Experimental Cell and Molecular Biology

Application of contemporary molecular techniques to biological problems. Questions addressed on protein-DNA binding, protein domain structure and function, differential gene expression, protein localization. Techniques include genetic transformation, gel mobility shift assay, Western blot, Northern blot, PCR, RT-PCR, microarrays, immunolocalization, DNA sequencing. Students learn to write three scientific-style papers on their experiments.Prerequisite: Biology 201L or 202L. One course.

Grant Writing

Hands-on instruction for preparing grant proposals; preparation and revision of an NSF-format proposal; evaluation and critique of proposals prepared by fellow class members.

Unoccupied Aircraft Systems in Scientific Research

Comprehensive exploration of current unoccupied aircraft systems technologies in coastal and marine research, including aeronautical concepts, rules and regulations, safety, mission planning, aircraft design, payload selection, operational procedures, maintenance, data management and data analysis. Includes a full overview of current and emerging remote sensing applications for monitoring marine species and habitats.

Coastal Watershed Science and Policy

Examination of coastal watersheds, their biological function, and how anthropogenic modifications impact wetlands, estuaries and near shore coastal ecosystems. Human ecosystem modifications addressed in terms of alterations caused by forestry, agriculture, highways, rural housing, suburban development, urban development and industry. Discussion of human and environmental health as well as ecosystem services provided by coastal systems (biogeochemical cycling and “blue’ carbon).

Symbiosis: From Organelles to Microbiomes

Symbiotic interactions are integral to the biology of multicellular eukaryotes. The discovery of the roles of the human microbiome in the development, physiology, ecology and evolution of humans is currently transforming medicine. This course is a multidisciplinary study, at the intersection of evolutionary biology, ecology and genomics, of symbiotic systems such as plant-animal, microbe-plant, and microbe-animal symbioses spanning the entire tree of life, including the human microbiome.

Extreme Animal Adaptations

How does a whale dive to over a mile deep for over 2 hours? How does a shrimp-like animal that is larger than a human hand camouflage itself by making its entire body see-through? The overarching theme of the topics we will cover can be described as “extreme adaptations” or “physiological extremes.” We will explore interesting and significant adaptations to the typical physiological body plans.

Biophysics II

Quantitative understanding of biological systems through the application of physical principles. Course will emphasize topics that span multiple length and time scales, and different levels of biological organization. Two to four topics per semester, including possibly organismal motion from molecular processes to whole organisms, nervous systems from membrane channels to neuronal networks, noise in biology, novel biophysical technologies, etc. Prerequisite: Biology 201L, Mathematics 212 and 216 or equivalent, and calculus based introductory physics or permission of the instructors.

Ecology and Human Health

Humans are the dominant species on Earth and ecology is key to understanding the multiple feedbacks through which their activities affect human health. Fundamental principles of ecology, from population to ecosystem levels, will be examined through the lens of human health. Topics include human population growth and carrying capacity, why we age, infectious disease dynamics, the microbiome and human health, sustainable agriculture and food security, sustainable harvest of wild foods, dynamics of pollutants in food webs, ecosystem services to humans, and human impacts of climate change.

Tropical Disease, Environmental Change and Human Health

The biology, ecology, and evolution of tropical diseases and how emerging diseases are expanding their range and virulence. Environmental changes in the tropics such as climate change and land conversion impacting ecosystem and human health including: diseases, cultural medicinal practices, and changes in ecosystem functions. Based at the three OTS biological field stations in Costa Rica and surrounding landscapes. Intact and altered ecosystems impacts on human health, including assessments of insect and water-borne disease vectors.