BIS2C_W12SyllabusFinal

BIS2C_W12SyllabusFinal - BIS 2C Syllabus Winter 2012...

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Biological Sciences 2C Winter 2012, Sections A and B Instructors: Sinha, Ward and Rizzo Section A : MWF 2:10 - 3:00 in SocSci 1100 and M 6:10 - 7:00 in SciLec 123 Section B : MWF 3:10 - 4:00 in SocSci 1100 and M 7:10 - 8:00 in SciLec 123 1. INTRODUCTION and COURSE SUMMARY Welcome to Biological Sciences 2C (BIS 2C). BIS 2C is the third course in the Biological Sciences lower division core sequence that is designed to provide a foundation for study of modern biology for a broad range of majors. BIS 2A introduced you to the fundamental molecular, cellular, developmental, physiological, and genetic building blocks of living organisms, and the origins of life itself. BIS 2B picked up the story by examining ecological and evolutionary processes that shape biological diversity—that is, it explores the mechanisms by which life evolves and organisms coexist. BIS 2C considers the diversity of life on earth that is the outcome of several billion years of continuous evolution and ecology. Our task in this course is enormous, but the material is both fascinating and critical for those seeking to become well-educated biologists. We cannot cover all of the many millions of species of archaea, bacteria, plants, animals, fungi, and other organisms; there are too many of them and they are too diverse. Instead, we use the concept of phylogeny—the genealogical relationships among all living organisms—to provide a single cohesive evolutionary framework to organize all of these amazing species. We begin by teaching you how to interpret and infer phylogenetic trees, and then work our way through various groups that have evolved during the history of life on earth. Both in lectures and in labs, we focus on groups that dominate the earth today, studying key features that characterize each group. Our explorations of living diversity touch on such important societal issues as the evolution of disease, the modification of plants for human food, and why some lineages are prone to extinction. In BIS 2B, you were introduced to a quotation from a great evolutionary biologist, Theodosius Dobzhansky. Dobzhansky, once on the faculty at UC Davis, famously said in a 1973 essay, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” You will see that this statement applies to much of the material covered in BIS 2C. For example, the life cycle of a flowering plant seems ludicrously complex when studied in isolation, but makes much more sense when seen as the current step in an evolutionary trend toward reduction of one phase of the life cycle. Each lineage with living members is a mélange of traits from ancient and recent ancestors; sometimes the evolutionary history is constraining, but in other cases, it appears fortuitous. - 1 -
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BIS2C_W12SyllabusFinal - BIS 2C Syllabus Winter 2012...

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