Syllabus for Biology


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Biology 314: Ecology and Population Biology Professor: Dr. Scott Nuismer Office: Life Sciences South 266C email: Phone: 885-4096 Office Hours: Tu, Thrs 12:15-2:00 or by appointment Teaching Assistant: Jeremy Yoder Office: LSS 352 email: Office Hours: M 11:30-12:30 or by appointment Recommended Reading: A Primer of Ecology. Third Edition. Nicholas J. Gotelli. Evolutionary Analysis. Third Edition. S
  Biology 314: Ecology and Population Biology   Professor: Dr. Scott Nuismer Office: Life Sciences South 266Cemail: snuismer@uidaho.eduPhone: 885-4096Office Hours: Tu, Thrs 12:15-2:00 or by appointment Teaching Assistant: Jeremy Yoder Office: LSS 352email: jbyoder@gmail.comOffice Hours: M 11:30-12:30 or by appointment Recommended Reading: A Primer of Ecology. Third Edition. Nicholas J. Gotelli.Evolutionary Analysis. Third Edition. Scott Freeman and John C. Herron. __________________________________________________________________________ Welcome to Biology 314 (Ecology and Population Biology). In broad terms, population biology is the study of ecological and evolutionary change in groups of organisms, and the primarygoal of this course will be to introduce you to the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of thisexciting field. An additional goal of this course will be to familiarize you with the applied importanceof population biology  –  ranging from issues such as the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteriato current debates over the role of hatcheries in conserving shrinking populations of Pacific Salmon.These theoretical underpinnings and applied issues will be presented during lectures, reinforced inlaboratories, and further emphasized through exams that focus on critical thinking and problemsolving.Course lecture periods will be used to present material in a lecture format, but will also offer opportunities to ask questions and work through problems likely to appear on exams. All lectureswill be posted on the web prior to the scheduled class period. Laboratories in this course will usecomputer simulations and mathematics to help reinforce topics covered in lecture, and to developcertain topics in significantly greater detail. There will be no laboratory examinations or quizzes, butthere will be written assignments to be completed after each lab and a report to be written based onarticles drawn from the primary literature. Material from lab assignments will routinely appear onlecture exams . Laboratory assignments will be intensely mathematical and computational, and for this reason, working in groups to answer and better understand these questions is encouraged. Simplycopying other people's work is not acceptable and certainly will not help you to answer the questionsappearing on lecture exams.There will be five 1-hour exams given during the semester. Of these five, your best four willcount toward your grade. All previously covered material is fair game on each exam, so each examis cumulative . Potential exam questions will be handed out approximately 1 week before each examand actual exam questions will be very similar to these. Thus, there will be no surprises on the  exams. In addition, laboratory sections immediately preceding exams will be used as review sessionsfor the material to appear on the exam. This will be your opportunity to ask questions. Coming prepared with questions is critical to the success of these review sessions, as your TA will not prepare a review lecture. Since one of the five exams can be dropped, a make-up exam will be givenonly for legitimate and officially documented university approved reasons. If you feel an error has been made in the grading of your exam, you must bring this to the attention of your TA or instructor within 5 working days; no re-grades will be performed after this time .Your grade will be determined based upon the following point distribution:Best four out of five 1 Hour Exams 800Lab write ups 135Primary literature report 65 Total 1,000 90% of the total points or higher will be an A, 80% of the total points or higher will be a B, 70% of the total points or higher will be a C, etc. The course is not curved, these cut-offs will be strictlyapplied, and final grades will not be rounded up (or down). In other words, an 89.9% is still a B, notan A.  Lecture and Exam ScheduleDate Lecture Recommended Reading Jan 15 What is population biology?   Jan 17 Properties of populations   Gotelli, pp. 50-59   Jan 22 Malthus, Darwin, and natural selection   F&H, pp.37   Jan 27 Genetic variation   F&H, pp.109-139   Jan 29 Natural selection F&H, pp.141-174   Feb 3 Genetic drift F&H, pp.204-235   Feb 5 EXAM 1 Feb 10 Gene flow   F&H, pp.197-203   Feb 12 Speciation   F&H, pp.583-608   Feb 17 Population growth I   Gotelli, pp. 2-22   Feb 19 Population growth II   Gotelli, pp. 26-47   Feb 24 Life histories I   F&H, pp.455-498   Feb 26 Life histories II   F&H, pp.455-498   March 3 Niches/specialization   March 5 EXAM 2 March 10 Interspecific competition   Gotelli, pp. 100-116   March 12 Concepts of predation   Gotelli, pp. 125-147   March 17 Spring Break  March 19 Spring Break  March 24 Herbivory and predation   March 26 Parasitism   March 31 Evolution of infectious disease   F&H, pp.501-517   April 2 MutualismApril 7 Coevolution   April 9 EXAM 3 April 14 Describing communities   April 16 Island Biogeography   Gotelli, pp. 155-175   April 21 Community assembly   April 23 Metapopulations   Gotelli, pp. 81-97    April 28 Applied population biology   April 30 EXAM 4 May 5 No class May 7 Review May 15 EXAM 5 (10:00-12:00)
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