Teaching
First-Year Seminar - Drawn to Nature
Topics in Biology - BIO 167
Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy - BIO 224
Vertebrate Field Biology - BIO 315
Math Models in Biology - BD219
Drawn to Nature FSEM 095 The natural world is filled with incredible beauty and amazing stories of adaptation and survival.  Many of these stories remain untold despite centuries of exploration, natural history, and scientific discovery.  Since Aristotle, naturalists have observed nature in an attempt to describe its beauty and complexity.  Among them were scientists like Charles Darwin, artists like John James Audubon and writers like Henry David Thoreau.  It is often said that curiosity about the world around us is the basis for all human learning. In this course we'll use your natural curiosity to explore the natural history of the Finger Lakes region using both scientific and artistic expression.  We'll examine award-winning natural history writing, chronicle the contributions great naturalists have made to our understanding of the natural world, and we'll create our own illustrated natural history journals. Along the way, you'll develop the observational skills that will allow you to better describe the natural world in prose and art. (James Ryan
Typical readings: Naturalist's Guide to Observing Nature by Kurt Rinehart; The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2007 edited by Richard Preston; Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth.
Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy Bio 224 In this course we will focus on one small part of biology - Vertebrate Anatomy. Rather than attempting to cover as many vertebrates and organ systems as possible during the term, we will concentrate on those topics that will help us build a strong anatomical foundation. It is often assumed that anatomy is a “dead” field (pun intended). In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Modern anatomists are using techniques from cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, engineering, etc. to answer questions that are on the cutting edge of science. These approaches require modern anatomists to ask a wide variety of questions and to design appropriate experiments to answer those questions. In order for this approach to be effective, however, it requires a strong foundation in basic anatomy.
Vertebrate Field Biology BIO 315 In this course we will focus on one small part of biology - Vertebrate Biology. We will concentrate on those groups that will help us build a strong foundation of the group as a whole. This course will give you a greater appreciation of the natural environment and its wildlife. You will become familiar with some major groups of vertebrates and how to identify them. Lectures should give you an appreciation for scientific methods used to develop phylogenies of vertebrates as well as other research methods used to study vertebrates in the wild. You will read primary literature and collaborate on a final project. This project will promote your independent learning skills, improve your speaking ability and promote teamwork. In this course you will be asked to synthesize what you have learned in class with information from other sources.
Math Models in Biology BD 219 This course is especially appropriate for those with an interest in science and mathematics. In this course we discuss and implement the major facets of mathematical modeling using examples from the biological sciences. These include: a) examining underlying assumptions, b) translating the "real world" into mathematics, c) generating testable predictions, d) generalizing models to new or different situations, and e) examining the fit between the mathematics employed and the underlying system being modeled. The course used field trips to collect data for modeling and requires the development of a novel model as a final project. Typical models include species diversity, optimal foraging, and game theory in animal behavior.