Lecture Schedule

Week Date Topic Homework
1 Tuesday, April 4 Where the animals go. How do we know what we know? Fear and death on the Serengeti — the great migrations.  
1 Thursday, April 6 Where the animals go, part 2. The bar-tailed godwit and its 10,000 km nonstop journey. Humpback whales, from Alaska to Maui. Homework 1 Released
2 Tuesday, April 11 Keystone species and trophic cascades. Robert Paine’s wonderful seastar experiment on a tiny patch of reef in the Pacific Northwest. Otters and the Aleutians.  
2 Thursday, April 13 The species question. The distribution of species in space and time. Island biogeography and the puzzle of amphibians on oceanic islands. Homework 2 Released, Homework 1 Due
3 Tuesday, April 18 The whale. On the imperfections of the fossil record. On the perfections of the fossil record.  
3 Thursday, April 20 The whale, part 2. DNA as a document of evolutionary history. The hidden story of whale evolution in DNA. Homework 3 Released, Homework 2 Due
4 Tuesday, April 25 The ingredients of evolution. Heritable variation. The forces of evolution such as selection and drift.  
4 Thursday, April 27 The evolution of eye color. A population genetic view of eye color evolution, and the surprising reach of the coin flip idea. Homework 4 Released, Homework 3 Due
5 Tuesday, May 2 What is life? Musings on the secret of life. Life and its entropic destiny.  
5 Thursday, May 4 Eating the sun. How living organisms make a living. Biological batteries, with a special emphasis on the proton motive force. Homework 5 Released, Homework 4 Due*
6 Tuesday, May 9 Turning sugar into a cell. Big data and the proteome. The proteome by pure thought. A first look at gene regulation.  
6 Thursday, May 11 An interlude on probability as the language of reason, and the language of biology. Boltzmann, statistical mechanics, and binding. Gene regulation continued. Homework 6 + 7 Released, Homework 5 Due
7 Tuesday, May 16 Blood. The complete blood count test. The many cell types of the blood. Becoming a blood cell.  
7 Thursday, May 18 Blood, part 2. Myoglobin, hemoglobin — great molecular celebrities of modern science. Homework 6 Due
8 Tuesday, May 23 The crazy world of single-celled eukaryotes. From toxoplasma to Chlamydomonas. A most beautiful experiment! Size control in biology, with special reference to the flagellum.  
8 Thursday, May 25 Locomotion of snakes, worms, and lizards. Taming the gait. Geometric phases. Homework 8 Released, Homework 7 Due
9 Tuesday, May 30 Human impacts. Global biodiversity. Land use. How cows work.  
9 Thursday, June 1 Guest lecture by Prof. John Terborgh. Homework 9 Released, Homework 8 Due
10 Tuesday, June 6 Summary of our adventure. The place of life in the universe. The place of biology in science. The place of curiosity and joy in our lives.  
10 Thursday, June 8 No lecture. Homework 9 Due