Undergraduate Courses


EEB 211 Life on Earth: Chaos and Clockwork of Biological Design (also MOL 211)  Fall SEL 

An examination of how life evolved and how organisms function. Design--'intelligent' and otherwise--will provide a unifying theme. Why do some microbes produce slime and others do not? Why are males brightly colored in some species, but in others females are the showy sex? Why do humans have knees that fail whereas horses and zebras do not? These and other 'why is it so' questions related to the origin and history of life, genetic code, biochemistry, physiology, morphology and body plans, sex and reproduction, cooperation, and ecosystems will be explored. This course is required of all EEB majors and fulfills a requirement for medical school. J. Levine, S. Kocher

EEB 214 Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology (See MOL 214)

Important concepts and elements of molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, and cell biology, are examined in an experimental context. This course fulfills the requirement for students majoring in the biological sciences and satisfies the biology requirement for entrance into medical school.

EEB 304 Disease Ecology, Economics, and Policy (See ENV 304)  Fall SEN

The dynamics of the emergence and spread of disease arise from a complex interplay between disease ecology, economics, and human behavior. Lectures will provide an introduction to complementarities between economic and epidemiological approaches to understanding the emergence, spread, and control of infectious diseases. The course will cover topics such as drug-resistance in bacterial and parasitic infections, individual incentives to vaccinate, the role of information in the transmission of infectious diseases, and the evolution of social norms in healthcare practices. B. Grenfell

EEB 308 Conservation Biology  Fall SEN

In this class, we explore the major ecological and policy issues surrounding the conservation of biodiversity in an increasingly crowded, hungry, and hot world. Topics include the causes and consequences of species extinction; contemporary conservation strategies; and the role of species in providing important ecosystem services. D. Wilcove

EEB 309 Evolutionary Biology  Fall 

All life on Earth has evolved and continues to evolve. This course will explore evolution at both the molecular and organismal level. We will examine the features that are universal to all life and that document its descent from a common ancestor that lived over 3 billion years ago. Topics include the origin of life, the evidence for natural selection, methods for reconstructing evolutionary history using DNA, population genetics, genome evolution, speciation, extinction, and human origins. This course will provide you with the basic tools to understand how evolution works and can produce the incredible diversity of life on our planet. Staff

EEB 313 Behavioral Ecology  Spring 

How does a swarm of honeybees collectively decide on a new site for their hive? When a mother mouse protects her young, are her behaviors genetically determined? Why do ravens share food with each other? This course is an introduction to behavioral ecology, which asks why animals act the way they do, how their behaviors have been shaped by natural selection, and how these behaviors influence their surroundings. We will first discuss behaviors at the individual level, then move to reproductive behaviors. The final section of the course will focus on social evolution, the origins of cooperation, and human behavioral ecology. C. Riehl

EEB 314 Comparative Physiology  Not Offered this Spring 

The study of how animals function with emphasis on the integration of physiological processes at the cellular, organ, and whole organism levels in ecological and evolutionary contexts. Comparisons among species and higher taxa are used to illustrate general physiological principles and their evolutionary correlates. Staff

EEB 317 (NEW) Ecology of Fields, Rivers, and Woodlands  Fall SEL

An introduction to the ecology and evolution of the woods, grasslands and rivers in and around Princeton. The course will meet on Friday mornings and afternoons and after preliminary lecture undertake field trips to local sites of ecological interest: the Institute Woods, Mountain Lakes, Stony Ford, Terhune Orchards, D&R Greenway, Autumn Hill and Bowman's Hill. Students will learn about the ecology and evolution of local plant and animal communities and develop independent research projects that examine specific aspects of their ecology. A. Dobson

EEB 321 Ecology: Species Interactions, Biodiversity and Society  Fall SEL

How do wild organisms interact with each other, their physical environments, and human societies? Lectures will examine a series of fundamental topics in ecology - herbivory, predation, competition, mutualism, species invasions, biogeographic patterns, extinction, climate change, and conservation, among others - through the lens of case studies drawn from all over the world. Readings will provide background information necessary to contextualize these case studies and clarify the linkages between them. Labs and fieldwork will explore the process of translating observations and data into an understanding of how the natural world works. R. Pringle

