Biology Department

Requirements for Concentration: 13 or 14 units

Introductory-Level: Biology 106 and either Biology 105, or AP Biology with 4 or 5 AP test score, or IB higher level 5, 6 or 7 test score. IB students must confirm their IB credit with the Dean of Studies office.

Intermediate-Level: Four units of graded work. At least one course must be taken from each subject area listed below.

Advanced-Level: 3 units of graded work.  One of the three units can be fulfilled by completing Chemistry 323.

Chemistry: Either Chemistry 108 and 109 or Chemistry 125 at the introductory level, and Chemistry 244 at the intermediate level.

Additional courses: two units to be chosen from among Chemistry 245 or 255; Physics 113, 114; Mathematics 101, 102, 121, 122, 125, or 141; Earth Science 151, 161 or 379; Psychology 200; Neuroscience and Behavior 201; Environmental Studies 124; Geography/Earth Science 224; and other intermediate or advanced science courses subject to departmental approval. One of the two units may also be an additional graded 200-level or 300-level Biology course or ungraded independent research, Biology 298 or 399.

Intermediate-Level Subject Areas and Courses:

Genetics (students may only take one course from this area)

Biology 238 Molecular Genetics

Biology 244 Genetics and Genomics

Biology 248 Evolutionary Genetics

Natural History, Ecology, and Diversity

Biology 205 Introduction to Microbiology

Biology 208 Plant Diversity and Evolution

Biology 226 Animal Structure and Diversity

Biology 241 Ecology

Physiological and Cellular Biology

Biology 202 Plant Physiology and Development

Biology 218 Cellular Structure and Function

Biology 228 Animal Physiology

Biology 232 Developmental Biology

Biology 272 Biochemistry

Senior Year Requirements: two units of graded 300-level biology taken at Vassar College.

Independent Research: The biology department encourages students to engage in independent research with faculty mentors, and offers ungraded courses Biology 178, 298, and 399. The department also offers Biology 303, a graded research experience for senior majors. Students should consult the chair or individual faculty members for guidance in initiating independent research.

Field Work: The department offers field work in biology. Students should consult the field work office and a biology faculty adviser for details.

Teaching Certification: Students who wish to obtain secondary school teaching certification in biology should consult both the biology and education departments for appropriate course requirements.

Early Advising: Those students considering a concentration in biology should consult a departmental adviser early in their freshman year to discuss appropriate course sequences. After declaration of the major, no NRO work is permissible in the major.

Postgraduate Work: Students considering graduate school or other professional schools should be aware that such schools usually require courses beyond the minimum biology major requirements. In general, students should have at least a full year of organic chemistry, a year of physics, computer science, statistics and calculus. Students are urged to begin their chemistry and other correlated sciences coursework as soon as possible, since this will assist them in successful completion of the biology major. Students should consult with the chair of biology or the pre-medical adviser at their earliest opportunity.

Further Information: For additional information on research opportunities, honors requirements, etc., please see the biology department.

Advisers: Any of the faculty members of the Biology Department can serve as Major Advisors. Students who have a preference for a particular faculty adviser may ask that individual whether s/he would be willing to serve as adviser. Students who have no preference should make an appointment to see the Chair of the Department to be assigned an adviser.

Correlate Sequences in Biology: A correlate sequence requires Biology 106 and either 105, AP Biology with a score of 4 or 5 on the AP exam, or IB higher level with a score of 5, 6 or 7 on the IB exam.  In addition, students must complete a cohesive four unit series of 200-level and 300-level courses that is developed in consultation with a member of the biology faculty prior to the spring semester of their junior year. At least one of the four units must be at the 300-level.

I. Introductory

105a and b. Introduction to Biological Processes(1)

Development of critical thought, communication skills, and understanding of central concepts in biology, through exploration of a timely topic. The content of each section varies. The department.

See Freshman handbook for section descriptions.

106a and b. Introduction to Biological Investigation (1)

Investigation of biological questions via extended laboratory or field projects. Emphasis is placed on observation skills, development and testing of hypotheses, experimental design, data collection, statistical analysis, and scientific writing and presentation. The department.

One 75-minute period; one 4-hour laboratory.

For freshmen wanting to take Biology 106, a 4 or 5 in AP biology, or a 5 or 6 or 7 in IB Biology, or Biology 105 is required. Upper class students may take Biology 105 and 106 in any order, but upper class students who have not taken two years of high school biology are urged to start with Biology 105.

