Undergraduate Special Topics Fall 2017

medical and forensic plant biology

BOT4935 section 23F7

Instructor: Dr. Emily Sessa

Credits: 03
Class meetings:   Monday and Wednesday, periods 4-5; 114 Rolfs Hall
Text Recommended: Readings: Will be posted as PDFs on the course Canvas website.

Brief Description:
Covers basic plant taxonomy, systematics, uses of plants by animals, various human cultures, and in the development of modern medicine and drug development. Uses of plant tissues and products in
forensic investigations will also be discussed. – See attached syllabus.

data & analysis in natural sciences

ZOO4926 section 1F61

Instructor: Dr. Michal Kowalewski

Credits: 03
Class meetings:   Monday and Wednesday, period 3;
Text Recommended: Readings: will assigned and provided in class

Brief Description:
This course will combine lectures and hands-on lab activities with focus on practical applications of classic statistical methods in natural sciences. Examples will primarily derive from ecology, paleobiology, and geological sciences. Lab sessions will provide practical training in using R for data processing and analyses. The course will consist of self-contained modules built around empirical examples. Although some of the topics are inherently biological, many aspects of the course should be transferable to other disciplines of natural sciences. This course will provide intuitive (rather than mathematical) introduction to common methods used in natural sciences to analyze empirical and experimental data. The course will NOT cover phylogenetic methods.- See attached syllabus.

biology of snakes

ZOO4926 section 11HB

Instructor: Dr. Harvey Lillywhite

Credits: 02
Class meetings:   Wednesday, periods 6-7;  TBA
Textbook: H.B. Lillywhite, How Snakes Work: Structure, Function and Behavior of the World’s Snakes, Oxford University Press, 2014 (available at university book stores).

Brief Description:
This course will feature lectures and discussions related to fundamental aspects of the biology of snakes. Topics will include evolutionary history, systematics, diversity, structure, function, and behavior, including treatment of field and laboratory techniques in research, and consideration of the health, welfare, and conservation of snake biota. Discussion will cover the processes and mechanisms of maintenance, activity, and integration in contexts of behavior, ecology, and evolutionary history. The course will feature attributes of snakes, but is also comparative in the sense that comparisons with other vertebrates will be important for certain topics of discussion.- See attached syllabus.


ZOO4926 section 11D9

Instructor: Prof. Edward L. Braun

Credits: 03
Class meetings:   Tuesday & Thursday, period 3;  Thursday 4th period.
Textbook: A Primer: Revised Edition, by Geoff Baldwin et al. PublisherL Imperial College Press; Revised editon (Oct. 25, 2015) Language: English, ISBN-10: 1783268794 or ISBN-13:978-1783268795

Brief Description:
Synthetic Biology is a stimulating and challenging survey of the field of synthetic biology.  Synthetic biology is a diverse field that merges genetics and engineering and use methods from those fields to: 1) fabricate and redesign existing biological systems; and 2) design and fabricate biological components and systems that do not already exist in the natural world.  This course will comprise lectures, discussions, readings from the scientific literature, and a class project.  See attached syllabus.

Statistical Principles for the Biological Sciences

ZOO4926 section 14C7

Instructor: Dr. José Miguel Ponciano

Credits: 03
Class meetings:   Monday and Wednesday, periods 8-9;  TBA
Textbooks or Other Readings (not required) Rice 1995. Mathematical Statistics. Pielou, E.C. 1969. An introduction to mathematical ecology
Software (Required)
R, freely distributed at http://www.r-project.org

Brief Description:
The aim of the course is to acquaint senior undergraduates and graduate students in the natural sciences with fundamental principles of statistical inference, and provide the foundation for statistical learning in life sciences graduate school. I will share my vision of statistics and stochastic
processes as a great language to translate fundamental questions in biology into testable hypotheses and models that can be confronted with data. I will present basic probability distributions as stochastic models of ecological and genetic processes and fundamental concepts of maximum likelihood inference, Bayesian statistics and computer intensive techniques. The class will be taught using regular lectures on M & W, periods 8 & 9 and on Fridays, I will have my schedule open for office hours, all day except from 10:30AM to 1:30PM. The course will begin with a short review of basic probability concepts and an introduction to R. A note on software: The course DOES NOT focus on learning R, but rather, on providing the statistical foundation to students needing to program statistical solutions for their own biological questions. In that sense, R learning in this course does not come by repeating instructions but rather, by doing.  See attached syllabus.


ZOO4926 section 06HA

Instructor: Dr. Lisa Taylor

Credits: 02
Class meetings: Monday & Wednesday, Per. 4;  10:40-11:30, Bartram 211.
Textbook: Levi, H. & Levi, L. A Guide to Spiders and Their Kin. St Martins Press. (Tiny field guide) Edwards, GB and Marshall, S. 2002. Florida’s Fabulous Spiders. World Pubns.Foelix, R. 2011. Biology of Spiders. 3rd Edition. Oxford Press. Bradley, RA & Buchanan, S. 2012. Common Spiders of North America. U. California Press.

Brief Description:

This course will introduce you to the fascinating world of spiders and their relatives. You will learn about many aspects of their biology, especially their ecology, behavior, and evolution. Spiders are diverse and while identification is not the focus of the course, your goal will be to comfortably recognize and be familiar with the diversity and biology of members of ~20 common spider families as well as several common Gainesville species. See attached syllabus.

animals and human affairs

ZOO4926 section 1F64

Instructor: Dr. Rob Guralnick

Credits: 03
Class meetings:  Tuesday, period 9 and Thursday, periods 8-9; Chemical Engineering Hall 316
Text Recommended: Key Readings: See attached syllabus.

Brief Description:
This interdisciplinary course serves as an introduction to animal life, human and animal interrelationships, and national and international policies and their implementations that support animal life now and into the future. The course is divided into four thematic sections. The first section cover a brief overview of the history of animals, taking a long view. The second portion of the course discusses key human animal interrelationships in the context of animal evolution, covering examples across the animal Tree of Life. This section focuses less on current farm or ranch practices per se, although some mention of these do occur. Instead, this course explores how domestication has happened in key case studies, including bees in Asia Minor, silkworms in the orient, turkeys in the Americas, horses in Ukraine and Kazakstan, and sheep by farmers in the Fertile Crescent in Africa, the middle East and Western Asia.


BOT4935 & ZOO4926

Instructors: Dr. Christine Davis

Credits: 02
Class meetings:   Monday, period 9;  Room Location: TBA
Text Required: There is no text for this course.

Brief Description:
The Biology Education Seminar is designed to help Learning Assistants in BSC2011 integrate learning theory and effective practices for engaging students. In this course, LAs will read articles from the education literature, engage in discussions about their experiences with students and how this relates to the literature, complete weekly online teaching
reflections, conduct interview or observation – based investigations into students.  See attached syllabus.