history of life, the causes of biological diversity and the characteristics of organisms.


Unit I Plant Taxonomy

Evolution and classification of flowering plants: Shared derived features, origins of angiosperms, early angiosperms, evolution of characters, Cronquist’s classification, Dahlgren’s classification, High level classification, Approaches to classification (Phenetics& Cladistics); Identification and Nomenclature: concepts, approaches, Keys Traditional Identification Methods (expert determination, recognition, deductive recognition, comparison), Printed Sequential Keys, Using Printed Sequential Keys; Angiosperm evolution and classification: ‘Dicots’, Monocots & Recognition; Selected common plant families in Bhutan: (Apiaceae (carrot family),  Asteraceae (daisy or sunflower family,Cupressaceae (cypress family), Ericaceae (rhododendron family), Orchidaceae (orchid family), Pinaceae (pine family), Ranunculaceae (buttercup or crowfoot family), Rosaceae (rose family), Solanaceae (potato family), Rutaceae (orange family),Proteaceae (legumes), Species Concepts: Morphological species concept, Phylogenetic species concept,  Ecological species concept, Biological species concept); Speciation: (Allopatric speciation, speciation without geographical isolation; Parapatric speciation; Sympatric speciation).

Unit II Evolution of Life

Natural selection and adaptation: Requirements for natural selection, variation is abundant in population, not all variation is inherited, Individual vary greatly in their reproductive success; Adaptation: How do we recognize adaptations? Constraints on adaptation, Types of selection-Directional selection; Stabilizing; Diversifying (or disruptive), Frequency dependent selection, Selection pressure can be variable, Neutral evolution, Mechanisms that cause random genetic change in populations, Genetic bottleneck, Founder effect, Mutation, Sexual recombination; Evolution of sex and sexual selection: The cost of sex, Benefits of sex, Genetic variation and purging (removal), Tangled bank model, Red queen model, Sexual selection (Sexual dimorphism), Is sex different from natural selection?, Mechanisms of sexual selection, Male-female competition, Female choice, Runaway selection hypotheses, Good genes hypothesis, Can female choice improve offspring quality? Role reversals, Sexual selection in plants: Floral displays enhance male mating opportunities, Selective abortion as a mechanism for female choice; Evolution of life-histories: Life-histories are diverse, Trade-offs- Cost of reproduction, number versus size trade-offs, Life history strategies (The r and K concept); Kin Selection: Altruistic behavior, Kin selection, Hamilton’s Rule, Testing Hamilton’s rule, Social insects, and Reciprocal altruism.