First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCN1032607, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
IF0360, Degree course structure A.Y. 2013/14, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 7.0
Type of assessment Mark
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Biology
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge CHIARA PAPETTI BIO/07
Other lecturers LORENZO ZANE BIO/07

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses BIO/07 Ecology 5.0
Core courses BIO/18 Genetics 2.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Practice 1.0 16 9.0 No turn
Lecture 6.0 48 102.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2013 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
ZANE LORENZO (Membro Effettivo)
CONGIU LEONARDO (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of Ecology, Population Genetics, Botany, Zoology and Statistics.
The course will be held in English, hence an understanding of written and spoken English is required.
Target skills and knowledge: "Knowledge: laws and theories of demography and population dynamics, how do organisms move (dispersion and migration) in the marine environment (different from those of the terrestrial environment)? Aspects of molecular ecology (for example what are the main genetic markers for ""molecular ecology"") phylogeography and evolutionary biology. Based on students' previous knowledge, basic statistics (for example what is statistical significance, what statistical tests are used in molecular ecology?) will be addressed.During Lab practicals the students will learn the basics and how to use some very common molecular ecology techniques.

Abilities: Ability to use the acquired knowledge to understand the proposed case studies (also during laboratory work). Ability to decide, based on the acquired statistical knowledge, which test to use or how to interpret the results of a statistical test in molecular ecology and population genetics. Ability to choose the appropriate markers for a specific biological problem, ability to decide, based on data, whether a population structure exists or not in a specific context/species. Ability to identify different stocks or species by applying molecular methods.

Other skills: Planning of a research project on molecular ecology, presentation of the project and constructive and critical debate, design of visual summaries."
Examination methods: "The exam entails two parts: written test with open questions and multiple choice quizes (half of the written exam focuses on aspects of demography and population dynamics and the second part will address knowldge and abilities on the rest of the program) and a group project. The group project will allow to evaluate the ability to propose and describe a biological problem, to plan the execution of a project and to choose and apply a method that is suitable for achieving the project objectives. The group project will be based on the results and experience of the laboratory. This part is worth 10 points while the written assignment is worth 20 points (10 points for demography and population dynamics and 10 points for the rest of the program). All group members will get the same score for group work. The written exam will allow to evaluate the theoretical knowledge. The date of presentation of the group projects will be chosen by mutual agreement with the students, indicatively at the end of the semester or before the first official exam. The written exam will take place during the pre-scheduled exam sessions as published on the exams’ calendar. Easter egg: if you read this syllabus send me a picture of your favorite animal or plant by email.
Some changes to the evaluation plan and to the course general approaches may be agreed on with students. The exam grade is given by the sum of the scores obtained in all the parts.
Details on the structure of the exam, subdivision of the scores between each part will be illustrated again during the first lessons and, upon request, also later. The exam rules will be made available also via moodle (descriptive slides).

To facilitate understanding of the examination procedures and evaluation criteria, a simulation will take place during the course with some of the possible exam questions."
Assessment criteria: Clarity and completeness of the answers provided, mastery of specific terminology. For the group project: clarity in the definition of the biological problem/question, appropriateness of the chosen methods, logic of the expected results and potential effectiveness of the dissemination strategy. Knowledge of unaddressed topics during the course and ability of the student to get out of their comfort learning zone by linking different topics to each other, applying their knowledge to practical problems autonomously.
Course unit contents: "Basics of population ecology: exponential growth curves and discrete logistics. Review of population genetics: factors that determine genetic variability.
Characteristics of marine organisms and their demographic effects. Stochastic models. Models structured by age. Recruitment.
Characteristics of marine organisms and their effects at the genetic level. Effective population size. Environment and distribution of polymorphisms on a geographical and evolutionary scale.
Types of molecular markers: mitochondrial markers, microsatellites, AFLP, SNPs. Laboratory methodologies.
Types of data produced by molecular markers and associated analyzes. Analysis at individual population level. Comparison between populations. Choice of markers in relation to the biological problem. Identification of individuals by genetic markers, marking and recapture with genetic methods, estimation of the historical size of the population, estimation of geographical differentiation, identification of stocks and mixed stock assessment. During the course, examples and case studies will be presented in order to expand on some of the main themes, pointing out the sampling design, the methods and markers used, the characteristics of the species analyzed and the data analysis. During the course, a molecular ecology laboratory will be proposed during which the main basic molecular biology techniques (e.g. DNA extraction, PCR, sequencing / genotpying) will be applied to the solution of an ecological problem. The data will be analyzed with the main molecular analysis software. The results of this laboratory and the biological problem will provide the starting background for the development of a group project."
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: "The course will be in English. To facilitate the adaptation of the lessons and the language to the level of knowledge of the English, an initial test of evaluation of the knowledge of English can be provided to students.
Lectures, group work and analysis of scientific articles in English, laboratory activities, presentation of a project and evaluation among peers (according to a pre-established grid). Interactive activities will also be carried out which include writing short texts and using the internet. We recommend having a smartphone, a laptop or a tablet.

On some specific topics, the teacher's lectures may be supplemented by seminars held by experts in that field.

Moodle will be used a lot for the transfer of study material and assignment of tasks. For group work, students will have to collaborate and discuss in class on topics or problems proposed by the teacher. Interaction with the teacher will be encouraged in an atmosphere of inclusion and accessibility. We believe that learning occurs best through discussion and deliberation, therefore class will be frequently discussion-oriented.

The course implies compelled attendance and therefore attendance will be taken, (it could even be fun!). At the beginning of the course the enrollments will be taken to take part in the molecular ecology laboratory due to organizational issues as this activity requires very early planning and also occurs based on the number of participants.

TThe molecular ecology laboratory is usually held towards the end of the course in December.

Based on the timetable, Prof. Papetti will fix an ""open door - in class"" time before or after the lesson for any questions, in-depth feedback on the lesson and discussions with interested students."
Additional notes about suggested reading: "Slides and additional material will be available via moodle (elearning platform).
Students are welcome to meet the teacher by appointment (via email or phone call).

Individual notes, Specific scientific papers provided during lessons
PDF copy of lessons’ presentations.
For in-depth study, a few texts are suggested (see next session).

The password to access the course on moodle will be provided at the first lesson.

Final statement: This syllabus, like the course, should be seen as an evolving experience, and from time to time changes might become necessary. The teacher reserves herself the right to modify this syllabus, with the stipulation that any changes will be communicated to the entire class clearly and in writing."
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Chelazzi, Guido; Santini, Giacomo, Ecologiadagli organismi agli ecosistemiG. Chelazzi, A. Provini, G. Santini. Milano: CEA, 2004. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Freeland, Joanna; Freeland, Joanna R.; Kirk, Heather; Petersen, Stephen; Petersen, Stephen D., Molecular Ecology. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Rockwood, Larry L., Introduction to population ecologyLarry L. Rockwood. Malden: Blackwell, 2006. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Laboratory
  • Problem based learning
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Working in group
  • Questioning
  • Concept maps
  • Peer feedback
  • Peer assessment
  • Active quizzes for Concept Verification Tests and class discussions
  • Students peer review

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)
  • polleverywhere, kahoot

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Quality Education Gender Equality Clean Water and Sanitation Sustainable Cities and Communities Climate Action Life Below Water Life on Land