Undergraduate Courses

COURSES OFFERED IN EEB


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

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. D. Rubenstein


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 215 Quantitative Principles in Cell and Molecular Biology (See MOL 215)

Central concepts and experiments in cellular, molecular, and developmental biology with an emphasis on underlying physical and engineering principles. Topics include important insights into the genetic code; energetics and cellular organization; communication, feeding, and signaling between cells; ideas about feedback loops and cellular organization; problems and solutions in development; and the organization of large cellular systems, such as the nervous and immune systems. Satisfies the requirement for entrance into the Department and the requirement for entrance into medical school.


EEB 255A Life in the Universe (See GEO 255A); EEB 255B Life in the Universe (See GEO 255B)

This course introduces students to a new field, Astrobiology, where scientists trained in biology, chemistry, astronomy and geology combine their skills to discover life's origins and to seek extraterrestrial life. Topics include: the origin of life on Earth; the prospects of life on Mars, Europa, Enceladus and extra-solar planets. Students will also compete in class to select landing sites and payloads for the next robotic missions to Mars and Europa.  255A is the core course for the Planets and Life certificate.


EEB 302 Practical Models for Environmental Systems (See ENV 302)  Spring QR

Humans are increasingly affecting environmental systems throughout the world. This is especially true for activities associated with energy production, water use, and food production. To understand the environmental impacts, quantitative modeling tools are needed. This course introduces quantitative modeling approaches for environmental systems, including global models for carbon cycling; local and regional models for water, soil, and vegetation interactions; and models for transport of pollutants in both water and air. Students will develop simple models for all of these systems, and apply the models to a set of practical problems. M. Celia.


EEB 303 Agriculture, Human Diets and the Environment (See ENV 303)  Spring STN

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. D. Rubenstein.


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

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 306 Human Evolution (See ANT 206) Spring EC

An investigation of the evidence and background of human evolution. Emphasis will be placed on the examination of the fossil and other evidence for human evolution and its functional and behavioral implications.  J. Monge


EEB 308 Conservation Biology Fall STN 

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. Two lectures, one preceptorial. 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. B. vonHoldt


EEB 311A Animal Behavior Fall STN 

An examination of the mechanisms and evolution of the behavior of humans and other animals. Topics include the sensory worlds of animals, the nature of instinct, neural mechanisms of perception, comparative studies of communication, learning, cognition, mate choice, and social behavior, and the biology of human development and language acquisition.  J. Gould


EEB 313 Behavioral Ecology Fall 

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 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. Three lectures, one three-hour laboratory. Prerequisite: 210 or 211. Staff


EEB 315 Human Adaptation (See ANT 215) not offered this Fall


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

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. Precepts 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. Two lectures, one preceptorial computer laboratory. Prerequisite: one year of calculus. S. Levin


EEB 325 Mathematical Modeling in Biology and Medicine not offered this 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 326 Human Genomics: The Past, Present and Future of the Human Genome (also ISC 326) Spring 2017

The completion of the human genome and the continuing effort to sequence tens of thousands of human genomes is yielding unprecedented insights into human biology and the evolutionary history of our species. We will review the key advances enabling researchers to decipher the structure and function of the human genome as well as the genetic basis of variation among individuals and populations. Topics include the evolutionary origins and current structure of human populations, methods for detecting genomic features, cancer genomics and mapping the genes and variants underlying population-specific adaptations and disease susceptibility. Andolfatto, Ayroles, Singh


EEB 327 Immune Systems: From Molecules to Populations  Fall STN 

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 328 Ecology and Epidemiology of Parasites and Infectious Diseases Spring STL 

An introduction to the biology of viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, worms, arthropods, and plants that are parasitic upon other animal and plant species. The major emphasis will be on the parasites of animals and plants, with further study of the epidemiology of infectious diseases in human populations. Studies of AIDS, anthrax, and worms, and their role in human history, will be complemented by ecological and evolutionary studies of mistletoe, measles, myxomatosis, and communities of parasitic helminths. Limited to students in the Tropical Ecology Program in Panama. A. Dobson


