August 21, 2009
The diversity of people throughout the world is enormous. Usually we think just about different cultures, but biological diversity is vast as well. Most of us know that people come in all different shapes, colors, and heights, with different faces, hair types, noses and ears. People are not just their outsides! Around the world people have acquired different biological means of adapting to disease, cold temperatures, hot temperatures, high altitudes, rain forests, and desert conditions. This is a course intended for non-Biology majors who need to fulfill their General Education Requirement.
Evolution is the unifying theme of biology. How does evolution work? What are the mechanisms of evolutionary change? How can we test these mechanisms? This course considers in detail mechanisms for change at the population level and the patterns of speciation, as seen in the fossil record, comparative molecular biology, physiology and anatomy. How we account for these changes by mutation, selection, drift, and biogeographical patterns are considered and studied. This course is intended for senior biology majors; since all biology is understood through the lens of evolutionary mechanisms, this is an ideal course for all majors, irrespective of future plans.
A 20-week course that introduces human anatomy and physiology for those students who are interested in the health sciences and/or human biology in general. Topics covered in the first quarter will include homeostasis, review of basic chemistry, basic cell structure, and the study of the integumentary, muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems, in addition to introducing the senses and special senses. The second quarter covers the endocrine, reproductive, respiratory, cardiovascular, urinary and digestive systems. An extensive laboratory component is incorporated in this course to familiarize you with anatomy and physiology through the study of anatomical models, dissections, histology investigations, physiology demonstrations, and experiments using physiology equipment. In the laboratory, you will develop critical thinking skills as you assess your own scientific discoveries and use the scientific method.
This course, taught on Blakely Island, San Juan Islands, focuses on how individuals respond physiologically to their environment especially to maintain homeostasis and acquire nutrients. Topics covered will include circadian rhythms and responses to various stressors (e.g., light, heat, salinity, climate change, hyopoxia). Two recurring themes will include discussion of the way in which organisms balance acclimation and adaptation and the manner in which organisms balance tradeoffs.