Behavioral Ecology (BIO 189)
Have you ever asked yourself, “Why did that animal do that?”. This course will focus on developing an understanding of animal behavior from an ecological and evolutionary perspective. It reviews modern methodological, both empirical and theoretical, approaches to studying animal behavior. This class will also explore key topics in animal behavior, including foraging, social learning, dynamic predator/prey behavioral interactions, resource competition, group living, sexual selection, sperm competition, sexual conflict, parent-offspring conflict, mating system evolution, social behavior, cooperation, altruism, and communication. It will focus on how scientists study animal behavior and what has been learned about the evolution and ecology of animal behavior. The ultimate goal of this course is for students to learn to think like a scientist by identifying key questions, deciding how they should be studied and critically evaluating existing evidence.
Evolution (BIO 141)
Evolution is the unifying theory of all the biological sciences. Whereas other biological disciplines describe what organisms do and how they do it, evolutionary biology explains why they do what they do in the way that they do – often incorporating data from both past and present to understand the world as it is now and provide perspective on the future. The importance and complexity of this problem means that rigorous analysis is essential to identify the most probable explanations – including the generation of testable hypotheses and proper use of observational and experimental data, as well as the use of mathematical models and statistics. Consequently, evolutionary biology is a very well developed and heavily studied field that can provide insights and predictions regarding a wide array of topics that are important to current and future generations of humans, including antibiotic resistance, climate change, disease evolution, overexploitation of natural resources. As such, it is essential for students in all the biological sciences, whatever their future career, to understand and to be able to use evolutionary methods and theory. This course is designed to enable you to develop these intellectual skills.