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BIO 216/316: Ecology

Course description: Provides an overview of ecology as a scientific discipline. The primary emphasis is on efforts to explain and predict the distribution and abundance of organisms, how ecological communities are composed and why they vary in time and space.

Requirements: one or more courses from the organismal biology group and one college-level math course.

Course next offered: Fall 2024

BIO 106: Intro to Biostatistics 

Course description: An introduction to mathematical and statistical methods that are most useful to biologists, this course provides skills that are useful in organizing and summarizing data, graphic methods of data presentation, and testing hypotheses based on experimental results. Key mathematical methods for describing biological phenomena are included, along with basic techniques for identifying differences among groups and relationships among variables. This course may be used by biology majors to fulfill part of their mathematics requirement. Alternatively, it may be counted among the required 10 biology courses for the major.


Course next offered: Spring 2024

BIO 276/376: Biology of Social Insects

Course description: This course explores the biology of social insects including ants, bees, wasps and termites.  Through a mixture of lectures, activities and discussions, we will examine the ecology, evolution and behavior of social insects. Examples of topics include social insect taxonomy; the evolution of sociality; nest architecture; mutualisms and commensalisms involving social insects; territoriality; and how social insects provide ecosystem services. This course will include paper discussions of relevant recent literature, exposure to methods used to study social insects, and a final presentation on a research topic of the student’s choice.

Requirements: BIOL 105 OR CHEM 118 OR Permission

Course next offered: Spring 2026

BIO 266/366: Chemical Ecology

Course description: This course explores the role of chemical compounds in mediating interactions between organisms.  Through a mixture of lectures, labs and discussions, we will examine the diversity of species interactions, the structure and function of chemical compounds that mediate these interactions, and the methods used to detect these compounds. Examples will include defensive and offensive chemistry mediating antagonistic interactions in plants, insects and microorganisms; the evolution of defenses; chemicals mediating mutualisms, competition, sociality, and sexual selection; and how chemical ecology affects humans. This course will include paper discussions of relevant recent literature, exposure to laboratory techniques in chemical ecology, and a final project on a chemically mediated interaction.

Requirements: BIOL 216 OR CHEM 131 OR Permission

Course next offered: Spring 2025

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