Spring 2011 Courses

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071. Bird Song, Human Song
Robert Greenlee T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
A study of avian and human melodies, including the mechanics, anatomy, neurobiology, and endocrinology of sound production and recognition in birds and humans; ecological, geographical, and evolutionary contexts of song; and interspecific influences on songs. Songs and calls, identified aurally and through basic music notation, are used to inspire new musical compositions that explore the musical relationships between humans and birds. Requires field trips and anatomy laboratories; no music or biology experience is required or presumed.
102. Biological Principles II
Barry Logan T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
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 group
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.
158. Perspectives in Environmental Science
Dharanija Vasudevan T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
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.
214. Comparative Physiology
Olaf Ellers T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
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.
216. Evolution
Michael Palopoli M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25
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.
218. Microbiology
Rachel Larsen M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25
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 microoganisms and environmental interactions are also discussed. Laboratory sessions every week. Chemistry 225 is recommended.
224. Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Bruce Kohorn T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
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.
254. Biomechanics
Amy Johnson T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
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.
258. Ornithology
Nathaniel Wheelwright T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
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, discussion of the primary literature, and independent research, students learn identification of birds, functional morphology, and research techniques such as experimental design, behavioral observation, and field methods. Optional field trip to the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island.
263. Laboratory in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Aimee Eldridge M 2:30 - 3:55
Comprehensive laboratory course in molecular biology and biochemistry that reflects how research is conducted and communicated. Includes sequential weekly experiments, resulting in a cohesive, semester-long research project. Begins with genetic engineering to produce a recombinant protein, continues with its purification, and finishes with functional and structural characterization. Emphasis is on cloning strategy, controlling protein expression, and protein characterization using techniques such as polymerase chain reaction, affinity chromatography, isoelectric focusing, and high-performance liquid chromatography. Students also learn to manipulate data using structural and image analysis software. Spring 2011 will be the last time Biology 263 (same as Chemistry 263) is offered.
266. Molecular Neurobiology
Hadley Horch M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
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.
280. Plant Responses to the Environment
Barry Logan M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Plants can be found growing under remarkably stressful conditions. Even your own backyard poses challenges to plant growth and reproduction. Survival is possible only because of a diverse suite of elegant physiological and morphological adaptations. The physiological ecology of plants from extreme habitats (e.g., tundra, desert, hypersaline) is discussed, along with the responses of plants to environmental factors such as light and temperature. Readings from the primary literature facilitate class discussion. Excursions into the field and laboratory exercises complement class material.
313. Advanced Seminar in Behavioral Neuroscience
Professor X M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Focuses on genes and regulatory sequences that contribute to the organization and functioning of neural circuits and molecular pathways in the brain that support social behavior. Topics of interest and discussion will include the functional genomics of neural and behavioral plasticity in cichlid fishes, gene regulation and social behavior in honey bees, learned vocal communication in songbirds, and also epigenetic regulation of gene expression and behavior.
314. Advanced Genetics and Epigenetics
Jack Bateman TH 1:00 - 3:55
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.
318. Neuroethology
Lisa Mangiamele T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Neuroethology is the study of the neural basis of animal behavior. It approaches studying the nervous system by examining the mechanisms that have evolved to solve problems encountered by animals in their natural environment. Topics include behaviors related to orientation and migration, social communication, feeding, and reproduction. Current scientific literature emphasized.
319. Muscle Mechanics from Motor Proteins to Movements
Olaf Ellers M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25
Explores the generation of forces by muscles in systems such as limbs and hearts. Uses mathematical models of the mechanics of protein motors to describe the force generation and movement of whole muscles. We will also model how mechanical properties of connective tissues and neural control systems modulate movement. Students will read and discuss papers from the scientific literature and generate mathematical demonstrations.