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Course Descriptions & Syllabi


SYLLABUS: BIODIVERSITY (2 CREDITS; MEETS 3 HRS LECT/3 HRS LAB). Following a review of evolution and natural selection, this course surveys all domains of life. Emphasis is placed on how different organisms interact with their environment and with each other. The course includes a weekly laboratory session and night exams. The course is a foundation-building course intended for biology and other science majors and students majoring in Environmental Studies. (Fall) (NSD)

Methods in Ecology & Evolution

SYLLABUS: METHODS IN ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY (2 CREDITS; MEETS TWO 3-HR BLOCKS). This lecture/laboratory course is a foundation-building course that contains instruction on reading the primary literature in ecology and evolutionary biology, conducting literature searches, designing experiments, writing scientific papers, using quantitative methods, exercising critical thinking skills for data analyses, creating graphs, and developing specific laboratory and field research skills for ecology and evolutionary biology. Prerequisite: Biology 50-102, 112, 122, 162 and Mathematics 52-113. (Fall and Spring)


SYLLABUS: ECOLOGY (3HR LECT/3 HR LAB). This class explores the interactions of organisms with their biotic and abiotic environment. In particular, the course looks at the influence of nutrients, climate, competition, predation and symbiotic relationships on individuals, populations and communities. This course includes a mandatory weekend field trip. Prerequisite: Biology 50-222 or equivalent. Cross-listed as Environmental Studies 49-434. (Alternate Spring)

Wetland Ecology and Policy

SYLLABUS: WETLAND ECOLOGY AND POLICY (4 HRS CREDIT). Although cross-listed with Environmental Studies, Wetland Ecology and Policy must first be considered a biology course. The first third of the semester discusses the scientific definition and function of wetland habitats covering topics ranging from nutrient cycling to hydrology and plant adaptations to restoration of degraded habitats. However, probably more than any other aquatic resource, wetlands do not exist in a static vacuum in terms of their biological state or legal state. After gaining a scientific understanding of what properties embody a wetland, the second third of the course delves into the social and political debate that surrounds wetland science including wetland restoration versus creation. The last third involves a mock congressional session where students present wetland bills based on a specific constituency. Prerequisite: Foundation year of Biology or Introduction to Environmental Studies. (Occasional) (NSD)

Invertebrate Ecology

SYLLABUS: INVERTEBRATE ECOLOGY (3HR LECT/3 HR LAB). This class explores the amazing diversity found across marine, terrestrial and aquatic habitats. The lecture component involves taxonomic descriptors of different groups, but more specifically focuses on the ecology of these organisms through critical reading of the primary literature. Through the semester, the course confronts topics that impact many invertebrates, such as exotic species, habitat degradation, chemical communication, predator-prey interactions and competition. In weekly lab sessions, special emphasis is placed on conducting experiments, learning to identify organisms, and investigating the role of aquatic insects in ponds and streams through field work. Prerequisite: Biology 50-222 or equivalent. Biology 50-434 is recommended but not required. (Alternate Spring)

Intro to Animal Behavior

SYLLABUS: INTRODUCTION TO ANIMAL BEHAVIOR (1 HOUR CREDIT). This course will introduce students to the major in Animal Behavior through reading, lecture and discussion of a wide range of topics related to the scientific study of animal behavior. Faculty members in the Animal Behavior program present their various programs of research and students will read primary literature related to these presentations. Discussion will focus on these areas of research as well as the field of animal behavior. Must be taken P/D/F. In Fall following FYS

First Year Seminar: Chocolate

SYLLABUS: Southwestern University's First Year Seminar Program aims to introduce students to college while explaining what it means to live and learn in a liberal arts based academic environment. In general, an FYS develops students' abilities in the following areas: reading, writing, critical thinking, research methods, informed discussion and creativity. In this section of FYS, students will read, think and write about the importance of chocolate in both a biological as well as societal context.

Why title this seminar "Multi-chocolated???" Nearly everyone loves at least some kind of chocolate and I see it as the perfect media to integrate into a FYS. The following are themes that we will explore in this course:

1) Chocolate is multi-cultural;
2) Chocolate comes in multiple forms;
3) The # times average person encounters chocolate has multiplied;
4) Applications of chocolate are multi-faceted;
5) One can study chocolate using a multi-disciplinary approach.

Updated 1 July 2011

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