2011-12 Catalog

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Offering Description

Biology through Darwin's Lens

Spring 2012 quarter

Jennifer Calkins biology, animal studies, literature
Fields of Study

The theory of evolution provides the best framework through which we can understand the diversity of biological systems.  In this course, we will use evolutionary theory to help us explore biological patterns ranging from the structure of a cell to the organization of ecosystems as well as biological processes ranging from the replication of genetic information to the generation of energy.  In the context of our study we will investigate the diversity of biological systems, its origin, and its current threats.  More specifically, we will study the structure, information, and energetics of biological systems and will ask how the theory of evolution can explain the patterns and processes at these levels.  For example, we will ask the following questions: What are the structures of biological systems such as cells, organisms, and communities?  How do biological systems store, replicate, and share information using genetic material, neurobiological processes, and behavior?  How do systems capture, exchange, store, and utilize energy through photosynthesis, cellular respiration, and ecological exchange?

This course will prepare students for further study in biology and will provide them with the biological literacy necessary to engage complex issues from cloning to conservation with knowledge and understanding.  The course will include lectures and small-group seminar discussions as well as lab, computational, and field-based projects.  Readings will include portions of a basic biology text, peer-reviewed research papers, and readings from popular science.  Students will be responsible for keeping a journal, doing the readings, participating in group discussions and projects, and completing weekly assignments.  Students will be evaluated on their participation, their assignments, and their performance on two exams.

Advertised Schedule
6-8p Wed, 10a-4:30p Sat
Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Offered During
Evening and Weekend