ECOLOGY AND ADAPTATION
Biology 131. Ecology and Adaptation (4)
Three hours lecture; three hours laboratory
A study of the distribution, abundance, and diversity of organisms in nature. The laboratory component will teach basic laboratory skills while enhancing students' ability to conduct field sampling, observational studies, and experiments. This is the first course in a four-course sequence intended for biology, medical technology, and other science majors. This core sequence serves as a foundation and prerequisite for further study in biology.
Detailed Description of Content of Course
Adaptations to physiological stress in plants and animals, natural selection
Energy/water/nutrient/temperature regulation in plants and animals
Plant and animal sensory systems
Behavioral mediation of physiological stress
Proximate vs. ultimate causes
Sociobiology and social behavior
Evolution of behavior, interaction of genes and environment
Simple population models
Methods of population estimation
Life history and demography
Species interactions (Predation, Mutualism, Competition, Parasitism, etc.)
Ecosystem and Landscape Ecology
Major biomes and climate
Introduction to GIS
Major threats to biodiversity
Habitat fragmentation, edge effects, reserve design
Restoration, preservation, sustainability
Evolution of Life's Diversity
Classification of organisms: basics of systematics and phylogeny
Adaptive radiation, modes of speciation, global patterns of species diversity
Detailed Description of Conduct of Course
The course will be taught in classroom and laboratory sessions. Classroom work will be a combination of lecture, discussion, group work, team learning, and case studies as determined by the instructor, in coordination with the instructors for the other core courses. Basic skills in critical reading, writing, and quantitative biology will be emphasized. Students will be expected to read beyond their textbooks, write original critical/synthetic documents, and use mathematical/statistical/graphical approaches to understand data.
The laboratory meetings will be coordinated with the other courses in the core sequence to provide the students with the skills to design experiments/field studies to test hypotheses and to report their results in the style typical of the biological literature. This course will also teach students the following basic scientific skills:
• Weighing, measuring liquids, making solutions.
• Measuring environmental parameters (pH, dissolved oxygen, etc.)
• Identification of organisms, using dichotomous keys.
• Measuring abundance and distribution of organisms in the field.
• Quantifying animal behavior.
• Measuring physiological functions of whole organisms.
• Designing experimental or observational protocol.
• Data recording, management, documentation.
• Using the metric system.
• Graphical analysis of data.
Goals and Objectives of Course
Students successfully completing this course will be able to:
• Make meaningful natural history observations in the field.
• Estimate the abundance of organisms in the field.
• Describe the mechanisms of natural selection and macroevolution.
• Explain the principles of biogeography.
• Use simple population/demography models to make quantitative predictions.
• Describe the array of ways that species interact.
• Use a dichotomous key to identify an organism.
• Describe the three domains and their relationships to each other.
• Accurately weigh samples, accurately measure liquids.
• Calculate concentrations and prepare solutions.
• Measure some environmental chemical parameters (pH, dissolved oxygen, soil moisture, etc.).
• Record, manage, document, graph and analyze data.
• Design experimental or observational protocol.
Reading and writing skills will be assessed through class discussions and written assignments (i.e. review papers, position papers). Knowledge of specific course content will be assessed with quizzes, tests, and/or lab practical exams. Quantitative skills will be assessed in lab assignments, quizzes and tests.
Other Course Information
Approval and Approval
DATE ACTION REVIEWED BY
New Course October 22, 2007