EEB 324 Theoretical Ecology  Spring QR 

Current and classical theoretical issues in ecology and evolutionary biology. Emphasis will be on theories and concepts and on mathematical approaches. Topics will include population and community ecology, epidemiology and evolutionary theory.  S. Levin

EEB 325 Mathematical Modeling in Biology and Medicine  Fall 

How can mathematical modeling help to illuminate biological processes? This course examines major topics in biology through the lens of mathematics, focusing on the role of models in scientific discovery. Students will learn how to build and analyze models using a variety of mathematical tools. Particular emphasis will be placed on evolutionary game theory. Specific topics will include: the evolution of cooperation and of social behavior from bacteria to humans; the evolution of multicellularity; the somatic evolution of cancer; virus dynamics (within host and within populations); and multispecies interactions and the evolution of mutualisms. C. Tarnita

EEB 327 Immune Systems: From Molecules to Populations  Fall SEN

Why is there immunological polymorphism in animal populations? Why do immune systems work as they do? This course examines the theories of host-parasite coevolution, including optimal host resource allocation to immune defense in light of parasite counter-strategies, and assesses the empirical evidence by which these theories are tested. Students look at the evolutionary ecology of mechanisms used by immune systems to recognize and kill parasites, finding similarities across animal taxa. Finally, students will map immune mechanisms onto host phylogenies to understand the order in which different mechanisms arose over evolutionary time. A. Graham

EEB 329 Sensory Ecology  Not offered this Fall

Sensory ecology investigates how animals extract information from the physical and social environment. All animals acquire and use information, but the sensory systems involved vary dramatically. Bats echolocate. Birds see ultraviolet colors. Electric eels shock their prey. Spiders communicate chemically. How do these processes work, and why did they evolve? In this course, we explore the mechanisms and functions of animal communication. We first review the different senses, emphasizing physiology and neurobiology. We then examine how animals use sensory information in foraging, mate choice, cooperation, anti-predator defense and mimicry. M. Stoddard

EEB 330 (NEW)  Programming for Biology  Fall QCR

In this course you will learn two of the most popular programming languages in biology, R and python, along with current bioinformatics tools for dealing with genomic datasets. We will cover the basics of programming logic, along with project and data management skills. Special focus will be given to processing and curation of large tabular and genomic datasets. This course will serve as a practical introduction to programming, giving students the tools they need to succeed in their projects and showing how simple computational tools can liberate them to pursue the questions they are passionate about. Staff

EEB (NEW) 331 Applied Molecular Biology  Spring SEL

Students will learn laboratory techniques to construct genomic libraries for reduced representation genome sequence methods and apply evolutionary theory to empirical genomic data. Students will complete independent projects that address ecological and evolutionary questions, with a final report to immerse themselves in the professional-level practice of scientific writing. We will discuss evolutionary topics through lectures, discussions, and assigned readings. Each student project will tackle a different question rooted within molecular ecology and produce a written report formatted for a peer-review journal. B. vonHoldt

EEB 338 Tropical Biology (also LAS 351)  Spring SEL

This intensive field course, at various sites in Panama, examines the origins, maintenance, and major interactions among elements of the tropical-terrestrial biota. Study topics include identification of common orders and families of neotropical organisms; tropical climate and hydrology; biotic interactions; and contemporary and historical factors in shaping tropical landscapes, with emphasis on the Isthmian Landbridge and subsequent floral and faunal interactions. Limited to students in the Tropical Ecology Program in Panama.  Staff

EEB 346 Biology of Coral Reefs  Spring SEL

This intensive field course provides an in-depth introduction to the biology of tropical coral reefs, with an emphasis on reef fish ecology and behavior. Students learn to identify fishes, corals, and invertebrates, and learn a variety of field methods including underwater censusing, mapping, videotaping, and the recording of inter-individual interactions. Two hours of lecture/discussion, six hours of laboratory, and two hours of data analysis daily. Snorkeling in open ocean and walking in wild terrain is common. Limited to students in the Tropical Ecology Program in Panama. Staff

