Fall 2011 Courses

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025. Venoms and Toxins
Glen Ernstrom M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
A seminar exploring a select group of nature’s most potent drugs, including several different venoms and toxins, the organisms that make them, and what these compounds reveal about how cells normally work. Introduction to modern scientific investigation through debates and discussions about the ethics surrounding the use and study of venoms and toxins.
101. Biological Principles I
Anne McBride T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
The first in a two-semester introductory biology sequence. Topics include fundamental principles of cellular and molecular biology with an emphasis on providing a problem-solving approach to an understanding of genes, RNA, proteins, and cell structure and communication. Focuses on developing quantitative skills, as well as critical thinking and problem solving skills. Lecture and weekly laboratory/discussion groups. To ensure proper placement, students must take the biology placement examination and must be recommended for placement in Biology 101. Students continuing in biology will take Biology 102, not Biology 109, as their next biology course.
109. Scientific Reasoning in Biology
Amy Johnson M 8:30 - 9:25, W 8:30 - 9:25, F 8:30 - 9:25
Lectures examine fundamental biological principles, from the sub-cellular to the ecosystem level with an emphasis on critical thinking and the scientific method. Laboratory sessions will help develop a deeper understanding of the techniques and methods of the biological science by requiring students to design and conduct their own experiments. Lecture and weekly laboratory/discussion groups. To ensure proper placement, students must take the biology placement examination and must be recommended for placement in Biology 109.
174. Biomathematics
Mary Zeeman T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
A study of mathematical methods driven by questions in biology. Biological questions are drawn from a broad range of topics, including disease, ecology, genetics, population dynamics, neurobiology, endocrinology, and biomechanics. Mathematical methods include compartmental models, matrices, linear transformations, eigenvalues, eigenvectors, matrix iteration, and simulation; ODE models and simulation, stability analysis, attractors, oscillations and limiting behavior, mathematical consequences of feedback, and multiple time-scales. Three hours of class meetings and two hours of computer laboratory sessions per week. Within the biology major, this course may count as the mathematics credit or as biology credit, but not both. Students are expected to have taken a year of high school or college biology prior to this course
202. 3-D Digital Animation Studio
Carey Phillips M 1:00 - 3:55, W 1:00 - 3:55
Explores the uses of art and three-dimensional animations in communicating complex dynamic and spatial relationships, primarily as they pertain to explaining scientific concepts. Students use primary literature to explore a science problem in a seminar-type format. Study of filmmaking and use of high-end three-dimensional animation software. Concludes with a team effort to create a three-dimensional animated film of the science problem.
210. Plant Physiology
Barry Logan M 11:30 - 12:25, W 11:30 - 12:25, F 11:30 - 12:25
An introduction to the physiological processes that enable plants to grow under the varied conditions found in nature. General topics discussed include the acquisition, transport, and use of water and mineral nutrients, photosynthetic carbon assimilation, and the influence of environmental and hormonal signals on development and morphology. Adaptation and acclimation to extreme environments and other ecophysiological subjects are also discussed. Weekly laboratories reinforce principles discussed in lecture and expose students to modern research techniques.
213. Neurobiology
Osceola Whitney M 11:30 - 12:25, W 11:30 - 12:25, F 11:30 - 12:25
Examines fundamental concepts in neurobiology from the molecular to the systems level. Topics include neuronal communication, gene regulation, morphology, neuronal development, axon guidance, mechanisms of neuronal plasticity, sensory systems, and the molecular basis of behavior and disease. Weekly lab sessions introduce a wide range of methods used to examine neurons and neuronal systems.
215. Behavioral Ecology and Population Biology
Nathaniel Wheelwright T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Study of the behavior of animals and plants, and the interactions between organisms and their environment. Topics include population growth and structure, and the influence of competition, predation, and other factors on the behavior, abundance, and distribution of plants and animals. Laboratory sessions, field trips, and research projects emphasize concepts in ecology, evolution and behavior, research techniques, and the natural history of local plants and animals. Optional field trip to the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island.
217. Developmental Biology
William Jackman T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
An examination of current concepts of embryonic development, with an emphasis on experimental design. Topics include cell fate specification, morphogenetic movements, cell signaling, differential gene expression and regulation, organogenesis, and the evolutionary context of model systems. Project-oriented laboratory work emphasizes experimental methods. Lectures and three hours of laboratory per week.
