Advanced Systematics (ENT 568/EEOB 568)



Dr. Lynn Clark; office: 345 Bessey; lab: 349 Bessey; phone: 294-8218 (O), 515-432-2427 (H); e-mail:

Dr. Greg Courtney; office: 432 Science II; lab: 404 (or 419) Science II; phone: 294-4017 (O), 294-3191 (L), 233-3280 (H); e-mail:

Required Texts

Schuh, R.T. 2000. Biological Systematics. Principles and Applications. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY

Winston, J.E. 1999. Describing Species. Practical Taxonomic Procedure for Biologists. Columbia University Press, New York, NY

Course Objectives

  1. Review the history, principles, and practical applications of systematic biology;
  2. Introduce basic principles and procedures in taxonomy, nomenclature, and classification;
  3. Survey the sources and interpretation of systematic data;
  4. Overview and provide training in the fundamentals of phylogenetic systematics.

Lecture Format

Lectures will be organized in two major sections, the first providing basic knowledge of revisionary taxonomy and the second focused on phylogenetic principles. Topics will include principles and methods of zoological and botanical/fungal nomenclature, biotic inventory, description of new taxa, phylogenetic analysis, and classification. Laboratory exercises will delve into natural history collections, protocols for basic taxonomic studies (including species description), and methods of phylogenetic analysis with a particular emphasis on morphoanatomical characters.

Grading criteria

Grades will be based on class participation and a series of assignments, as follows:

Participation in discussions (100 points) 10%
Nomenclature assignment (100 points) 10%
Key assignment (150 points) 15%
Phylogenetic reconstruction assignments (150 points) 15%
Species description (200 points) 20%
Presentation & Abstract / bibliography (300 points) 30%

Course policies

Attendance. If you are unable to attend class due to illness or some other reason, please let one of us know ahead of time.

Honesty. Group studying can be a very effective learning tool, and we expect that you will discuss course material with each other. Except where an assignment is specifically for teams, however, the work you submit must be your own. All sources for your paper must be identified, and all direct quotations must be attributed—plagiarism is a very serious offense. Disciplinary action will be initiated in any suspected case of academic dishonesty.

Updated 2011-01-12 12:40