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FC6 - Departamento de Ciência de Computadores FC5 - Edifício Central FC4 - Departamento de Biologia FC3 - Departamento de Física e Astronomia e Departamento GAOT FC2 - Departamento de Química e Bioquímica FC1 - Departamento de Matemática


Master's degree in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution

General information

Official Code: 6020
Acronym: M:BGE
Description: The Master’s of Science in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution provide advanced training for First Cycle Degree holders in Biology, Agricultural Science and Veterinary Medicine or other related degrees for those students who wish to obtain a Postgraduate degree in the area of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology or who wish to improve their knowledge aiming at applying it in nature conservation issues.

All levels of organisation will be studied from the gene and genome level to that of populations and ecosystems. The programme intends to provide advanced training in the use of new analytical methods and new technologies, particularly in the application of geographic information systems and techniques of molecular and populational genetics.

The course is taught in English. Exceptionally, some curricular units may be taught in Portuguese if there are no international students enrolled


  • Master's degree in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution (120 ECTS credits)
  • Specialization in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution (60 ECTS credits)

Courses Units


B4060 - ECTS

The aim of the course is to familiarize students with ongoing research in different fields of study in biodiversity, genetics and evolution.

Phylogenetic and Systematics Analysis

B4001 - ECTS

The course aims to give students an understanding of the importance of phylogenetics for systematics, comparative biology, biomedical issues and conservation planning. Widely used methodologies are discussed and compared, along with the relative philosophies behind each method. 

Conservation and Management of Biodiversity

B4012 - ECTS

The goal of this course is to familiarize the students with the main scientific concepts and approaches to the conservation of biological diversity, with a strongly applied focus. The course will provide a broad understanding at the introductory level of conservation biology themes associated with the definition of conservation objectives and priorities, ecological land planning, population and metapopulation viability modeling, and management of ecosystems for conservation. It is also expected that students will develop ability to interpret primary scientific literature and effectively communicate information on topics in conservation biology.

Experimental Design

B4059 - ECTS

Most biologists contact with the problems of experimental design in a relaxed manner or not at all, refining their experiments empirically on a trial-error basis. During this course special attention will be paid to the logic underlying the whole process of experimental design, from drawing hypothesis, selection of statistical tests, planning and setup of experiments that unambiguously lead to interpretable results.

Population Genetics and Phylogeography

B4052 - ECTS

It is intended with this curricular unit provide students with a deeper knowledge in the field of population genetics, phylogeography and speciation. 

Molecular Methods in Biological Diversity Analysis

B4038 - ECTS

The main objective of the course is to provide students a deep understanding of the use of molecular tools in the study and comprehension of biological diversity. Complementing the different theoretical aspects related with the development, measurement and analysis of molecular markers a special effort will be dedicated to the contact with diverse laboratory techniques and analytical tools related with molecular data, with special emphasis on the DNA and RNA level.

Computational Analysis of Molecular Data

B4048 - ECTS

The aim of this curricular unit is to provide training in conceptual and practical aspects of data analysis of population genomics datasets, with emphasis on applications. This includes an introduction on the main concepts of coalescent, Bayesian, approximate Bayesian (ABC), and likelihood-based approaches. Emphasis will be on interpretation of output from statistical approaches and software programs. The main computational methods to analyze molecular data from high-throughput sequencing and to estimate demography and selection will also be taught.

Evolutionary Basis of Human Genetic Variation

B4005 - ECTS


The objective of this course is to couple population genetics theory with empirical studies of human variation to provide an overview of the role of different evolutionary factors in shaping the current biological diversity of human populations.

Biodiversity of Aquatic Ecosystems

B4049 - ECTS


  1. Explain the specificities and importance of biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems and its distribution.
  2. Explore the current state and evolution of aquatic biodiversity, the reasons for the present trends and the consequences for the scenarios found.
  3. Explore the current strategies and instruments for sustainable management and conservation of marine biodiversity
  4. Provide practical tools for the field and laboratory study of biodiversity of benthic ecosystems and  for the study of microbial biodiversity of the water column.  
  5. Explore tools for analyzing data collected from the field, laboratory and literature
  6. Train for building proposals for research projects in biodiversity


Biodiversity of Land Ecosystems

B4006 - ECTS

1. To understand the multi-scalar patterns of biodiversity in space and time in terrestrial ecosystems as well as their causes;

2. To recognise the major terrestrial biomes, their global distribution and their characteristic biodiversity;

3. To identify the factors of disturbance and the main causes of the decline of biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems;

4. To recognise the importance of conservation biology and of ecological monitoring in the preservation of biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems.


B4007 - ECTS

The module Biogeography is aimed at giving a broad perspective on spatial patterns of biodiversity. It will be given an introduction to the discipline focusing on concepts and historical research on the subject. It will be discussed the distribution of single-species and communities with emphasis on methods for representing biodiversity distribution, spatial and temporal shifts in biodiversity distribution and the distribution of terrestrial biomes. It will be reviewed major biogeographical processes that originate, shit and maintain the geographic range of biodiversity. It will be discussed major geographic trends in the distribution of biodiversity, such as gradients and hotspots, from global to local scales. It will be given an introduction to methods for analysing geographic distribution including Ecological-Niche based models and Geographical Information Systems. Finally, it will be presented the concepts, aims and work methods on Conservation Biogeography.


Behavioral Ecology

B4019 - ECTS

The aim of this course is to provide the students with an overview of the field of behavioural ecology, the main topics currently investigated in this area and the methodologies used. The students will be introduced to key fields such as sexual selection, signaling and cooperation. Through the course the students should acquire a good understanding of how the behavioural features of organisms may be shaped by the environment and therefore the central role that behaviour plays in the adaptation of organisms. The course will provide training also in central research techniques in this area, such as comparative analyses, and favor the development of critical thinking and research panning and assessment through an original evaluating process.

Conservation Genetics

B4027 - ECTS

The main goal of this course is to apply the basis of theoretical and practical of evolutionary biology and molecular genetics on the conservation of biological diversity. In particular, aims to explain and demonstrate how the recent advances in molecular genetics can help in maintaining the species and/or populations as dynamic entities, capable to survive to environmental changes, and thus minimizing their extinction risk.

Genetic and Evolution of Aquatic Organisms

B4053 - ECTS

The objectives of the course focus on providing the students with different tools to deep their knowledge about the patterns of biological diversification in marine and freshwater ecosystems, and in the historical and contemporary processes driving their geographic, ecological and genetic diversification.


B4065 - ECTS

Elaboration of a research project proposal that could lead to the achievement of a master's thesis.


Geographic Information Systems Applied to Biodiversity

EG4007 - ECTS

To teach the theoretical concepts needed to the manipulate and analyze spatial data in a GIS, with the description of case studies in Biology.


B5012 - ECTS Scientific Research work leading to the development of a master's thesis
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