141a or b. Introduction to Statistics (1)

(Same as Mathematics 141) The purpose of this course is to develop an appreciation and understanding of the exploration and interpretation of data. Topics include display and summary of data, introductory probability, fundamental issues of study design, and inferential methods including confidence interval estimation and hypothesis testing. Applications and examples are drawn from a wide variety of disciplines. When cross-listed with biology, examples will be drawn primarily from biology. Not open to students with AP credit in statistics or students who have completed Economics 209 or Psychology 200. Prerequisite: three years of high school mathematics.

Not open to students with AP credit in statistics or students who have completed Economics 209 or Psychology 200.

Prerequisite: three years of high school mathematics.

172. Microbial Wars (1)

(Same as Science,Technology, and Society 172) This course explores our relationship with microbes that cause disease. Topics including bioterrorism, vaccinology, smallpox eradication, influenza pandemics, antibiotic resistance, and emerging diseases are discussed to investigate how human populations are affected by disease, how and why we alter microorganisms intentionally or unintentionally, and how we study disease causing microbes of the past and present. The use of new technologies in microbiology that allow us to turn harmful pathogens into helpful medical or industrial tools are also discussed. Mr. Esteban.

Not offered in 2013/14.

175. Plants and Plant Communities of the Hudson Valley (1/2)

Plants are the most conspicuous components of terrestrial ecosystems. In this course, you learn how to observe and describe variation in plant form so you can recognize locally common plant species and determine their scientific names. You also learn to recognize the characteristic plant communities of the Hudson Valley. This course is structured around weekly field trips to local natural areas. Locations are chosen to illustrate the typical plant species and communities of the region, the ecosystem services provided by plants, environmental concerns, and conservation efforts. This course is appropriate for students interested in biology, environmental science, and environmental studies, and anyone wishing to learn more about our natural environment. Mr. Schlessman.

First 6-week course.

Two 75-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory.

Not offered in 2013/14.

178a or b. Special Projects in Biology (1/2)

Execution and analysis of a laboratory or field study. Project to be arranged with individual instructor. The department.

Open to freshmen and sophomores only.

II. Intermediate

Prerequisites for 200-level courses are BIOL 106 and either BIOL 105, AP Biology with a 4 or 5 AP score, or IB higher level 5, 6 or 7 test score, unless otherwise noted.

202a. Plant Physiology and Development (1)

An examination of the cellular and physiological bases of plant maintenance, growth, development, and reproduction; with emphasis on the values of different plants as experimental systems. To get a complete introduction to the biology of plants, you should also take Biology 208, Plant Diversity and Evolution. Mr. Pregnall.

Three 50-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory.

205a. Introduction to Microbiology (1)

An introduction to the world of microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The study of bacteria is stressed. Studies of the morphology, physiology, and genetics of bacteria are followed by their consideration in ecology, industry, and medicine. Mr. Esteban.

Two 75-minute periods; two 2-hour laboratories.

208b. Plant Diversity and Evolution (1)

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. Mr. Schlessman.

Prerequisites: Biology 106, or Environmental Studies 124, or permission of the instructor prior to registration.

Two 75-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory.

218. Cellular Structure and Function (1)

An introduction to cell biology, with a focus on subcellular organization in eukaryotes. The regulation and coordination of cellular events, and the specializations associated with a variety of cell types are considered. Topics include organelle function, the cytoskeleton, and mechanisms of cell division. Laboratory work centers on investigations of cell function with an emphasis on biological imaging. Ms. Pokrywka.

Two 75-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory.

Not offered in 2013/14.

226b. Animal Structure and Diversity (1)

The members of the animal kingdom are compared and analyzed in a phylogenetic context. Emphasis is placed on the unique innovations and common solutions evolved by different taxonomic groups to solve problems related to feeding, mobility, respiration, and reproduction. Laboratory work centers on the comparative study of the anatomy of species representative of the major animal phyla. The department.

Two 75-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory.

228a. Animal Physiology (1)

A comparative examination of the mechanisms that animals use to move, respire, eat, reproduce, sense, and regulate their internal environments. The physiological principles governing these processes, and their ecological and evolutionary consequences, are developed in lecture and applied in the laboratory. Ms. Duncan, Ms. Gall.

Recommended: Psychology 200 or Mathematics 141; Chemistry 108, 109, and Physics 113.

