Courses Offered this Semester:
AMCL 297: Native American Ethnobotany (Spring 2012) : Directed reading on the ways that Native Americans in North America (north of Mexico) perceive and interact with plants. Particular cultural groups and time periods to be chosen by the student in consultation with the instructor. Students will write brief reviews of chose texts and a final research paper on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor.
BIOL 208: Plant Diversity & Evolution (Spring 2012): Plants are critically important for our continued existence on Earth. We are totally dependent on plants for the oxygen we breathe and the food that we eat. We rely heavily on plants for clothing, shelter, and many other essentials. Plants provide us with medicines, poisons, and mind-altering drugs. Plants inspire art, and many plants have become powerful cultural symbols. Thus, biologists, ecologists, environmentalists, anthropologists, and many others want to understand plants. In this course we will examine major events in the evolution of plants and other photosynthetic organisms, including photosynthetic bacteria, and algae. We will focus on their distinctive biological features, their environmental significance, and their value as model organisms for research. Laboratories include observations, experiments, and field trips. This course is appropriate for students majoring in biological sciences or environmental studies, and for those interested in ethnobotany. To get a complete introduction to the biology of plants, you should also take Biology 202, Plant Physiology. Prerequisites: Biology 106, or Environmental Studies 124, or permission of the instructor prior to registration.Two 75-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory.
BIOL 355: Ecology and Evolution of Sexual Reproduction (Spring 2012): Sex: “nothing in life is more important, more interesting – or troublesome.” This quotation from Olivia Judson, Ph.D., (a.k.a. Dr. Tatiana) is just one recent example of the long-standing fascination that ecologists and evolutionary biologists have had with sexual reproduction. This course begins with the question: What is sex? We then examine the current status of competing hypotheses for the evolution of sex, and then turn our attention to the myriad ecological and evolutionary consequences of sexual reproduction. We consider such questions as: Why are there only two sexes? Why do males and females look and behave differently? When is it advantageous to produce more sons than daughters (or vice versa)? When is it advantageous to be a hermaphrodite or to change sex? To address such questions in a biologically rigorous way, we need to draw on a wide range of theoretical work and empirical evidence from cellular and molecular biology, genetics, developmental biology, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Prerequisites: At least two 200-level biology courses, including BIOL 208,226,238, or 241; or permission of the instructor.
Other Courses Offered:
BIOL 151 : Evolution of Biological Diversity. The diversity of life on this planet is the result of genetic, ecological, and evolutionary processes. This course examines these processes through detailed consideration of gene transmission and variation, the mechanisms and consequences of evolution, and ecological interactions. In the laboratory, exercises include studies in field ecology and experiments in genetics and evolution. Emphasis on experimental design, data collection and analysis, and use of the scientific literature. The department. Three 50-minute periods and one four hour lab per week.
BIOL 208 : Plant Structure and Diversity. A study of the origins and diversification of plants. Problems to be analyzed may include mechanical support, internal transport, mechanical and biochemical defenses, life-histories, reproductive strategies, and modes of speciation. Laboratories will also include comparative study of the divisions of plants and identification of locally common species and families in the field. Mr. Pregnall, Ms Ronsheim, or Mr. Schlessman. Three 50-minute periods and one four hour lab per week.
BIOL 350 : Evolutionary Biology. Study of the history of evolutionary thought, mechanisms of evolutionary change, and controversies in the study of evolution. Topics include the origin and maintenance of genetic variability, natural selection, adaptation, origin of species, macroevolution, co-evolution, and human evolution. Two 75-minute periods and one four hour lab per week.
Prerequisites: 238 and 208, 226, or 241; or permission of the instructor.