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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Students develop a solid conceptual foundation for understanding core biological topics, including: biomolecules and chemistry in biology; molecular biology; foundations of genetics; principles of evolution; metabolism and physiology; functional morphology; biodiversity and conservation. Explore scientific underpinnings of current issues, including why biological knowledge is essential to global citizenship. Develop critical thinking skills to integrate multiple concepts, and solve novel problem.