Biology 101 - Principles of Biology 1: We will be learning about topics that occupy both extremes of the biological hierarchy, including the areas of biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, evolution and ecology. In lab, students will learn basic problem solving skills and empirical approaches to evaluating truth claims,
Biology 102 - Principles of Biology II: We will be learning about topics that are centered in the biological hierarchy, including diversity of life, and plant and animal anatomy and physiology. Most of the labs have a strong anatomy (dissection) component - though that is subject to change.
Biology 103 - Environmental Biology - We will explore how the natural world works, and how scientists evaluate the answer to the age-old question "what's up?" We'll also try to answer the other age-old question of "Who cares?"
Biology 105 - Concepts of Biology: This course introduces some of the basic processes of life and science. We will emphasize understanding the process of evolution, and how molecular and cellular processes operate within life forms. Labs will investigate a variety of scientific methods. This course is designed for students who are not biology majors, but who intend to take future biology courses in microbiology and/or human anatomy and physiology.
Biology 122 - General Biology - This is the second semester of the introductory sequence for biology majors. We study the diversity of life, and the physiological processes underlying this diversity. The entire course is presented within an evolutionary framework.
Biology 131 - Ecology and Adaptation - This is the first semester of the introductory sequence for Biology majors. We study the interactions between organisms and the environment (including other organisms) and how natural selection has influenced adaptations that influence the distribution and abundance of species on a local, regional and global scale.
Biology 216 - General Zoology: The Biology elective studies animal diversity and evolution from a physiological and ecological perspective. When possible, the labs will be conducted outdoors - in many cases at Selu Conservancy or Wildwood Park. Labs focus on developing observational skills, data collection and analytical skills.
Biology 353 - Comparative Behavior: In this Biology elective, students learn to ask and answer both proximate and ultimate questions about animal behavior with a slightly heavier emphasis on the adaptive significance of differences in animal behavior. There is no taxonomic bias. Some lecture time is spent in small group discussion of papers from the primary literature. All of the labs involve collecting observational data on behavior, and there is a major student project at the end of the course.
Biology 423 - General Ecology: This Biology core course is usually taken during the senior year. We study the distribution and abundance of organisms, and their interactions with each other and the environment. Some lecture time is spent in small group discussion of papers from the primary literature. Labs emphasize experimental design, data collection and analysis. There is a major student project at the end of the course.
Biology 425 - Evolution: This Biology core course is usually taken during the senior year. We place heavy emphasis on how we establish truth in a historical science - how hypothesis are tested and revised in accordance with empirical and theoretical findings. We study both micro- and macroevolutionary processes, patterns and trends, and also do some simple modeling. Considerable lecture time is spent in small group discussion of papers from the primary literature. There is no lab.
Biology 481 - Special Topics. Field Ecology: This Biology elective was offered for the first time during Maymester, 2003. The emphasis was on asking important ecological questions, designing experiments and observations to test these questions, and collecting and analyzing the data in an appropriate manner. All of the research was conducted in the field, primarily at Selu Conservancy, the Dewese Biological Preserve and Wildwood Park. During the final week, students conducted an investigation on a problem of their own choosing.
Biology 491 - Directed Study and Research: Students sign up for 1-6 credits to do research under my dubious guidance. My current students are Laura Currence, Emily Gabbert and Amanda Jessup. We are investigating whether zebrafish associate with their own phenotype in preference to an alternative phenotype (wild-type with stripes vs. mutant leopard with spots). If these preferences exist, are they due to a history of being associated with their own phenotype? Or are these preferences innate? If due to association, when in development are these preferences learned? If fish are raised as a minority phenotype in a mixed tank, which phenotype will they prefer to associate with? Finally, how will these preferences influence subsequent mate choice? Answers to these questions should be forthcoming in the next few months.
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