Evolution: The History of Life on Earth
From DNA to fossils billions of years old, the evidence for evolution is all around us. This course is an introduction to the science of evolutionary biology for those not majoring in the life sciences, and it fulfills a Tier II requirement in Natural Sciences. Topics include the mechanisms of evolution, such as natural selection, adaptation, and the formation of species; the patterns of evolution, such as mass extinctions and the chronicle of life on earth; and applications of evolutionary principles to human society, such as medicine, agriculture, and biodiversity conservation.
Principles of Evolution
This course is required by all biology majors. It focuses on the patterns and processes that characterize the history and diversity of life on Earth. Both microevolution and macroevolution are covered, including population genetics, quantitative genetics, phylogenetic inference, species formation, natural selection, adaptation, punctuated equilibrium, and the Cambrian explosion, among other topics. I teach this course every fall semester, and Dr. Morris teaches the course every spring semester.
This is an advanced course on the principles and methods of systematic biology, including molecular evolution, phylogenetic inference, and phylogenetic comparative methods. Despite the title, the course is not specific to animals, and does not deal much with taxonomy. There is a strong focus on actually doing systematics, and in applying systematic methods to research. Computer labs are emphasized. This course is geared toward graduate students, but motivated undergraduates are welcome (they should talk with me first). The course is offered in the spring semester on odd numbered years (e.g., 2019).
Learn the joys of "herping"! This is a course on the biology of amphibians and reptiles. Lectures emphasize organismal biology, including natural history, systematics, anatomy, physiology, ecology, behavior, taxonomy, and biogeography. Labs are focused on either the study of specimens, or are used for field trips. There is an extended field trip (2-4 days) as well. The course is offered in the spring semester in even numbered years (e.g., 2020).