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Ecology: Biol 315, 315L (Fall)
By the end of this course, you’ll understand the major ecological patterns in nature and the factors that cause them. Your writing skills, analytical and quantitative abilities, and talents in the field will be reinforced and improved. In short, you’ll be an ecologically aware citizen and well prepared to be a practicing ecologist.

My ecology labs have three principal aims. First, labs will familiarize you with the methods used to address ecological questions. You will learn the tools (field, lab, statistical, and quantitative skills) employed by ecologists. Second, the principles you learn in lecture will be reinforced in the lab and field. Third, you will be challenged to think creatively, critically, and quantitatively and to identify and understand ecological patterns in the field. In short, you will learn how to do ecology.

Ornithology: Biol 345, 345L (Spring, odd years)
In this field-based course, we will examine the ecology, behavior, biogeography, mating systems, and evolutionary history of birds and how the study of birds has informed our understanding of the natural world. Students will gain practical experience in field identification, research methods, experimental design, and oral and written communication.

 

Lab exercises will include population models and dissections. Students will get hands-on experience with birds, focusing especially on survey techniques andidentification of local species. A strong emphasis will also be placed on experiencing Tennessee’s avifauna in their natural habitats through field trips. Students will spend considerable time in the field observing the natural history of birds and will keep a field journal.

Core: Biol 140, 141 (Spring)

This course has two broad aims. This first is to increase your knowledge of basic biological principles. Our basic foundation will be evolution by natural selection and how this underlies all of biology. We will explore the diversity of life and examine how organisms interact with their environment and maintain homeostasis. The second broad aim of the course is to develop the creative and critical thinking, communication, and research skills required of you as a scientist and as a college-educated citizen. The corequisite laboratory course, Biology 141, explores specific biological and general science topics through experiments, observation, simulation, and other exercises. By the end of this course you should have improved your ability to:

 

  1. Demonstrate mastery of basic concepts of biology, including the mechanisms of, evidence for, and implications of modern evolutionary theory, and the adaptations and processes that allow diverse organisms to maintain homeostasis in changing environments
  2. Design, conduct, and interpret the results of an experiment.
  3. Work toward the answers to problems, individually and collaboratively.
  4. Appreciate the complexity of biological systems and to understand that what we know about biology keeps growing and can change, sometimes rapidly.

Senior Seminar – Avian Biology: Biol 486 (Spring, even years)
Rhodes requires all students to participate in a senior capstone experience. The purpose of this experience is to allow students to integrate knowledge from different sources and to refine their writing and speaking skills. In this class we will accomplish these objectives as part of a seminar on avian biology. A seminar course is one in which the participants teach and learn from each other through reading, discussion and presentation.

Specifically, my goals for this senior seminar are to give you the opportunity to:

1. Appreciate how the study of birds has informed our understanding of the natural world and understand the biological principles that have emerged.
2. Refine your critical thinking skills and ability to integrate different sources of information into a coherent picture.
3. Understand and evaluate how science is done by finding, reading and discussing primary literature.
4. Develop your speaking and writing skills.