Islands and Evolution (BI129). This course, designed for non-majors, is an exploration of the importance of islands in the development of the theory of evolution. Students learn basic principles of evolution and population genetics. We also read a biography of Charles Darwin and Jonathan Wiener’s book, The Beak of the Finch.
Evolution and Diversity (BI164). This course is the second of our two-course gateway sequence for the Biology major. Topics include Mendelian genetics, population genetics, mechanisms of evolution, reconstruction of evolutionary pathways, biogeography and a survey of the major groups of organisms.
Science and Baseball (BI223). In this class, we explore a number of scientific disciplines through the lens of baseball. Topics include evolution, animal behavior, physiology, biomechanics, psychology and physics. In the laboratory portion of the class, students work with the programming language R to explore the rich data of Major League Baseball.
Marine Invertebrate Zoology (BI254). This class is an intensive study of the major groups of marine invertebrates with laboratories devoted to detailed study of the diversity of groups, using living and preserved specimens. The class involves some cooperative writing assignments and exploration of the primary literature.
Winter Ecology (BI257). This class is taught during January. Lectures cover the basic principles of heat transfer, snow and fog and adaptations to subfreezing temperatures by vascular plants, terrestrial and intertidal invertebrates, fish, amphibians, birds and mammals. Extensive snow-shoe excursions and the construction of quinzhees (snow huts) are part of the course.
Ornithology (BI334). This class entails a thorough exploration of bird biology including evolution, paleontology, physiology, anatomy, life histories, cooperative breeding, brood parasitism, navigation and orientation, migration and conservation. Frequent field trips are taken during laboratory sessions. Students learn to identify over 100 Maine birds by sight and over 50 by ear.
Marine Ecology (BI354). This course covers the basis principles of community ecology, drawing primarily from the marine ecological literature. The class involves extensive reading and criticism of the primary literature. Students in the optional laboratory conduct a semester-long independent research project.
Tropical Biology (BI/ES358). This JanPlan class rotates among different instructors but always involves a trip to a tropical destination. When I teach the class, we spend 10 days of January in Ecuador, including six days on the Galápagos. Students learn the seminal importance of the Galápagos in the development and refinement of evolutionary theory.