Professor Joan E. Strassmann, Washington University
This course is about understanding why organisms evolve to act the way they do. We focus on social behaviors and particularly on understanding conflict and cooperation. How do genetically distinct individuals cooperate while still favoring their own interests? We study things like the evolution of aggression, mating behavior, parental care, communication, and the complexities of living in groups and families. We will learn how natural selection operates on individuals in a social context. We study less material in more depth, with many videos. You will specialize in a certain area. In that area you will write for Wikipedia and teach high school students one Saturday. This class is a lot of work, a lot of fun, and you will never look at an animal in the same way.
MCB 435 Microbial Ecology and Evolution
Dr. Rachel Whitaker, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Understanding the evolution and ecology of the microbial world is of great importance to human health and the health of our planet. In MCB 435, we will explore the evolution of viruses, archaea and bacteria, from the origin of life through the emergence of swine flu. We will apply molecular tools and genomics to understand the evolutionary basis for antibiotic resistance, emerging pathogens, probiotics and the human microbiome. The objective of this class is to uncover and understand the diversity of the microbial world as it lives and evolves in and around us every day.
BIOL 6297 Microbial Population Biology 2011
Dr. Tim Cooper, University of Houston
This course will use reviews and primary research to examine (i) the processes that underlie microbial population dynamics and (ii) how these processes contribute to patterns of microbial diversity and evolution.
BIOM 415: Microbial Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution, Spring 2012
John McCutcheon, University of Montana
This class will touch on some major themes in the areas of microbial diversity, ecology, and evolution. Each one of these topics by itself is a huge field; we therefore cannot possibly hope to cover all that is contained in the title of this course during a single semester. We will therefore take an approach that combines traditional lectures with more focused explorations of selected topics from the scientific literature. The lectures will be designed to help you understand the primary literature articles as well as highlight broader themes that arise during the semester. My overall goal for the course is to help you “see” the ubiquitous and critical influence of microbial processes on the functioning of nearly all ecosystems at all scales, to give you the skills to critically evaluate the scientific literature, and to help you understand how the process of science works.
Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases, Spring 2013
Dr. Paul E. Turner, Yale University
An overview of the ecology and evolution of pathogens (bacteria, viruses, protozoa) and their impact on host populations. Topics include theoretical concepts, ecological and evolutionary dynamics, molecular biology, and epidemiology of ancient and emerging diseases.
Jonathan Arnold, University of Georgia
This is an enquiry‐based, writing intensive senior seminar that introduces seniors to the primary literature on microbial evolution. Teams of 4 students will be expected to develop Wiki pages on one of the topics below as well as handing in a weekly summary on the topics selected below. The unifying theme of the topics below is genetic networks and how they are organized and linked to fitness in microbial
“Readings in Viral Ecology” (BIOLI 8801), Spring 2013
Dr. Joshua Weitz, Georgia Institute of Technology
this course addresses recent advances in the empirical, experimental and
theoretical investigation of the role of viruses in natural environments, spanning
environmental to human systems. We will focus primarily on the viruses of microbes
– such viruses are highly abundant and highly diverse and yet their functionalroles
remain poorly understood. Interactive discussion of papers will shed light on
common principles and processes relevant to understanding viral ecology.
Syllabus Course related links: website
“Microbial Ecology and Evolution” (Genetics 713/813), Spring 2012,
Vaughn Cooper, University of New Hampshire
This inquiry-based, writing-intensive course is designed to provide upper level undergraduates and graduate students experience with contemporary, experimental research in microbial ecology and evolution. This course explores the ecology of microbes across various scales, from within-host to across continents, as well as their evolution, from single mutations to the origins of new taxa. The course is designed around blogs to facilitate discussion of the primary literature. There is also a laboratory/recitation in which we work in groups to dissect the latest research, design and conduct laboratory experiments, and apply simple mathematical models. Special emphases include host-pathogen interactions, host-associated microbial communities, and experimental evolution. Grades are based on weekly blog entries and classroom participation, two exams, and the writing of an innovative grant proposal in this area of research.
Syllabus Course related links: website
“Microbial Evolution” (OEB 192), Fall 2011, Christopher Marx, Harvard University
This lecture course of 10-15 students ranging from upper-level undergraduates to graduate students examines of the evolution of microbes through an integration of lectures and discussion of primary literature. We focus on a series of broad questions for which we draw upon knowledge from both lab-based study of experimental microcosms and comparative studies of natural populations. Notably, students conduct their own experimental evolution projects using ‘digital organisms’.
Syllabus Course related links: Lectures Projects Website
“Evolution in Action” (OEB 100), Spring 2011, Christopher Marx, Harvard University
In this project-based laboratory course for undergraduates (has been 5-10 per year) students conduct research utilizing experimental evolution of microbial populations. The primary goal is to teach them how to plan for, perform, and present research. Furthermore, we specifically aim to be multi-disciplinary, synthesizing knowledge and approaches from genetics, biochemistry, systems biology, microbiology, evolution and ecology.
Syllabus Course related links: Lectures Website Videos
“Experimental Evolutionary Ecology” (Biology 481), Fall 2011, Ben Kerr, University of Washington
This course is designed to give upper division undergraduates and beginning graduate students hands-on experience in the field of experimental evolutionary ecology. The course is composed of lectures and labs. The lectures will introduce some of the current “big questions” in ecology and evolution that are experimentally tractable. The labs will be devoted to designing, running and analyzing various experiments. Students will read the primary scientific literature in order to gain a better understanding of how experimental approaches have been used to explore ecological and evolutionary phenomena. In the labs, students (in groups of four or five) will conduct experiments in the laboratory to investigate wide-ranging issues (such as the evolution of bacterial antibiotic resistance, bacterial tradeoffs and competition, and coevolution of pathogens and their hosts). Grades will be based on weekly quizzes, lab reports, and a single final group presentation.