Two 75-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory.

232a. Developmental Biology (1)

The study of embryonic development including gametogenesis, fertilization, growth, and differentiation. Molecular concepts of gene regulation and cell interactions are emphasized. The laboratory emphasizes classical embryology and modern experimental techniques. Mr. Straus.

Two 75-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory.

238b. Molecular Genetics (1)

Principles of genetics and methods of genetic analysis at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels. Emphasis is placed on classical genetic experiments, as well as modern investigative techniques such as recombinant DNA technology, gene therapy, genetic testing, and the use of transgenic plants and animals. Ms. Pokrywka, Ms. Kennell.

Three 50-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory.

241a. Ecology (1)

Population growth, species interaction, and community patterns and processes of species or groups of species are discussed. The course emphasizes these interactions within the framework of evolutionary theory. Local habitats and organisms are used as examples of how organisms are distributed in space, how populations grow, why species are adapted to their habitats, how species interact, and how communities change. Field laboratories at Vassar Farm and other localities emphasize the formulation of answerable questions and methods to test hypotheses. Ms. Christenson, Ms. Gall, Ms. Ronsheim.

Three 50-minute periods; one 4-hour field laboratory.

244a. Genetics and Genomics (1)

From understanding the role of a single gene in a single organism to understanding how species evolve, the field of genomics provides a lens for studying biology at all scales. In this course we develop a foundational understanding of genetics concepts and processes, and then deploy this foundation to probe some of the hottest questions in genomics. How do genomes evolve? What makes us human? How can we combat emerging diseases? In the lab component, students learn molecular biology and bioinformatics techniques, design and engineer a synthetic bio-machine from standard genomic parts, and use genomic approaches to understand how organisms interact with the environment. Ms. Schwarz.

Two 75-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory.

248. Evolutionary Genetics (1)

What do wolves, bananas, and staph infections have in common? The link is genetics – conservation genetics, the genetics of domestication, and the genetic changes resulting in antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. In this course we cover the foundations of evolutionary biology, starting with the genetic principles that underlie the process of evolutionary change and how populations and species respond to evolutionary pressures. Building on this understanding of the genetic mechanisms involved in both micro- and macroevolutionary processes, we can then address the potential for evolutionary responses to environmental change. Ms. Ronsheim.

Prerequisites: Biology 106, or Environmental Studies 124, or permission of the instructor prior to registraton.

Two 75-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory.

Not offered in 2013/14.

254. Environmental Science in the Field (1)

(Same as Earth Science, Environmental Studies, and Geography 254) The environment consists of complex and often elegant interactions between various constituents so that an interdisciplinary approach is required to understand how human interactions may affect it. In this course, we study a variety of aspects of a specific environment by considering how biological, chemical, geological, and human factors interact. We observe these interactions first hand during a weeklong field trip. Some of the questions we may consider are: How does a coral polyp create an environment that not only suits its particular species, but also helps regulate the global climate? How has human development and associated water demands in the desert Southwest changed the landscape, fire ecology, and even estuary and fisheries' health as far away as the Gulf of California? How have a variety of species (humans included) managed to survive on an island with the harsh environment of the exposed mid-ocean ridge of Iceland? The course is offered every other year, and topics vary with expertise of the faculty teaching the course.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2013/14.

272b. Biochemistry (0 or 1)

(Same as Chemistry 272) Basic course covering protein structure and synthesis, enzyme action, bio-energetic principles, electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation, selected metabolic pathways in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Mr. Eberhardt, Ms. Garrett, Mr. Jemiolo, Mr. Straus.

Prerequisites: Chemistry 244 and special permission from Professor Garrett.

Three 50-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory.

275a. Paleontology and the Fossil Record (1)

(Same as Earth Science 275) Paleontology isn’t just a “dead science”- by studying processes that have occurred in the past, we can deepen our understanding of the current biota inhabiting the Earth. Conversely, by studying the modern distribution of organisms and the environmental, taphonomic, and ecological processes that impact their distribution and preservation, we can enhance our understanding of the processes that have controlled the formation and distribution of fossils through time. In this course, we explore the methodology used to interpret the fossil record, including preservational biases and how we account for them when studying fossil taxa. We also explore large-scale ecological changes and evolutionary processes and discuss how they manifest across geologic time, and how these relate to Earth's changing fauna. We additionally learn about how paleontology has developed as a field in the context of different historical and social perspectives. Lab exercises focus on applying paleontological methods to a variety of different fossil and recent samples. Ms. Kosloski.

