Undergraduate Special Topics Spring 2019

Behavioral drivers of disease

ZOO4926, class# 21099

Instructor: Dr. Nick Keiser, Credits: 03

Class meetings:   Tuesday & Thursday, period 3 & Tuesday, period 4
Text Recommended: There are no required textbooks. Readings will be made available on Canvas.

Brief Description:

This course aims to introduce students to the ways in which host behavior can influence infection risk and transmission potential of parasites. We will investigate how host behavior influences disease, how parasites can manipulate host behavior, and how host-parasite interactions are studied across levels of biological organization (individuals, social groups, populations, communities). We will cover diseases of wildlife, domesticated animals, and humans, and will use an integrative perspective on how human diseases are connected to wildlife and the environment. Syllabus attached

stem cell biology

ZOO4926, class# 21283

Instructor: Dr. Malcolm Maden, Credits: 03

Class meetings:   Monday, Wednesday & Friday, period 6 (12:50-1:40 pm)
Text Recommended: There are no required textbooks. Readings will be made available on Canvas.

Brief Description:

The course will cover all aspects of stem cells primarily from a biological viewpoint – what are they, where do they come from during development, why are they there, where are the found, how are they regulated, what happens if they become mis-regulated, what is their role in the normal organism, what is their role in regeneration and not just considering them in mammals, but across the Metazoa. We will, towards the end of the course, examine how and why stem cells are used for medical treatments and how they have been exploited for commercial gain. In each week there will be one or two lectures on these subjects and in the third session each week students will make presentations about a scientific publication they have read on the subject of the week or they will present information that has been featured that week in the popular and scientific news. Lectures will be given by the instructor and guest speakers.   Syllabus attached


ZOO4926, class# 21278

Instructor: Dr. Derek Cummings, Credits: 03

Class meetings:   Tuesday & Thursday, period 7

Text Recommended: Readings to be made available

Brief Description:

This course will investigate biological and quantitative aspects of emerging pathogens. We will
investigate transmission dynamics of infectious diseases during multiple phases of outbreaks. We
will review biological, immunological, epidemiological, policy and logistical aspects of outbreaks of
emerging pathogens in humans as well as other species. Students will gain familiarity with basic
metrics used to quantify transmission dynamics, biological characteristics that contribute to the
emergence of pathogens and policy actions taken in response to emerging pathogens.  Syllabus attached


ZOO4926, class# 21278

Instructor: Dr. David C. Blackburn & Dr. Harvey B. Lillywhite, Credits: 04

Class meetings:   Lectures: Monday, Wed.  & Fri, period 2 (8:30-10:25 am)
Labs: Tues. periods 6-7 (12:50-2:45 pm) & Wed. periods 6-7(12:50-2:45 pm)

Text Recommended: Pough, F.H., R.M. Andrews, M.L. Crump, A.H. Savitzky, K.D. Wells, and M.C. Brandley. 2015. Herpetology. 4th Edition. Sinauer Associates.

Brief Description:

Herpetology:  This course features lectures and laboratory sections that provide a broad introduction to the diversity, evolution, and biology of amphibians and reptiles. Topics include evolutionary history, systematics, diversity, ecology, behavior, physiology, anatomy, and natural history.  Laboratory sections provide hands-on experience with amphibians and reptiles and make use of the scientific collections of the Florida Museum of Natural History. In addition to the lectures and laboratory activities, the course involves several local field trips to see living species.  Syllabus attached.

Studiolab: Linking Art & Science

ZOO4926, class# 21100 or ART 3807C

Instructor: Dr. James Gillooly & dr. Sean Miller 

Class meetings:   Lectures: Mon. and Wed., periods 8-10 in FAC B1

Brief Description:

This is an interdisciplinary course that combines art and science. The course will explore how we can introduce concepts, processes, and knowledge from the sciences and apply them to the creation of art; and how we can introduce concepts, processes and knowledge from the arts and apply them to scientific research. The course will include talks by visiting scholars that specialize in merging science and art, as well as readings and discussions on interdisciplinary topics in art and science. The main emphasis of the course will involve science and art students coming together as teams to create works that combine the two disciplines. The projects will culminate in a final exhibition of projects created during the course.

