Spring 2008

Adaptation and the Organism

Listed in: Biology, as BIOL-18


Michael E. Hood (Sections 02, 03, 04 and 05)
Ethan J. Temeles (Sections 02, 03, 04 and 05)


An introduction to evolutionary theory, and how evolutionary theory can be used to study the diversity of life. Following an exploration of the core components of evolutionary theory (such as natural selection, sexual selection, and kin selection), we'll examine how evolutionary processes have shaped morphological, anatomical, physiological, and behavioral adaptations in organisms to solve many of life's problems, ranging from how to maintain salt and water balance to how to attract and locate mates to how to schedule reproduction throughout a lifetime. We'll start with a familiar organism--ourselves--and then relate and compare adaptations of humans to those of their nearest (vertebrate) and not so nearest (bacteria and plants) relatives, examining how and why these organisms have arrived at similar or different solutions to life's problems. Laboratories will complement lectures and will involve field experiments on natural selection and laboratory studies of vertebrates, invertebrates, bacteria, and plants. Four classroom hours and three laboratory hours per week. Second semester. Professors Hood and Temeles.