Plants and People

The history of humans is deeply intertwined with plants. We depend on them for food, fuel, beverages, medicine, textiles, shelter, and trade. This course explores the evolutionary diversity of plants across the Green Tree of Life and their importance to people through time, the history of their domestication, their current roles in our society, and in our ecosystems. Includes laboratory investigations and scheduled field trips.


Introduction to diversity and biology of amphibians and non-avian reptiles. Emphases on their evolutionary history, including the relationships among the major taxonoic groups and to other taxa. Topics include evolutionary adaptations with regard to life history, physiology, behavior. Human interactions and other species conservation. Examples from North Carolina and the Southeastern US will be used whenever possible. Laboratory activities, field projects, required and optional field trips. Prerequisite: Biology 202L or equivalent.

Developmental Biology

Mechanisms of fertilization, control of cell divisions, diversification of cell types, organization and differentiation of cells and tissues of the organism, and patterning necessary to establish the body plan of many organisms including vertebrates, invertebrates and plants. Included among these mechanisms are the roles of transcription factors in controlling the trajectories toward tissues, signal transduction, morphogenetic movements, and other mechanisms used by different plants and animals to build a functional adult.

Gateway to Biology: Genetics and Evolution

Introduction to principles transmission genetics and evolution. Includes Mendelian and non-Mendelian inheritance, quantitative genetics, genetic mapping, evidence for evolution, natural selection, genetic drift, kin selection, speciation, molecular evolution, phylogenetic analysis. Relevance to human family and social structure, evolution of infectious disease, human hereditary disorders, social implications of genetic knowledge. Taught in Beaufort. Instructor: Schultz

Evolutionary Genomics

We are now a decade into the genomics revolution that generated data allowing us to gaze into our past, present, and future in ways that were beyond imagining when Darwin's theory of Natural Selection was first introduced. The unification of genomic data, bioinformatics, and evolutionary theory has transformed our understanding of human history, our place within the Tree of Life, and the impact that our species is having on those with whom we share the planet.

Coalescence and Evolution

Survey of theoretical and empirical aspects of modern population genetics in the post-coalescence era. Coincident with the development of coalescence theory, evolutionary biology began a profound and pervasive transformation. This course presents the basics of coalescence theory. It builds upon this perspective to address an array of summary statistics and inference methods developed for the analysis of genomic data. Instructor: Uyenoyama

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.