Spring 2015

  • The College Catalogue has a class finder tool to search for courses by title, instructor, department, and more.
  • Login to Blackboard. Instructional materials are available on a course-by-course basis.
BIOL 1059. Plants and Symbiosis.
Interdependence between organisms is a ubiquitous feature in biology with important consequences for how we think about the world. Plant biology is used as a starting point to explore a variety of inter-species, particularly symbiotic, interactions observed in nature.Theories of the origin, maintenance and persistence of symbioses are discussed. Biological examples include ancient intracellular symbioses underlying photosynthesis and respiration, plus interactions between plants, pathogens, parasites, and symbionts, including nitrogen fixersand nutrient scavengers important to human food supply. An experimental research project in plant biology demonstrates the scientific process.
BIOL 1091. Bird Song.
A study of the biology of birdsong, including the mechanics, anatomy, neurobiology, endocrinology, ecology and evolution of sound production and recognition in birds. Students will be responsible for recognizing the songs and calls of common Maine birds and analyzing them using sonograms. We will also explore the sounds produced by other animals, particularly insects and frogs, and explore the relationships between “music” in humans and birds. Required field trips, research project, and anatomy laboratories. Although no biology (or music) experience is required or presumed, students should have a strong interest in learning about birds. Weekly one-hour lab. Not open to students who have credit for a biology course.
BIOL 1102. Biological Principles II.
The second in a two-semester introductory biology sequence. Emphasizes fundamental biological principles extending from the physiological to the ecosystem level of living organisms. Topics include physiology, ecology, and evolutionary biology, with a focus on developing quantitative skills as well as critical thinking and problem solving skills. Lecture and weekly laboratory/discussion groups.
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 1158. Perspectives in Environmental Science.
Functioning of the earth system is defined by the complex and fascinating interaction of processes within and between four principal spheres: land, air, water, and life. Leverages key principles of environmental chemistry and ecology to unravel the intricate connectedness of natural phenomena and ecosystem function. Fundamental biological and chemical concepts are used to understand the science behind the environmental dilemmas facing societies as a consequence of human activities. Laboratory sessions consist of local field trips, laboratory experiments, group research, case study exercises, and discussions of current and classic scientific literature.
BIOL 2112. Genetics and Molecular Biology.
Integrated coverage of organismic and molecular levels of genetic systems. Topics include modes of inheritance, the structure and function of chromosomes, the mechanisms and control of gene expression, recombination, mutagenesis, techniques of molecular biology, and human genetic variation. Laboratory sessions are scheduled.
BIOL 2118. Microbiology.
An examination of the structure and function of microorganisms, from viruses to bacteria to fungi, with an emphasis on molecular descriptions. Subjects covered include microbial structure, metabolism, and genetics. Control of microorganisms and environmental interactions are also discussed. Laboratory sessions every week. Chemistry 2250 {225} is recommended.
BIOL 2214. Comparative Physiology.
An examination of animal function, from the cellular to the organismal level. The underlying concepts are emphasized, as are the experimental data that support our current understanding of animal function. Topics include the nervous system, hormones, respiration, circulation, osmoregulation, digestion, and thermoregulation. Labs are short, student-designed projects involving a variety of instrumentation. Lectures and four hours of laboratory work per week.
BIOL 2316. Evolution.
Examines one of the most breathtaking ideas in the history of science—that all life on this planet descended from a common ancestor. An understanding of evolution illuminates every subject in biology, from molecular biology to ecology. Provides a broad overview of evolutionary ideas, including the modern theory of evolution by natural selection, evolution of sexual reproduction, patterns of speciation and macro-evolutionary change, evolution of sexual dimorphisms, selfish genetic elements, and kin selection. Laboratory sessions are devoted to semester-long, independent research projects.
BIOL 2554. Biomechanics.
Examines the quantitative and qualitative characterization of organismal morphology and explores the relationship of morphology to measurable components of an organism’s mechanical, hydrodynamic, and ecological environment. Lectures, problem sets, and individual research projects emphasize (1) the analysis of morphology, including analyses of the shape of individual organisms, different modes of locomotion and the mechanical and molecular organization of the tissues; (2) characterization of water flow associated with organisms; and (3) analyses of the ecological and mechanical consequences to organisms of their interaction with their environment.This year students can choose to participate in an optional research field trip to the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory for 10 days during spring break. One research project at MDIBL will be on lobster heart neuromechanics in collaboration with Neuroscience Professor Patsy Dickinson. Biomechanics will count as a neuroscience elective if the student does a neuro-related project at MDIBL. Other projects are possible depending on student interest. If students opt not to participate, they will work on other research projects, typically literature-based. Participation in the field trip is not required and will not impact students' performance in this course. Introductory physics and calculus are strongly recommended.
BIOL 2558. Ornithology.
Advanced study of the biology of birds, including anatomy, physiology, distribution, and systematics, with an emphasis on avian ecology and evolution. Through integrated laboratory sessions, field trips, and discussion of the primary literature, students learn identification of birds, functional morphology, and research techniques such as experimental design, behavioral observation, and field methods. Optional weekend field trip to Monhegan Island or the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island.
BIOL 2566. Molecular Neurobiology.
Examination of the molecular control of neuronal structure and function. Topics include the molecular basis of neuronal excitability, the factors involved in chemical and contact-mediated neuronal communication, and the complex molecular control of developing and regenerating nervous systems. Weekly laboratories complement lectures by covering a range of molecular and cellular techniques used in neurobiology and culminate in brief independent projects.
BIOL 3307. Evolutionary Developmental Biology.
Advanced seminar investigating the synergistic but complex interface between the fields of developmental and evolutionary biology. Topics include the evolution of novel structures, developmental constraints to evolution, evolution of developmental gene regulation, and the generation of variation. Readings and discussions from the primary scientific literature.
BIOL 3333. Advanced Cell and Molecular Biology.
An exploration of the multiple ways cells have evolved to transmit signals from their external environment to cause alterations in cell architecture, physiology, and gene expression. Examples are drawn from both single-cell and multi-cellular organisms, including bacteria, fungi, algae, land plants, insects, worms, and mammals. Emphasis is on the primary literature, with directed discussion and some background introductory remarks for each class.
BIOL 3394. Ecological Recovery in Maine's Coastal Ecosystem.
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-twentieth 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. Objective 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.