Course Topics

Principles of Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity: BIO-151
An exploration of the diversity of life, its origins, and interactions among organisms and their environment. We introduce key concepts in evolution and ecology, provide an overview of the features of major taxonomic groups and their evolutionary relationships, and explore some of the practical and ethical implications of biodiversity. Through laboratory and field investigations, students develop their ability to make observations, analyze data, read primary literature, and communicate results. Designed as an introduction to biology; required for the biology major and minor.

Botany: BIO-252
A study of the anatomy, physiology, and evolution of the major groups of plants with an emphasis on field identification of seed plants. Students interested  in developing field biology skills should take this course during their sophomore or junior year. Lectures and laboratory. Laboratory includes field trips that require hiking.

Ecology: BIO-365
A study of the complex patterns and processes in the natural world. We examine questions about the distribution and abundance of species and communities, the transfer of matter and energy in ecosystems, and how these relate to biodiversity. Lectures and laboratory. Laboratory includes field trips requiring hiking and directed research projects.

Winter Biology: BIO-149/249
We will study the natural history of the southern boreal forest ecosystem in northern Minnesota, including the physiological and behavioral adaptations of organisms to extreme cold. Course activities will include skiing and/or snowshoeing excursions to remote natural areas, assigned readings, observations of natural history, and participation in biology research projects. (Biology 249: Biology majors will be responsible for reading and presenting journal articles and conducting a scientific research project.) We will be based at Wilderness Canoe Base and Menogyn YMCA camps at the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. An eagerness to contribute to the larger group is essential, as participants will live in primitive cabins and will participate in daily chores of communal living.

The Impacts of Mining and Tourism on Indigenous Peoples and the Environment of Northern Chile: PAID-450
The course will take place in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, where for millennia people have made a living in a remote and extremely arid environment. We will examine how mining and tourism have affected the physical and biotic environment of the region, and how these environmental changes impact the livelihoods of indigenous peoples. Through readings, site visits, and data analysis, students will be asked to observe and document the ways in which these industries affect the social, political, and economic conditions of the Atacameño people.

Directed Readings: BIO-375

Directed Research: BIO-389

Senior Honors Project: BIO-493

Past Courses Taught:
Food and Environment: PAID-450
Environmental Conservation: SCI-330

Students in class
Students in class
Student presentation