Lecture Schedule

Week Date Topic Homework
1 Tuesday, April 2 Where the animals go. How do we know what we know? Fear and death on the Serengeti. The great migrations. Flocking and field theory.  
1 Thursday, April 4 Where the animals go, part 2. The bar-tailed godwit and its 10,000 km nonstop journey. Humpback whales, from Alaska to Maui and back again. Homework 1 Released
2 Tuesday, April 9 Keystone species and trophic cascades. Robert Paine’s seastar experiment. Otters, urchins, and the Aleutians.  
2 Thursday, April 11 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 16 The whale. On the imperfections of the fossil record. On the perfections of the fossil record.  
3 Thursday, April 18 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 23 The ingredients of evolution. Heritable variation. Selection and drift.  
4 Thursday, April 25 The evolution of eye color. Population genetics. The power of stochastic simulations. Homework 4 Released, Homework 3 Due
5 Tuesday, April 30 What is life? Musings on the secret of life. Life and its entropic destiny.  
5 Thursday, May 2 Eating the sun. How living organisms make a living. Biological batteries and the proton motive force. Homework 5 Released, Homework 4 Due
6 Tuesday, May 7 Turning sugar into a cell. Big data and the proteome. The proteome by pure thought. A first look at gene regulation.  
6 Thursday, May 9 An interlude on probability theory in biology. Boltzmann, statistical mechanics, and binding. Gene regulation continued. Homework 6 Released, Homework 5 Due
7 Tuesday, May 14 Blood. The complete blood count test. The many cell types of the blood. The journey from stem cell to blood cell.  
7 Thursday, May 16 Blood, part 2. Myoglobin, hemoglobin — great molecular celebrities of modern science. Homework 7 Released, Homework 6 Due
8 Tuesday, May 21 The crazy world of single-celled eukaryotes. From toxoplasma to Chlamydomonas. Size control in biology, with special reference to the flagellum.  
8 Thursday, May 23 Locomotion of snakes, worms, and lizards. Taming the gait. Geometric phases. Homework 8 Released, Homework 7 Due
9 Tuesday, May 28 Human impacts. Global biodiversity. Land use. Life in the Anthropocene.  
9 Thursday, May 30 To be announced. Homework 9 Released, Homework 8 Due
10 Tuesday, June 4 Summary of our adventure. The place of life in the universe. The place of biology in science. The place of curiosity in our lives.  
10 Thursday, June 6 No lecture; enjoy your summer! Homework 9 Due