Principles of Systematics - Integrative Biology 467


Professor: Sydney Cameron

Department of Entomology
215B Morrill Hall

office hours: by appointment, 215B MH

TA: Andrew Debevec

M.Sc. Student in Entomology
215 Morrill Hall

office hours: by appointment, 215 MH

UIUC Courses Catalog Description:

Comprehensive survey of the theory and methodology of systematics, with an emphasis on molecular phylogenetics as applied to any group of organisms or data, including practical experience in the acquisition and analysis of data (genes to morphology) for phylogenetic inference.


Systematics is an ever-changing discipline that examines the the diversity of organisms, their genealogical relationships, and patterns of evolution. Thus, it constitutes the underlying basis for organizing our knowledge of modern biology.

This course provides a comprehensive survey of the theory and methods of systematics, focusing on modern methods of phylogenetics. This course is directed at those advanced undergraduate and graduate students interested in studies of organismal biology, evolutionary biology, biodiversity and conservation, and phylogenetics. Phylogenetics is concerned with the reconstruction and analysis of trees to examine to examine the evolution of organisms, from species to populations to genes. It is fundamental to discovering the evolutionary interrelationships among all living organisms and the patterns of evolution, including rapid radiations of organisms in the 'tree of life'. It is used widely in molecular biology, anthropology and linguistics, and has advanced rapidly via the development of new statistical and computational techniques. With the availability of a wealth of new biological data, from genes to genomes, phylogenetics has become an essential foundation for all of biology.

Some specific topics to be discussed include the major contemporary schools of systematics, the methodologies of phylogenetic inference, including maximum likelihood and Bayesian techniques, molecular phylogenetics, phylogenomics, the use of databases, research collections and other resources, and the application of the results of systematic studies in the areas of biogeography, speciation, co-evolution, and biodiversity and conservation. The laboratory will provide hands-on experience in the acquisition and analysis of various types of biological data, from molecules to morphology. You will gain familiarity with the use of multiple contemporary computer programs currently used in phylogenetic inference.


IB 150 and a course in evolutionary biology, or consent of instructor.


4 hours or 1 unit

Time & Place:

Lecture: TuTh 9:30-10:50 AM, 407 Morrill Hall
Lab: Tu 1-3:50 PM, 164d Burrill Hall


None required. Readings are available online.

Required Laboratory Exercises:

Laboratory attendance is mandatory. Laboratory exercises for IB 467 will be uploaded to the Lab Syllabus prior to lab sessions. Please print and read the exercise before coming to lab.

Supplementary Materials:

A number of supplemental books can be found in the Cameron Lab.

IB 467 Home                School of Integrative Biology                University of Illinois