Two 75-minute periods and one 4-hour laboratory period.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Execution and analysis of a field, laboratory, or library study. The project, arranged with an individual instructor, is expected to have a substantial paper as its final product.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

III. Advanced

Two units of 200-level biology are prerequisites for entry into 300-level courses; see each course for specific courses required or exceptions.

303a or b. Senior Research (1)

Critical analysis, usually through observation or experimentation, of a specific research problem in biology. A student electing this course must first gain, by submission of a written research proposal, the support of a member of the biology faculty with whom to work out details of a research protocol. The formal research proposal, a final paper, and presentation of results are required parts of the course. A second faculty member participates both in the planning of the research and in final evaluation.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

316. Advanced Topics in Neurobiology (1)

A multilevel examination of nervous systems, with particular emphasis on cellular and molecular mechanisms. The course is an advanced, integrative evaluation of current topics in neurobiology. Topics vary but may include ion channel structure/function, mechanisms of synaptic communication, glia, evolution of nervous systems and plasticity. Emphasis is placed on current thinking and research and course material is drawn from the recent primary literature. Ms. Susman.

Prerequisites: two units of 200-level biology or one unit of 200-level biology and Neuroscience and Behavior 201. Recommended: Biology 228.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

323b. Seminar in Cell and Molecular Biology (1)

An intensive study of selected topics at the cellular and subcellular level. Topics vary, but may include organelle structure and function, advanced genetics, and mechanisms of cellular organization. Emphasis is placed on current models, issues, and research areas, and course material is drawn largely from primary literature.

Topic for 2013/14b: Cell Dynamics: The Rainbow Revolution in Living Cells. Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells that function harmoniously together, allowing us to eat, play and sleep. Individual cells are busy factories that orchestrate complex tasks at the right time and place. How do we study the inner workings of a cell when the subcellular activities are invisible to our own eyes? For decades, scientists were limited to studying only "time points" of dynamic cellular processes using light and electron microscopy. The discovery of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria was a significant breakthrough in cell biology research. This novel tool provided a platform for scientists to visualize and study spatially- and temporally-regulated subcellular activity at a molecular level in living cells and organisms. Subsequent work led to the development of a "rainbow" of fluorescent proteins that enable multi-color imaging of cell processes. In this course, we investigate the fascinating field of cell dynamics and explore how scientists have utilized fluorescent proteins to study the function and mechanisms of intracellular trafficking, transcription and translation, neuronal development, cell division and stem cells. Class material draws from primary literature and students participate in active discussion and presentations. Students learn modern cell and molecular biology techniques, experimental design, and critical thinking skills. Ms. Kee.

Prerequisite: two 200-level courses including one of the following: Biology 218, 238, 244, 248, or 272.

Two 75-minute periods.

324a. Molecular Biology (1)

(Same as Chemistry 324) An examination of the macromolecular processes underlying storage, transfer, and expression of genetic information. Topics include the structure, function, and synthesis of DNA; mutation and repair; the chemistry of RNA and protein synthesis; the regulation of gene expression; cancer and oncogenes; the molecular basis of cell differentiation; and genetic engineering. Mr. Jemiolo.

Prerequisites: two 200-level courses including one of the following: Biology 205, 218, 238, 244, 248, or 272.

Two 75-minute periods.

340a. Experimental Animal Behavior (1)

Examination of the relationship between behavior and the individual animal's survival and reproductive success in its natural environment. Evolutionary, physiological, and developmental aspects of orientation, communication, foraging, reproductive tactics, and social behavior are considered. Methodology and experimental design are given particular emphasis, and students will complete an independent research project by the end of the semester. The department.

Prerequisites: two units of 200-level biology or one unit each of 200-level biology and psychology.

Recommended: Biology 226, 228, 238, 244, 248, NSB 201, or Psychology 200.

Two 2-hour periods.

352a. Conservation Biology (1)

(Same as Environmental Studies 352) Conservation Biology uses a multidisciplinary approach to study how to best maintain the earth's biodiversity and functioning ecosystems. We examine human impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem function and discuss how to develop practical approaches for mitigating those impacts. We start the semester by assessing the current human footprint on global resources, asking questions about what we are trying to preserve, why we are trying to preserve it, and how we can accomplish our goals. We critically examine the assumptions made by conservation biologists throughout, using case studies from around the world to explore a range of perspectives. Discussion topics include conservation in an agricultural context, the efficacy of marine protected areas, the impact of climate change on individual species and preserve design, restoration ecology, the consequences of small population sizes, conservation genetics, the impacts of habitat fragmentation and invasive species, and urbanecology. Ms. Ronsheim.

