Spring 2014 Courses

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BIOL 1059. Plants and Symbiosis.
Samuel Taylor.
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 fixers and nutrient scavengers important to human food supply. An experimental research project in plant biology demonstrates the scientific process.
BIOL 1102. Biological Principles II.
Amy Johnson.
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.
Vladimir Douhovnikoff.
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.
William Jackman.
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.
David Griffith and John Lichter.
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.
Jack Bateman.
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.
Anne McBride.
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.
Patsy Dickinson.
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.
Michael Palopoli.
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 2423. Biochemistry of Cellular Processes.
Bruce Kohorn.
Explores the biochemical mechanisms that underlie the basis of life. Starts with the chemistry of proteins, DNA, lipids, and carbohydrates to build the main elements of a cell. Moves on to the process of gene organization and expression, emphasizing the biochemical mechanisms that regulate these events. Explores next the organization of the cell, with emphasis on genetic and biochemical regulation. Finishes with specific examples of multicellular interactions, including development, cancer, and perception of the environment.
BIOL 2551. Molecular Ecology.
David Carlon.
Develops the theory and practical skills to apply genetic data to ecological questions. Topics will include population connectivity and dispersal, mating systems, detecting natural selection in the wild, and the origin and maintenance of biodiversity. Lectures and discussions will develop theoretical understanding through worked examples. The laboratory provides hands on experience in generating genetic data from marine populations, including modules on sampling design, DNA/RNA extraction, Sanger and Next Generation Sequencing technology, and data analysis through modeling.
BIOL 2554. Biomechanics.
Amy Johnson.
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, labs, field trips, and individual research projects emphasize (1) analysis of morphology, including analyses of the shape of individual organisms as well as of the mechanical and molecular organization of their 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. Introductory physics and calculus are strongly recommended.
BIOL 2566. Molecular Neurobiology.
Hadley Horch.
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.
William Jackman.
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 3316. The Biology of Agriculture.
Samuel Taylor.
Highlights biological principles from evolution and ecology applicable to development and sustainability of agriculture. Addresses productivity limits in agro-ecosystems and challenges facing modern agriculture. Discusses; trophic structure of agricultural systems, plant performance in agricultural environments, features of domesticated species, coevolution of weeds and crops, pesticide development and pesticide resistance, impacts of land use change, transgenics, and organic farming.
BIOL 3317. Molecular Evolution.
Michael Palopoli.
Examines the dynamics of evolutionary change at the molecular level. Topics include neutral theory of molecular evolution, rates and patterns of change in nucleotide sequences and proteins, molecular phylogenetics, and genome evolution. Students read and discuss papers from the scientific literature, and complete independent projects in the laboratory.
BIOL 3333. Advanced Cell and Molecular Biology.
Bruce Kohorn.
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.