EEB 351 Epidemiology: An Ecological and Evolutionary Perspective (also GHP 351)  Spring

This required course for GHP students focuses on the distribution and determinants of disease. Diverse methodological approaches for measuring health status, disease occurrence, and the association between risk factors and health outcomes will be presented via classic and contemporary studies of chronic and infectious illness. The core underlying ecological and evolutionary drivers of human health will be introduced. Emphasis is on causal inference, study design and sampling, bias and confounding, the generalizability of research, health policy and research ethics. J. Metcalf

EEB 355 (NEW) Statistics for Biology  Spring

Biologists use a variety of statistical approaches to draw robust conclusions from noisy real-world data. This course covers the fundamental ideas behind these approaches and the tools needed to apply them in practice. In particular, we will discuss methods for describing and visualizing data, quantifying uncertainty, and distinguishing meaningful effects from random noise. A major goal of the course is to prepare students for analyzing their own data. Staff

EEB 356 The Land Cirsis for Food, Climate and Wildlife (see SPI 405) Spring

People have plowed up, cut-down and otherwise heavily manipulated more than 75% of the world's forests and grasslands, releasing roughly 30% of the carbon in the atmosphere added by people. In the next 30 years, the world is on a path to convert vast additional areas of forest and diverse habitats to meet rising demands for food, wood, and energy. This course will explore the scope of the challenge and possible solutions. Students will obtain a general understanding of important scientific concepts, such as the carbon cycle, basic principles of agronomy and biodiversity. They will also explore a wide range of policy issues. T. Searchinger

EEB 388 Genomics in the Wild  Spring

This course will cover genomic tools that can be used to study ecology and evolution in the field. Students will use the latest sequencing technologies (Illumina and Oxford Nanopore) to study ecological communities. Together, the students will design a set of studies that will use molecular barcoding to assess the composition of both animal and bacterial communities. They will conduct field trips to collect target samples for our experiments, and then they will extract DNA, amplify target loci, sequence their samples in the field, and analyze the resulting data. This course is offered as part of the semester abroad program in Panama. J. Ayroles, S. Kocher

EEB 403 Genes and Neurons Underlying Behavioral Evolution  Not offered this Spring

How do genes and neural circuits encode behavior? How have genes and circuits evolved to generate the incredible diversity of behaviors we see across the animal kingdom? This course will explore these questions with emphasis on recent advances in the primary literature. Each class will focus on a specific behavior with a lecture introducing what is known about its genetic and neural basis followed by a discussion of a paper that builds on that knowledge to examine how the behavior evolves. A major goal of the class will be to learn how to critique contemporary research, generate new hypotheses, and design experiments to test those hypotheses. L. McBride

EEB 404 Natural History of Mammals  Spring STL 

Students examine how mammals interact with diverse and potentially conflicting features of their environment in order to understand the concepts, methods, and material of comparative natural history. Perspectives include morphology, identification, evolution, ecology, behavior, habitat, and conservation. Original observations and experiments culminate in class, group, and individual research projects. This intensive field course entails two hours of lecture/discussion, six hours of laboratory, and two hours of data analysis daily. Limited to students in the Tropical Ecology Program in Panama. Staff

EEB 417A Ecosystems, Climate Change and Global Food  Fall SEN

Ecological systems at local to global scales. Students will examine fundamental methods of analyzing ecosystems,and apply these methods to questions about climate change and the global food system. Lectures cover theoretical elements and examples from the primary literature. Coursework emphasizes critical reading of scientific literature, written expression of scientific arguments, collaboration in group projects, and in-person presentation of findings to an audience. L. Hedin

EEB 428 The Biology of Superheroes: Exploring the Limits of Form and Function  Spring SEN

This lecture and discussion course will combine topics from graphic novels and science fiction with biological and technological research to explore bizarre phenomena in the natural world and delve into basic scientific theory and principles. The range of topics covered will include; evolution, genetics, physiology, biomechanics, brain-machine interfacing, and artificial intelligence, among others. Lectures serve to introduce each topic, merging science fiction with contemporary issues and theories in biology, while discussions will focus on in depth exploration of scientific and sociocultural concepts through the reading and literary analysis.  S. Campbell-Staton