Recommended courses: Biology 241, 208, or 226, ESCI 161, Geography 260, 224, or 356; or permission of the instructor.

353b. Bioinformatics (1)

(Same as Computer Science 353) DNA is the blueprint of life. Although it's composed of only four nucleotide "letters" (A, C. T, G), the order and arrangement of these letters in a genome gives rise to the diversity of life on earth. Thousands of genomes have been partially sequenced, representing billions of nucleotides. How can we reach this vast expanse of sequence data to find patterns that provide answers to ecological, evolutionary, agricultural, and biomedical questions? Bioinformatics applies high-performance computing to discover patterns in large sequence datasets. In this class students from biology and computer science work together to formulate interesting biological questions and to design algorithms and computational experiments to answer them. Ms. Schwarz and Mr. Smith.

To register for this course students must satisfy either the biology or computer science prerequisites, but not both.

Prerequisites: Biology 238, 244, or 248; Computer Science 203; or permission of the instructor.

Two 2-hour periods.

355. Ecology and Evolution of Sexual Reproduction (1)

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. Mr. Schlessman.

Prerequisites: at least two 200-level biology courses, at least one of which is either 208, or 226, or 238, or 241, or 244; or permission of the instructor.

Two 2-hour periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

356. Aquatic Ecology (1)

A consideration of freshwater, estuarine, and marine habitats that examines material and energy fluxes through aquatic systems; physiological aspects of primary production; the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients; adaptations of organisms to physical and chemical aspects of aquatic environments; biological processes that structure selected communities; and the role of aquatic habitat in global change phenomena. Mr. Pregnall.

Three 50-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory.

Not offered in 2013/14.

370. Immunology (1)

An examination of the immune response at the cellular and molecular levels. Topics include innate immunity, the structure, function, and synthesis of antibodies; transplantation and tumor immunology; immune tolerance; allergic responses; and immune deficiency diseases. Mechanisms for recognition; communication; and cooperation between different classes of lymphocytes in producing these various responses are stressed, as are the genetic basis of immunity and the cellular definition of "self'' which makes each individual unique. Mr. Esteban, Ms. Collins.

Prerequisite: Chemistry 244 or permission of the instructor; Biology 218, 238, 244, 248, or 272 recommended.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

380a. Engaging Biologists and Their Research (1)

A close examination of the active research programs of several biologists who will visit Vassar to present their research to the Biology Department. By reading and discussing the primary literature and interacting with biologists at different stages of their careers, students will develop a deep understanding of several current areas of biological research, and gain a better understanding of the scientific process. Students write a substantial paper focusing on one or more of the research areas discussed in class. Ms. Schwarz.

Enrollment limited to seniors majoring in Biology.

Two 75-minute periods.

381b. Topics in Ecosystem Ecology - Ecosystem Structure and Function (1)

(Same as Environmental Studies 381) Ecosystems are complex systems, where biotic and abiotic factors interact to create the world we see around us. Understanding the nature of ecosystems is fundamental to understanding how disturbance and change in a dynamic world will influence ecosystem stability. This is especially critical as we enter the Anthropocene; a time in our planets history where one species, modern humans, dominate. Major changes brought about by increased human activity include changing climate regimes, invasive species spread and biodiversity loss. This course explores how ecosystems, both aquatic and terrestrial, are assembled (structured) and how different ecosystems process energy and matter (function). We use our understanding of structure and function to explore how different ecosystems respond to changes in the environment (including climate change, invasive species introductions, loss of biodiversity and pollution). A class project will explore an ecosystem scale problem, and students will develop a plan for effectively communicating the scientific understanding of the problem to multiple stakeholders. Ms. Christenson.

Prerequisite: Biology 241.

382a. Advanced Research Methods (1)

Design and conduct an original research project in a small collaborative group. Develop experience with experimental techniques in biology, develop a working knowledge of relevant research literature, practice scientific writing and participate in the peer review process. Research time: 6-10 hours a week. Ms. Duncan.

One 2-hour period.

Prerequisites: two units of 200-level biology and permission of the instructor.

