Spring 2012 Courses

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 and evolutionary contexts of song; and interspecific influences on songs. Songs and calls, identified aurally and through sonograms and basic music notation, are used to inspire new musical compositions that explore the musical relationships between humans and birds. Required field trips, research projects, and anatomy laboratories. Although no music or biology experience is required or presumed, students should have a strong interest in learning about birds and music. Weekly one-hour lab.
083. Living Together with Microbes
Rachel Larsen T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Did you know that there are more bacterial cells than human cells in your body? Covers many of the good things these bacteria do for us including aiding in our digestion and providing essential vitamins. Explores how disease-causing bacteria and viruses find ways to attempt to live with us and how we fight back. Also investigates diverse symbiotic relationships observed in nature.
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 groups.
109. Scientific Reasoning in Biology
Michael Palopoli 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.
109. Scientific Reasoning in Biology
Vladimir Douhovnikoff M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25
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.
158. Perspectives in Environmental Science
John Lichter 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.
212. Genetics and Molecular Biology
Glen Ernstrom M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25
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.
214. Comparative Physiology
Patsy Dickinson T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
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 T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 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
Anne McBride 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 microorganisms and environmental interactions are also discussed. Laboratory sessions every week. Chemistry 225 is recommended.
254. Biomechanics
Amy Johnson M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
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. A collaborative laboratory research project is a requirement for this course, preferably undertaken as part of a spring break opportunity to do research at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory.
266. Molecular Neurobiology
Osceola Whitney 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.
302. Earth Climate History and Its Impacts on Ecosystems and Human Civilizations
Philip Camill M 10:00 - 11:25, W 10:00 - 11:25
The modern world is experiencing rapid climate warming and some parts extreme drought, which will have dramatic impacts on ecosystems and human societies. How do contemporary warming and aridity compare to past changes in climate over the last billion years? Are modern changes human-caused or part of the natural variability in the climate system? What effects did past changes have on global ecosystems and human societies? Students use environmental records from rocks, soils, ocean cores, ice cores, lake cores, fossil plants, and tree rings to assemble proxies of past changes in climate, atmospheric CO2, and disturbance to examine several issues: long-term carbon cycling and climate, major extinction events, the rise of C4 photosynthesis and the evolution of grazing mammals, orbital forcing and glacial cycles, glacial refugia and post-glacial species migrations, climate change and the rise and collapse of human civilizations, climate/overkill hypothesis of Pleistocene megafauna, climate variability, drought cycles, climate change impacts on disturbances (fire and hurricanes), and determining natural variability vs. human-caused climate change. One introductory biology (with ecology or evolution focus), chemistry, or earth and oceanographic science course is required. Prior enrollment in a 200-level ecology or earth and oceanographic science course is recommended.
305. Visual Ecology of Marine Animals
Trevor Rivers M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Explores visual-based behavior of animals in marine environments ranging from the sea surface to the seafloor. Describes the physical properties of light in the ocean and discusses how animals have adapted visual systems and behaviors to fit these environments. Visual-based behaviors studied include signaling, mating, predation and predation defense, bioluminescence, migration, and others. Previous enrollment in Biology 215, 216, and 219 is recommended.
306. Free Radicals and Antioxidants
Barry Logan M 10:00 - 11:25, W 10:00 - 11:25
Ordinary cellular metabolism in aerobic environments results in the production of free radicals, and free radical-mediated cellular damage underlies many human diseases. In response to the danger they pose, organisms evolved elaborate antioxidant systems that detoxify free radicals. The biology of free radicals and antioxidants in organisms ranging from bacteria to plants to humans is discussed, along with the importance of free radicals in disease processes.
313. Advanced Seminar in Behavioral Neuroscience
Osceola Whitney TH 1:00 - 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 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 epigenetic regulation of gene expression and behavior.
323. Life in Extreme Environments
Rachel Larsen W 10:00 - 11:25, F 10:00 - 11:25
Microbes can be found living in nearly every niche on earth including many that were once thought to be devoid of life. Topics include the dramatic adaptations necessary for survival and growth in extremes such as thermal vents, acid pools, desert rocks, and ancient ice. Also considers how more familiar microbes may have versatile lifestyles and adapt to varying conditions and stressors through gene regulation.
397. Advanced Winter Field Ecology
Nathaniel Wheelwright F 3:00 - 4:55
Exploration of advanced concepts in ecology and evolutionary biology, and the natural history of plants, animals, and ecosystems in winter in Maine. Structured around group research projects in the field. Each week, field trips focus on a different study site, set of questions, and taxon (e.g., host specificity in wood fungi, foraging behavior of aquatic insects under the ice, estimation of mammal population densities, winter flocking behavior in birds). Students learn to identify local winter flora and fauna, critically evaluate readings from the primary literature, analyze data from field research projects, and present their results each week in a research seminar. Required field trip to the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island.