The study of life’s “fifth kingdom”: the fungi. Even though they share an equal evolutionary standing with plants and animals, to most people fungi are amongst the most mysterious and least understood of nature’s inhabitants. Just what is a fungus anyway? Where do fungi live, and what are they doing out there? This course will provide answers to questions like these, as well as provide examples of the practical uses of fungi in industry and research and of the roles that some of them play as agents of disease.
A study of the diversity of vertebrates including past and present radiations. This course focuses on the various and diverse adaptations in behavior, ecology, morphology and physiology that allow vertebrates to successfully inhabit water, air and land. (Course normally offered every two to three years.)
How does a single fertilized egg cell give rise to a multicellular animal? Developmental biology is the discipline that tries to answer this question. In this class, we will search for that answer both in classical experiments and the most cutting edge modern research. Understanding embryonic development is a stepping stone towards understanding the evolution of animal diversity, adaptation of forms and functions, the onset of birth defects and cancer, and even the processes that make us each unique.
An evolutionary and ecological approach to questions of why and how animals behave as they do. Emphasis is on how traits help individuals maximize the survival of genes within them. Laboratories will involve quantitative data collection in both the laboratory and field.
Biology 200 recommended. Math 111 or equivalent suggested.
A study of the reproductive processes leading to fertilization of an egg, and the morphological changes that occur in animal embryonic development from fertilization to birth. This anatomically-based course will focus on the development of the major organ systems and body plan of vertebrates, including comparisons of developmental patterns among vertebrates and understanding what happens when the patterns are disrupted to produce birth defects.
An interdisciplinary examination of the environmental issues of a region of the world famous for its captivating scenery, immense richness and dire scarcity of natural resources, and cultural diversity of its people. Special attention will be devoted to the role of parks and community-based conservation projects in achieving a balance between people's needs and wildlife conservation. By itself, this course satisfies an upper-level requirement for the Biology major; when combined with Biology 214, the two courses together satisfy a requirement for one upper-level course with laboratory.
An in-country exploration of the major environmental issues of Namibia, one of the world's most arid and most beautiful countries. Students will spend three weeks in the region, visiting different ecosystems, such as the Namib Desert, dry thornveld savannas, and the Kalahari sands. They will meet with indigenous people, NGOs, and governmental officers involved in local environmental issues. Elephant and cheetah tracking can be part of the educational experience during this field study trip.
The Earth’s climate is a complex system with many components, including the atmosphere, ocean, land, and the creatures that inhabit these spaces. This course will address the science behind climate change, focusing on 1) the mechanisms that govern climate; and 2) how climate interfaces with the biological world. Students will engage with both concepts and real climate data to explore these two areas. Specific biological topics will include: species distribution, conservation biology, agriculture, disease, and ocean acidification.
This course is offered at the Semester in Environmental Science (SES) Program at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Students accepted into the SES Program will take this course.
The study of microorganisms from the perspectives of molecular biology, metabolism, physiology, genetics, evolution and ecology. Principal emphasis will be placed on prokaryotic microorganisms (the bacteria and archaea) and the importance of their metabolic strategies and physiology in defining the roles that they play in nature including, though not limited to, the ability of pathogenic microorganisms to survive in a host and cause disease. The laboratory emphasizes the development of skills in isolation and characterization of bacteria.