Students enrolled in Biology 382, Advanced Research Methods, may not also register for Biology 303 to fulfill biology graduation requirements.

383b. Hormones and Behavior (1)

This course is a comparative examination of hormones and behavior in animals. We take an evolutionary approach to this topic by emphasizing (1) the common selective pressures that act on all animals and the common hormonal and behavioral responses to these pressures, and (2) how extreme selective pressures drive the evolution of unique mechanisms in the field of behavioral endocrinology. Half lecture, half student led discussions from the primary literature. Ms. Duncan.

Prerequisite: two units of 200-level biology.

Two 75-minute periods.

384a. The Ecology of Adaptive Radiations (1)

This course explores the causes of adaptive radiation, possibly the most common syndrome of proliferation of taxa, through evidence that has accumulated since the formulation of the theory. The course reviews the ecological theory of adaptive radiation, the progress of adaptive radiation and phenotypic evolution, the origins of ecological diversity, divergent natural selection between environments, the ecological basis of speciation, and ecological opportunity. Primary literature is used to develop a richer understanding of the theory of adaptive radiation, whose origins trace back to Darwin (1859). Mr. Proudfoot.

Prerequisite: two units of 200-level Biology courses.

Two 75-minute periods.

385. Mad Dogs, Vampires and Zombie Ants: Behavior Mediating Infections (1)

(Same as Psychology 385) Viruses, bacteria and parasites use host organisms to complete their lifecycle. These infectious agents are masters of host manipulation, able to hijack host processes to replicate and transmit to the next host. While we tend to think of infections as just making us sick, they are also capable of changing our behavior. In fact, many infectious agents are able to mediate host behavior in ways that can enhance transmission of the disease. In this inquiry driven course we explore the process of host behavior mediation by infectious agents, combining aspects of multiple fields including infectious disease microbiology, neurobiology, epidemiology and animal behavior. Mathematical models and computer simulations are used to address questions that arise from class discussion. Mr. Esteban and Mr. Holloway.

Prerequisites: two 200-level biology courses, or Psychology Research Methods Course and either Psychology 241 or 243, or one 200-level biology course and either Neuroscience 201 or Psychology 241, or Computer Science 250 and one of the previously listed courses.

One 3-hour period.

Not offered in 2013/14.

387. Symbiotic Interactions (1)

From the evolution of eukaryotic cells to the creation of entire ecosystems, endosymbiosis is a driving force in biology. This course provides an integrative perspective on host-symbiont interactions in diverse endosymbioses. We spend the first half of the semester examining the critical roles of symbiosis in ecology, evolution, and human systems. Then, we examine the underlying cellular and molecular processes that lead to an integrated host-symbiont partnership, for example mechanisms of host-symbiont recognition, regulation of nutrient exchange, and genomic interactions. Ms. Schwarz.

Prerequisites: two 200-level Biology courses, including one of the following: Biology 205, 218, 238, 244, 248.

Two 2-hour periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

388b. Virology (1)

Viruses cause significant diseases in humans, such as AIDS, influenza, and ebola. On the edge between living and non-living things, viruses invade, take over and alter cells in order to reproduce and transmit. Virus structure, replication and pathogenesis, major viral diseases, the immune response to viruses, and vaccination are major topics of discussion. Mr. Esteban.

Prerequisites: two units of 200-level biology, including one of Biology 205, 218, 238, 244, 248, 272; or permission of the instructor.

Two 2-hour periods.

389b. Sensory Ecology (1)

There are many behaviors that are critical to the survival and reproduction of animals including finding food, avoiding predators, attracting mates, and raising offspring. The ability to successfully engage in these behaviors is dependent on the ability of organisms to acquire and respond to information in their environment. In this course we discuss the concept of information, the types of information available in the environment, the diversity of sensory systems animals have evolved to exploit that information, and how sensory information and processing influence behavior. Sensory ecology is a highly interdisciplinary field and we make use of mathematical, physical, chemical and biological principals. The class is divided among traditional lectures, student led discussions of the primary literature, and hands-on experiences with sensory ecology data collection and analysis. Ms. Gall.

Prerequisites: two 200-level courses, with at least one of the following: Biology 226, 228, 241 or Neuroscience and Behavior 201.

Two 75-minute periods.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Execution and analysis of a field, laboratory, or library study. The project, to be arranged with an individual instructor, is expected to have a substantial paper as its final product.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.