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BIO 390


Selected topics in biology are offered. Prerequisite: one year of biology or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
One year of biology or permission of instructor 1/2-1 course

Fall Semester information

Sarah Lee

390A: Tps:Marine Climate Change

This course will examine climate change in marine ecosystems from ecological and conservation perspectives. Using a combination of primary scientific literature and the latest findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, students will investigate and discuss (1) the physical and geochemical basis of marine climate change, (2) the associated impacts on marine populations and communities, and (3) strategies to mitigate or adapt to the consequences.

The primary goal is for students to be able to explain the fundamental causes and consequences of marine climate change AND to hone their ability to make and defend arguments based on scientific reasoning and published evidence. Students will prepare critical evaluations of each reading and take turns presenting papers and leading discussion. As a capstone to the course, each student will write a popular press style article about a topic of his or her choice.

Spring Semester information

Kevin Kinney

390A: Tps:Biology of Stress

This class will introduce students to the biologic concept of stress, from its origins in the early part of the 20th century to modern research in the field. We will be examining the positive and negative effects of the stress response (primarily in mammals), and the different effects of chronic, intermittent, and acute stress as well as physical vs. psychological stress. In addition to learning the effects on many of the major physiologic systems (cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, reproductive, endocrine, etc) and on mental health and behavior, we will also touch briefly on the interaction of socioeconomic status and physiology.

This is an "S" class, and a major focus of the class will also be on reading primary and review literature in the field and communicating the results in oral form, both live and in the form of recordings/podcasts. Students can expect to present, singly or in groups, at least 4 times during the semester, including a podcast project at the end of the semester.

Bruce Serlin

390B: Tps:Plants, Diet & Health

We all eat. It is a vital activity required to sustain both our development and our health. It is also an activity that binds groups of people culturally. This course explores the true meaning of the phrase "You are What You Eat". It will give you sufficient understanding in several inter-related topic areas that you will be able to make more informed decisions relating to what you eat than the vast majority of the U.S. population and you will gain insight into why a Western-style diet favors the occurrence of diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic-related diseases.