Bio 301M:  Ecology, Evolution, and Society (Fall 2003)

MWF  9-10am in GRG 424

Prof:  Dr. Stuart Reichler                                                                TA:  Mari Salmi

Phone:  471-1074                                                                                471-1074


Office Hours: Bio 6  M 10-11am, T 3-4pm,                                        Bio 9 Th 1-4pm, or by appt.

W 12-1pm, or by appt.

Course Description: This class will involve reading and discussing three non-fiction books about biology.  Lectures will consist of teaching about biology integrated with discussions about the books themselves.



Class Subject**

Book Chapters

Aug 27

Introduction/Philosophy of Science



Strong Inference

article on webpage

Sept 1

Labor Day (no class)


3, 5

Biological Molecules and Cells

"7 Daught. of Eve" 1-2, 3


DNA Structure and Function


10, 12

Transcription and Translation

6-7, 8-9

15, 17

Control of Gene Expression


19, 22

DNA Replication  (9/19 In-Class Quiz)

14-15, 16-17




26, 29

Mutations and Cancer

20-21, 22-23

*Oct 1

Exam 1



Introduction to Bears

"Grizzly Years" 1-2

6, 8


3-4, 5-6

10, 13

Getting Energy

7-8, 9-10

15, 17


11-12, 13-14

20, 22

Sensing and Moving (10/22 hmwk #1 due)

15-16, 17-18

24, 27, 29

Ecology and Biodiversity

19-20, 21-22, 23-24

* Oct 31

Exam 2


Nov 3

Sexual vs Asexual Reproduction

"Myth of Monogamy" 1

5, 7


ch 2 pg 15-40, 40-56

10, 12, 14


3, 4, 5

17, 19, 21


ch 6 pg 139-154, 154-172, 172-180


Behavior (11/24 hmwk #2 due)



Thanksgiving holiday (no class)


Dec 1



3, 5

Genetic Engineering

article on webpage

*Dec 12

Final Exam 2-5pm


**The subjects listed for each class are approximate.  The exact content of each class will depend on our discussions of the books.  More specific information about lecture content will be posted on the class website**


On the class webpage ( you can find sample exams, announcements, exam keys, and other information about the class.

Lecture:  MWF 9-10am in RAS 213.  Most of the test material will come from information presented in lecture.  Lectures will be divided between teaching about basic biology and discussing topics from the books.  I recommend that you take good notes and/or record the lectures.  The easiest way to learn and perform well in my class is to attend lecture and discussion sessions.


Discussion Sessions:  In discussion sessions you will be able to ask questions in a small class setting.  Additionally, short quizzes will be given to help prepare you for the exams.  The discussion sessions are not mandatory, but students who attend and participate will be awarded up to 2 points on their final grade.  You may attend whichever discussion session best suits your schedule.  The discussion times are:

Th 9:30-10:30am in RLM 6.126, Th 11am-noon in WEL 3.422

Discussions will start Thursday 9/11.  There will not be discussions on 10/2.


Grading and Exams:  There will be three exams, two in class and a final.  Each exam will cover one book and its accompanying lectures.  The final will have two sections; one section will cover the material since exam 2, and the other section will be cumulative.  The cumulative part will be optional and can replace a previous exam grade.  On 9/19 there will be a brief, in-class, open note quiz worth 20 points.  If you miss an exam, contact Stuart as soon as possible.

Additionally, there will be two homework assignments worth 40 points each (due 10/22 and 11/24 at the beginning of class).

Your final grade will be determined out of 100 pts:  3 exams= 25% each, 2 homeworks= 10% each, and 1 in-class quiz= 5%.

The exams will be short answer and essay.  There will be no multiple-choice questions in this class.

My teaching and testing style emphasizes the ability to understand and use the information presented in class, therefore, at each exam you will be allowed to bring ONE 8.5 X 11 inch sheet of paper with whatever information you want written on it.  In this way I want to minimize your dependence on memorization and encourage you to think critically about biology. For examples of the types of questions that will be asked on the tests, see the webpage.


Books:  We will be studying biology by reading three different non-fiction books.  First we will read ÒThe Seven Daughters of EveÓ by Bryan Sykes, which is about human evolution and genetic relationships between humans.  The next book will be ÒGrizzly YearsÓ by Doug Peacock. This book touches on topics such as the structure and function of organisms as well as ecological issues with an emphasis on grizzly bears.  We will end the semester with ÒThe Myth of MonogamyÓ by David Barash and Judith Eve Lipton, we will use this bookÕs focus on reproduction to learn about evolution and the inheritance of traits.  These books are available at local bookstores as well as on-line.

Most of the figures used in class will come from either ÒAsking About Life, 2nd ed.Ó by Tobin and Dusheck or ÒBiology, 6th ed.Ó by Campbell and Reece.  There are copies of these basic biology textbooks on reserve in the Life Science library.  Handouts will be available in class or on the webpage as appropriate.


Notable Dates:  Sept 24- last day to drop without academic penalty; Oct 22- last day to drop with approval