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My Courses

My courses are geared towards ‘doing biology’ — I facilitate learning through discovery-based curricula. We collaborate on novel class-wide and small group experiments that get students into the field and wet lab and have an emphasis on quantitative modeling. For course offerings by semester see the Biology Department course listings.

(1) BIO 002: organismal and population biology, an introductory-level course;

(2) BIO 002-SP: scholars program attachment to BIO 002

(3) BIO 030: animal behavior, an intermediate-level course;

(4) BIO 131: animal communication, an advanced seminar course;

(5) BIO 093: directed reading in animal behavior, a literature research credit;

(6) BIO 094: independent research, an empirical research credit for course majors; and

(7) BIO 180: honors research (biology or neuroscience), an empirical research credit for honors biology or neuroscience majors.

BIOL 002. Introduction to Organismal and Population Biology

Introduction to the study of organisms integrating morphology, physiology, behavior, ecology, and evolution of whole organisms and populations. Lab and field components (including field trips) introduce hypothesis testing, experimental design, statistical analysis and scientific writing (W course). The laboratory component culminates in small group projects during the final month of the semester.

Prerequisites

No prerequisites.

BIOL 030. Animal Behavior

This course provides an integrative and inquiry-based approach to understanding why and how animals behave the way they do. We build from the foundation of ethology (the study of natural behavior) and explore the current state of the art in this field. To do so, we examine behavior from a whole organism perspective, including developmental and physiological influences on behavior, as well as functional consequences and the evolution of behavior. In addition to an understanding of the primary literature (5 Journal Clubs during the semester), this course has a significant field (Crum Woods) and lab component that allows us to address novel, unanswered questions in animal behavior using both observational and experimental approaches. The key skills acquired in this course are: scientific critique and literacy, quantitative reasoning, statistical inference, and careful observation.

Prerequisites

BIOL 001 and 002, or their equivalents.

BIOL 131. Animal Communication

This seminar examines animal communication from a cross-disciplinary perspective, with a focus on the mechanistic basis and evolution of communication systems. Weekly readings and student-led discussion of the primary literature are modeled after a seminar-style course in graduate school and allow students to develop an in-depth understanding of scientific critique. Engaged participation in these “crit sessions” provides students with the skills and confidence to decompose complex scientific studies, extract the relevant results, and evaluate the rigor of experimental design. By coupling these discussions with semester-long group projects in the lab, students combine theory and practice in a way that translates into a more complete and mature understanding of the scientific process. This class takes an explicitly quantitative approach to understanding animal communication.

Prerequisites

BIOL 001 and 002, or their equivalents.

Completion of one of the following: BIOL 020, 022, 026, 030, 034, 036, 039.

Recommended: a course in statistics (e.g. STAT 011).