T C BIO • BIO 301E : Problems in Modern Biology
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
This course covers four dimensions of biology: genetics, evolution, behavior and ecology. A background in the mechanics of inheritance is necessary to understand the process of evolution. Enough molecular genetics will be taught to appreciate the rapid advances now being made in biotechnology, particularly in relation to human health. The concept of evolution is the glue that holds together all of modern biology, and the story of the evolution of diversity on this planet is perhaps the most interesting dimension of all of biology today. The evolution of the hominids, one of which is us, will be emphasized. In the study of behavior, we will start at the lower end of the phylogenetic scale and work our way upward, always developing principles that can be applied to humans. Students can expect to get a solid grounding in ecological principles in this course and a good understanding of the impact our population has on everything on, in, or above this planet.
About the professor: Dr. Frank Bronson is professor of Zoology and director of the Institute of Reproductive Biology at UT-Austin. His research focuses generally on the process of reproduction and in particular on the strategies mammals use to reproduce in different environments. Field studies in relation to the latter interest have taken him several times to Central and South America, the Caribbean islands, Australia and Ukraine. He is also interested in the energetics of ovulation and in sexual and aggressive behavior. Dr. Bronson holds a doctorate from Pennsylvania State University. His recreational interests are writing and fly fishing.
There will be two one-hour exams and a final exam, all graded on the curve. Each one-hour exam is worth 25% of your final grade, and the final exam will count 50%. Make-ups will be given only under the most dire circumstances and only if arranged prior to a test (a phone call will do in an emergency). A subjective evaluation of your participation in formal discussion sessions will add up to 5% to your combined test scores. The grading in this course is competitive, and 5% is enough to make a difference in your letter grade in borderline cases. Note: Only before the first test can you drop this course with a grade of a Q. If you take the first test you're stuck with the grade you make on it. Also, by federal law, we can only post your grades if you sign a release giving us permission to do so. You will be given a chance to sign a release when you take the first test.
Lectures: Selected chapters in Starr and Taggarts Biology," 7th Edition: Chapters 1; 9 through 12; 17 through 28; and 46 through 52. Discussions: Selected articles.