We hope you can join us, but enrollment is limited! If you have any questions, or would like further information, please contact Associate Professor Sean Miller: swarp@ufl.edu and/or Associate Professor Jamie Gillooly: gillooly@ufl.edu.

ants and microbes

BSC2930, class# 22744

Instructor: Dr. Marina Ascunce, Credits: 03

Class meetings:   Lectures: Thurs., periods 7-9 in 105 ROLF Hall

Brief Description:

This is a Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) course. Microbiome sequencing is an important aspect in all areas of sciences from human health, to agricultural and environment, thus with this course, our goal is to introduce students to this new wealth of information and provide them with tools for utilizing it. In particular, we are using our own research on ants and microbes, as a way for the students to join an ongoing project and all the benefits of being in a research laboratory, including mentoring aspects. Because ants are a non-traditional study group, it will also provide the students the opportunity to think broadly as how these tools could be use and hopefully foster in them an unlimited way of approach scientific questions. As one of the University of Florida statements says: “We see things not as they are, but as they could be.”  Syllabus attached.

Cenozoic Vertebrate Paleontology, or: Principles of Collections-Based Paleobiology

ZOO4926, section# 22092

Instructor: Professor Jonathan Bloch, Credits: 02

Class meetings:   Lectures: Tuesday, period 7-8 (1:55-3:50 pm)

Text Recommended:
Required Pre-Course Reading before the start of the first class. If students have attended the
previous semester’s preparatory reading group, then they will have read all articles.

Brief Description: This course will provide a comprehensive, practical introduction to the process of describing the
osteology of vertebrates and inferring biological features such as locomotion, diet, function, and phylogenetic relationships between taxa. By the end of this course you should know how to approach your own studies of undescribed fossils in museum collections and present your
findings in a formally written manuscript for peer review. Note: this semester we will not have time to get into scoring a specimen into a character/taxon matrix and running a phylogenetic analysis. This is a potential component or topic for future courses if students are interested.

You will learn these principles through practice by writing a description of a Pliocene porcupine (Erethizontidae) from Florida. Syllabus attached.

Curatorial Methods- Intro to Natural History Museums

BOT4935-class# 11644, BSC2930-class# 11654, ZOO4926-class# 21277

 Instructor Information: Adania Flemming, Larry Page, Bruce MacFadden  Credits: 03

Class meetings:   Tuesday, period 3 & Thursday, periods 7-8
Text Recommended: There are no required textbooks. Readings will be made available on Canvas.

Brief Description:

This course is an exploration of careers in museum-based research. Students will be introduced to alternative career paths from pre-professional fields, through observation of and immersion into the roles of museum collections personnel. Many undergraduate students begin their Biology careers on a pre-professional track, without knowledge of careers as a naturalist or museum professional. Additionally, while most people are familiar with the public face of natural history museums, research collections often remain in the shadows even though they can help us understand climate change, the spread of diseases, and the impacts of draining a wetland as well as facilitate many medical breakthroughs. Museum collections are like libraries whose books are carefully cataloged specimens that also contain a wealth of knowledge. The data these specimens provide are a vital resource for not only understanding today’s world, but also for making connections to the past and the future. The research collections housed within natural history museums also provide rich opportunities for science learning.
This course will provide students with a general overview of curatorial procedures and training within the research collections of the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH). Students will spend four class sessions on Thursdays touring ≈twelve collections. They will then spend the next eight weeks in a collection of their choice working with collection personnel to develop and carryout a specimen- based project. Students are expected to make their decision based on their one-time experience in the collection (from the collection tours) and/or additional research or interest of the collections. Students will number and justify the list of collections for collection assignment. On Tuesdays, students will have discussions about their experiences in the collections and the various components that contribute to natural history collections, as well as hear from guest speakers from related fields. The last two classes will consist of student oral and/or poster presentations highlighting and sharing their experiences during the semester. Syllabus attached