Ecophysiology of Global Change, Biology 353/453 Fall Semester
Course Description: Global change is an emerging threat to human health and economic stability. Rapid changes in climate, land use, and prevalence of non-native species generate novel conditions outside the range of typical conditions under which organisms evolved. Already we are witnessing the global redistribution of plants and animals, changes in the timing of critical life cycle events, and in some cases local extinction of populations. This course explores the impacts of global change on biological systems at levels from individuals to ecosystems; among animals, plants and microbes; across ecological to evolutionary timescales; and from local to global spatial scales. Throughout, physiology is emphasized as a core driver of biological responses to global change. Traditional lectures will be accompanied by discussions of primary literature articles. The laboratory component will involve the development of an independent project at the University Farm, and dissemination of results through traditional (e.g. written paper) and new (e.g. podcast) media. This class will fulfill a laboratory requirement of the B.A. in Biology. This class will fulfill an additional laboratory requirement of the B.S. in Biology. Pre-requisites: Undergraduate: BIOL 214 and 216; Graduate: graduate standing
Quantitative Biology Laboratory, Biology 315/415 Spring Semester
Course Description: This course will apply a range of quantitative techniques to explore structure-function relations in biological systems. Using a case study approach, students will explore causes of impairments of normal function, will assemble diverse sets of information into a database format for the analysis of causes of impairment, will analyze the data with appropriate statistical and other quantitative tools, and be able to communicate their results to both technical and non-technical audiences. The course has one lecture and one lab per week. Students will be required to maintain a journal of course activities and demonstrate mastery of quantitative tools and statistical techniques. Graduate students will have a final project that applies these techniques to a problem of their choice.
Addendum: This course aims to provide experience with the management, analysis, and presentation of biological data. This is a topics course, spanning simple linear regression, mixed effects modeling, model selection, spatial and phylogenetic correlation structures, principal components analysis, and structural equation modeling. Our emphasis here is on breadth rather than depth. The goal is to provide students with a basic statistical toolkit that can be expanded and adapted.
We will use the R Statistical Environment (note that no previous training in computer programming is required).