219. Biology of Marine Organisms
Amy Johnson T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
The study of the biology and ecology of marine mammals, seabirds, fish, intertidal and subtidal invertebrates, algae, and plankton. Also considers the biogeographic consequences of global and local ocean currents on the evolution and ecology of marine organisms. Laboratories, field trips, and research projects emphasize natural history, functional morphology, and ecology. Lectures and three hours of laboratory or field trip per week. One weekend field trip included.
224. Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Rachel Larsen T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Focuses on the structure and function of cells as we have come to know them through the interpretation of direct observations and experimental results. Emphasis is on the scientific (thought) processes that have allowed us to understand what we know today, emphasizing the use of genetic, biochemical, and optical analysis to understand fundamental biological processes. Covers details of the organization and expression of genetic information, and the biosynthesis, sorting, and function of cellular components within the cell. Concludes with examples of how cells perceive signals from other cells within cell populations, tissues, organisms, and the environment. Three hours of lab each week. Chemistry 225 is recommended.
225. Biodiversity and Conservation Science
John Lichter M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25
People rely on nature for food, materials, medicines, and recreation; yet, the fate of Earth’s biodiversity is rarely given priority among the many pressing problems facing humanity today. Explores the interactions within and among populations of plants, animals, and microorganisms, and the mechanisms by which those interactions are regulated by the physical and chemical environment. Major themes are biodiversity and the processes that maintain biodiversity, the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function, and the science underlying conservation efforts. Laboratory sessions consist of student research, local field trips, laboratory exercises, and discussions of current and classic ecological literature.
253. Neurophysiology
Patsy Dickinson T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
A comparative study of the function of the nervous system in invertebrate and vertebrate animals. Topics include the physiology of individual nerve cells and their organization into larger functional units, the behavioral responses of animals to cues from the environment, and the neural mechanisms underlying such behaviors. Lectures and four hours of laboratory work per week.
274. Marine Conservation Biology
Damon Gannon W 9:00 - 10:25, F 9:00 - 10:25
Introduces key biological concepts that are essential for understanding conservation issues. Explores biodiversity in the world’s major marine ecosystems; the mechanisms of biodiversity loss at the genetic, species, and ecosystem levels; and the properties of marine systems that pose unique conservation challenges. Investigates the theory and practice of marine biodiversity conservation, focusing on the interactions among ecology, economics, and public policy. Consists of lecture/discussion, lab, field trips, guest seminars by professionals working in the field, and student-selected case studies.
304. Topics in Molecular Biology
Anne McBride M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Seminar exploring the numerous roles of ribonucleic acid, from the discovery of RNA as a cellular messenger to the development of RNAs to treat disease. Topics covered also include RNA enzymes, interactions of RNA viruses with host cells, RNA tools in biotechnology, and RNA as a potential origin of life. Focuses on discussions of papers from the primary literature.
325. Topics in Neuroscience
Patsy Dickinson M 11:30 - 12:25, W 11:30 - 12:25, F 11:30 - 12:25
An advanced seminar focusing on one or more aspects of neuroscience, such as neuronal regeneration and development, modulation of neuronal activity, or the neural basis of behavior. Students read and discuss original papers from the literature.
335. Neurogenetics
Glen Ernstrom T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
A seminar examining the use of genetic analyses in model organisms to dissect complex neuronal circuits that underlie behavior, and to provide informative models for neurodegenerative disease. Introduces advances in new technologies that combine genetics and physics, such as optical-genetic methods and super-resolution light microscopy. Reading and discussion of research papers from the primary literature.
394. Ecological Recovery of Maine's Coastal Ecosystems
John Lichter T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
Maine’s coastal ecosystems once supported prodigious abundances of wildlife that supported human communities for millennia before succumbing to multiple anthropogenic stresses in the mid-20th century. Today, we need to understand the most pressing ecological and social constraints limiting recovery of these once vital ecosystems to achieve sustainable ecological recovery and provision of ecosystem services. The objective of this interdisciplinary senior seminar is to better understand the biophysical and social constraints limiting ecological recovery, and to rethink the failed management policies of the past. Students participate in a thorough review of the relevant scientific and historical literature and conduct a group study investigating some aspect of the ecology and/or the environmental history of Maine’s coastal ecosystems.