EEB 329 Sensory Ecology 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 332 Pre-Columbian Peoples of Tropical America and Their Environments (also LAS 350) Spring SA 

An intensive course on the pre-European history of Amerind cultures and their environments in the New World tropics. Topics include the people of tropical America; development of hunting/gathering and agricultural economies; neotropical climate and vegetation history; and the art, symbolism, and social organization of native Americans. Daily lectures, field trips, and laboratory experiences and incorporates methods and problems in field archaeology, paleoethnobotany and paleoecology, and archaeozoology. Limited to students in the Tropical Ecology Program in Panama. This course does not count as an EEB departmental. Prerequisite: EEB 321. Staff


EEB 338 Tropical Biology (also LAS 351) Spring STL 

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. 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. Prerequisite: 321. Staff


EEB 346 Biology of Coral Reefs  Spring STL 

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. Prerequisite: 321. 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. M. Todd


EEB 380 Ecology and Conservation of African Landscapes  Spring STL

Only six percent of Africa's land area (containing a fraction of its biodiversity) is protected, and these areas are rarely large enough to sustain 'charismatic megafauna'. Mostly, wildlife must share land with people also facing survival challenges. This course will explore how wildlife and people interact in the Ewaso Ecosystem in central Kenya where new approaches to conservation are being developed. Lectures will cover the ecology of tropical grasslands and first principles underlying the forces shaping biodiversity patterns. Field trips and projects will examine the dynamics between human actions and biodiversity patterns.  R. Pringle, P. Kahumbu


EEB 384 Terrestial Paleoecology  Spring

Terrestrial paleoecology is the study of vegetation and animals in ancient ecosystems. The paleoecology of eastern Africa is significant because it can shed light on the potential role that climate played in human evolution. This course aims to teach students the principles of paleoecology primarily through fieldwork, lab work, and research projects. In the first half of the course, students will be introduced to basic methods in the modern Mpala ecosystem. In the second, they will explore the rich record of human evolution in the Turkana Basin. Students will study bones, teeth, plants, or soils to reconstruct modern and ancient ecosystems. Staff


EEB 386 Vector Biology  Spring

Malaria, trachoma, leishmaniasis and other vector¬borne diseases take a huge toll on social and economic spheres in developing countries. Huge numbers of work days and lives are lost due to diseases that continue to challenge the technologies and adaptations of humans. Basic research is an essential part of building a range of further scientific questions as well as laying the groundwork for making applied changes based on sound knowledge. Understanding the biology of vectors and the links with climate, demographic and environmental change will enable the development of more effective tools toward disease control and prevention.  D. Martins


EEB 403 Genes and Neurons Underlying Behavioral Evolution  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 Kenya. Prerequisite: 210 or 211. D. Rubenstein


EEB 409 Understanding the Evolution of Adaptive Systems: From Sex to Ebola  Fall 

Nature is rife with extraordinary variation in form and function: from bird feathers to the shape of mice sperm or the intriguing immunity of ticks. Recent advances have brought an unprecedented level of resolution to our understanding of how changes in allele frequency generate phenotypic change. We can now study how mutations shape an organism's variation by changing coding sequences, or determining the regulatory information that may change when, where and how a gene is expressed. Topics will stretch across time and scales, from past events that have shaped biological diversity to rapid evolution in experimental evolutionary studies.  J. Ayroles


EEB 417B Ecosystems and Global Change (also ENV 417B) not offered this Fall STL

An introduction to the concepts, approaches, and methods for studying complex ecological systems, from local to global scales. Students will examine nutrient cycling, energy flow, and evolutionary processes, with emphasis on experimental approaches and comparisons between terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems. Particular attention will be on effects of human activities, including climate change, biodiversity loss, eutrophication, and acid rain. Prerequisites: 210 or 211 or equivalent; CHM 301 or equivalent. Two 90-minute classes, one three-hour laboratory. L. Hedin