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ANT 215/EEB 315Human Adaptation(STL)Human adaptation focuses on human anatomy and behavior from an evolutionary perspective. Lectures and weekly laboratory sessions focus on the evolution of the human brain, dentition and skeleton to provide students with a practical understanding of the anatomy and function of the human body and its evolution, as well as some of its biological limitations. No science background is required on the part of the student.
EEB 211/MOL 211Life on Earth: Chaos and Clockwork of Biological Design(STL)An examination of how life evolved and how organisms function. Design--'intelligent' and otherwise--will provide a unifying theme. Why do some microbes produce slime and others do not? Why are males brightly colored in some species, but in others females are the showy sex? Why do humans have knees that fail whereas horses and zebras do not? These and other 'why is it so' questions related to the origin and history of life, genetic code, biochemistry, physiology, morphology and body plans, sex and reproduction, cooperation, and ecosystems will be explored. This course is required of all EEB majors and fulfills a requirement for medical school.
EEB 308Conservation Biology(STN)An in-depth exposure to topics in conservation biology emphasizing the application of scientific concepts to our understanding of the problems that threaten biodiversity, ecosystems, and priority conservation regions. Topics will include: how we define, measure, and rank `biodiversity'; conservation genetics; demography; landscape ecology; protected area design; endangered species recovery; and major anthropogenic threats including climate change and habitat degradation. To a lesser degree, this course will address some of the political, economic, and cultural aspects of conservation.
EEB 309Evolutionary BiologyAll life on Earth has, and continues to, evolve. This course will explore evolution within two frameworks: conservation genetics and species interactions. In the first half of the course, we will explore fundamental processes that work together to shape biodiversity and viability, both at the organismal and molecular levels. We then will examine how species interactions can be the driver of change, from sexual selection to predation and pathogens. Overall, this course will provide you with the basic tools to understand how evolution continues to shape contemporary ecological and the phenotypic traits we observe on our planet.
EEB 313Behavioral EcologyHow does a swarm of honeybees collectively decide on a new site for their hive? When a mother mouse protects her young, are her behaviors genetically determined? Why do ravens share food with each other? This course is an introduction to behavioral ecology, which asks why animals act the way they do, how their behaviors have been shaped by natural selection, and how these behaviors influence their surroundings. We will first discuss behaviors at the individual level, then move to reproductive behaviors. The final section of the course will focus on social evolution, the origins of cooperation, and human behavioral ecology.
EEB 321Ecology: Species Interactions, Biodiversity and Society(STL)How do wild organisms interact with each other, their physical environments, and human societies? Lectures will examine a series of fundamental topics in ecology--herbivory, predation, competition, mutualism, species invasions, biogeographic patterns, extinction, climate change, and conservation, among others--through the lens of case studies drawn from all over the world. Readings will provide background information necessary to contextualize these case studies and clarify the linkages between them. Laboratories and fieldwork will explore the process of translating observations and data into an understanding of how the natural world works.
EEB 325Mathematical Modeling in Biology and MedicineHow can mathematical modeling help to illuminate biological processes? This course examines major topics in biology through the lens of mathematics, focusing on the role of models in scientific discovery. Students will learn how to build and analyze models using a variety of mathematical tools. Particular emphasis will be placed on evolutionary game theory. Specific topics will include: the evolution of cooperation and of social behavior from bacteria to humans; the evolution of multicellularity; the somatic evolution of cancer; virus dynamics (within host and within populations); and multispecies interactions and the evolution of mutualisms.
EEB 329Sensory EcologySensory ecology investigates how animals extract information from the physical and social environment. All animals acquire and use information, but the sensory systems involved vary dramatically. Bats echolocate. Birds see ultraviolet colors. Electric eels shock their prey. Spiders communicate chemically. How do these processes work, and why did they evolve? In this course, we explore the mechanisms and functions of animal communication. We first review the different senses, emphasizing physiology and neurobiology. We then examine how animals use sensory information in foraging, mate choice, cooperation, anti-predator defense and mimicry.
EEB 417B/ENV 417BEcosystems and Global Change(STL)An introduction to the study of how humans are affecting complex ecological systems at local to global scales. Students will examine nutrient cycling, energy flow, and evolutionary processes, with emphasis on experimental approaches and comparisons between terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems. Particular attention will be on human influences-climate change, biofuels, biodiversity loss, eutrophication, and acid rain. Lectures cover theoretical elements and examples from the primary literature. The laboratory is organized around local ecosystems in which students conduct independent group research projects.
EEB 504Fundamental Concepts in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior IIAn advanced foundation in ecology, focusing on the 50 fundamental papers, is given. Topics include dynamics and structure of populations, communities and ecosystems, and conservation biology. (This is a core course.)
EEB 507Recent Research in Population BiologySystematic reviews of recent literature in areas of ecology, evolution, and animal behavior. The general survey of literature is supplemented with detailed discussion of selected research papers of unusual importance and significance. (This is a core course.)
EEB 522Colloquium on the Biology of PopulationsDiscussion of the central problems of population biology and approaches that have proved fruitful. Topics ranging throughout ecology, evolution, biogeography, and population genetics are usually related to presentations by visiting speakers and students. (This is a core course.)
ENV 304/ECO 328/EEB 304/WWS 455Disease Ecology, Economics, and Policy(STN)The dynamics of the emergence and spread of disease arise from a complex interplay between disease ecology, economics, and human behavior. Lectures will provide an introduction to complementarities between economic and epidemiological approaches to understanding the emergence, spread, and control of infectious diseases. The course will cover topics such as drug-resistance in bacterial and parasitic infections, individual incentives to vaccinate, the role of information in the transmission of infectious diseases, and the evolution of social norms in healthcare practices.
GEO 255A/AST 255A/EEB 255A/CHM 255ALife in the Universe(STN)This course introduces students to a new field, Astrobiology, where scientists trained in biology, chemistry, astronomy and geology combine their skills to discover life's origins and to seek extraterrestrial life. Topics include: the origin of life on Earth; the prospects of life on Mars, Europa, Enceladus and extra-solar planets. Students will also compete in class to select landing sites and payloads for the next Mars mission. 255A is the core course for the Planets and Life certificate.
MOL 214/EEB 214Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology(STL)Important concepts and elements of molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, and cell biology are examined in an experimental context. This course fulfills the requirement for students majoring in the biological sciences and satisfies the biology requirement for entrance into medical school.
MOL 215/EEB 215/CBE 215Quantitative Principles in Cell and Molecular Biology(STL)Central concepts and experiments in cellular, molecular, and developmental biology with an emphasis on underlying physical and engineering principles. Topics include important insights into the genetic code; energetics and cellular organization; communication, feeding, and signaling between cells; ideas about feedback loops and cellular organization; problems and solutions in development; and the organization of large cellular systems, such as the nervous and immune systems. Satisfies the requirement for entrance into the Department and the requirement for entrance into medical school.
QCB 515/PHY 570/EEB 517/CHM 517/MOL 515Method and Logic in Quantitative BiologyClose reading of published papers illustrating the principles, achievements, and difficulties that lie at the interface of theory and experiment in biology. Two important papers, read in advance by all students, will be considered each week; the emphasis will be on discussion with students as opposed to formal lectures. Topics include: cooperativity, robust adaptation, kinetic proofreading, sequence analysis, clustering, phylogenetics, analysis of fluctuations, and maximum likelihood methods. A general tutorial on Matlab and specific tutorials for the four homework assignments will be available.