Fall 2014 Courses

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BIOL 1023. Personal Genomes.
An introduction to the field of genetics and its impact on the modern world. As the cost of DNA sequence analysis plummets, many believe that sequencing entire genomes of individuals will soon become part of our routine preventative health care. How can information gleaned from your genome affect decisions about your health? Beyond medical applications, how might personal genetic information be used in other areas of your life, and society as a whole? What ethical, legal, and social issues are raised by widespread use of genetic information? These questions are explored through readings, discussion, and writing assignments.
BIOL 1101. Biological Principles I.
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 1101 {101}. Students continuing in biology will take Biology 1102 {102}, not Biology 1109 {109}, as their next biology course.
BIOL 1109A. Scientific Reasoning in Biology.
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 used in 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 1109 {109}.
BIOL 1109B. Scientific Reasoning in Biology.
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 used in 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 1109 {109}.
BIOL 1174. Biomathematics.
A study of mathematical modeling in biology, with a focus on translating back and forth between biological questions and their mathematical representation. Biological questions are drawn from a broad range of topics, including disease, ecology, genetics, population dynamics, and neurobiology. Mathematical methods include discrete and continuous (ODE) models and simulation, box models, linearization, stability analysis, attractors, oscillations, limiting behavior, feedback, and multiple time-scales. Three hours of class meetings and 1.5 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.
BIOL 2124. Biochemistry and Cell Biology.
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. Not open to students who have credit for Biology 2423 (223).
BIOL 2135. Neurobiology.
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.
BIOL 2175. Developmental Biology.
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.
BIOL 2210. Plant Physiology.
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.
BIOL 2315. Behavioral Ecology and Population Biology.
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.
BIOL 2319. Biology of Marine Organisms.
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 four hours of laboratory or field trip per week. One weekend field trip included.
BIOL 2330. Marine Molecular Ecology and Evolution.
Features the application of molecular data to ecological and evolutionary problems in the sea. Hands on laboratory work will introduce students to sampling, generation, and analysis of molecular data sets with Sanger-based technology and Next Generation Sequencing. Lectures, discussions, and computer-based simulations will demonstrate the relevant theoretical principles of population genetics and phylogenetics. A class project will begin a long-term sampling program that uses DNA barcoding to understand temporal and spatial change in the ocean. Taught at the Bowdoin Marine Laboratory.
BIOL 2553. Neurophysiology.
A comparative study of the function of the nervous system in invertebrate and vertebrate animals. Topics include the mechanism that underlie both action potentials and patterns of spontaneous activity in individual nerve cells, interactions between neurons, and the organization of neurons into larger functional units. Lectures and four hours of laboratory work per week.
BIOL 2571. Biology of Marine Mammals.
Examines the biology of cetaceans, pinnipeds, sirenians, and sea otters. Topics include diversity, evolution, morphology, physiology, ecology, behavior, and conservation. Detailed consideration given to the adaptations that allow these mammals to live in the sea. Includes lecture, discussion of primary literature, lab, field trips, and student-selected case studies. Laboratory and field exercises consider anatomy, biogeography, social organization, foraging ecology, population dynamics, bioacoustics, and management of the marine mammal species found in the Gulf of Maine.
BIOL 2581. Forest Ecology and Conservation.
An examination of how forest ecology and the principles of silviculture inform forest ecosystem restoration and conservation. Explores ecological dynamics of forest ecosystems, the science of managing forests for tree growth and other goals, natural history and historic use of forest resources, and the state of forests today, as well as challenges and opportunities in forest restoration and conservation. Consists of lecture, discussions, field trips, and guest seminars by professionals working in the field.
BIOL 3301. Dimensions of Marine Biodiversity.
Focused laboratory and fieldwork that integrates across the genetic, systematic, and functional aspects of marine biodiversity to understand the ecological and evolutionary significance of biodiversity. The course will illustrate this approach by featuring 3-4 different evolutionary clades that are the foundations of different marine communities (e.g. coastal zooplankton, rocky intertidal, soft-bottom benthos, tropical coral reefs, and marine mammals). Taught at the Bowdoin Marine Laboratory.
BIOL 3304. The RNA World.
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 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.
BIOL 3314. Advanced Genetics and Epigenetics.
A seminar exploring the complex relationship between genotype and phenotype, with an emphasis on emerging studies of lesser-known mechanisms of inheritance and gene regulation. Topics include dosage compensation, parental imprinting, paramutation, random monoallelic expression, gene regulation by small RNAs, DNA elimination, copy number polymorphism, and prions. Reading and discussion of articles from the primary literature.
BIOL 3329. Neuronal Regeneration.
The consequences of neuronal damage in humans, especially in the brain and spinal cord, are frequently devastating and permanent. Invertebrates, on the other hand, are often capable of complete functional regeneration. Examines the varied responses to neuronal injury in a range of species. Topics include neuronal regeneration in planaria, insects, amphibians, and mammals. Students read and discuss original papers from the literature in an attempt to understand the basis of the radically different regenerative responses mounted by a variety of neuronal systems.