Biology 252 Organisms, Evolution, and Ecology

Introduction to Biology 252

BIO 252-Orqanisms, Evolution, and Ecology-asks you to increase the spatial and temporal scale at which you study biology, relative to the course's major pre-requisite, BIO 251. The course retains a focus on organisms as the center of biology. As BIO 252's subject matter relies strongly on mathematical tools and reasoning, BIO 252 also has MAT 124 or 131 as a pre-requisite. We expect that by the time you take BIO 252 (and are veterans of BIO 150 and 251), you will be proficient at designing investigations, carrying out group projects, and communicating your findings in the same formats that professional biologists use. The course will also provide you with substantial experience in the statistical analysis of biological data.

This course focuses on fundamental activities of whole organisms, including resource acquisition and allocation, reproduction, information-transmission, growth, and (animal) movement. By placing those activities in their ecological and evolutionary contexts, BIO 252 addresses the question of why organisms possess the features they do in addition to the question of how those features operate. Meanwhile, BIO 252 requires that you understand the cellular and molecular underpinnings of organismal features and activities, as well as the consequences of those features and activities for the movement of material and energy through ecosystems. Thus the course emphasizes the synthesis and integration of concepts across multiple levels of biological organization. One way the course encourages this integration is by taking concepts, organisms, and even data sets from BIO 251 and applying them to larger-scale biological phenomena. For all Biology majors and also for others who take BIO 252 (e.g., pre-meds majoring in other subjects, Biological Chemistry majors) the 251-252 sequence showcases the unity and diversity of biology.

The scheduling of BIO 252 also encourages integration. Student investigations, class projects, exercises, paper discussions, lectures, etc. are scheduled in workshop format. Any given class period may involve any of these activities, and "labs" are not restricted to single 3-hr periods per week. Much of the course is structured around student-designed studies, student-collected data, and student-communicated findings.


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