Current Topics in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (Spring 2008)

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EEB 297


Suegene Noh
Office: 486-5479
TLS 479
Nic Tippery
Office: 486-3937
PBB 317

Course Objectives

This seminar provides an up-close-and-personal experience with the broad range of current research in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB). It offers the opportunity to think critically and develop thoughts within a structured yet informal setting. Once per week we read and discuss background literature and attend the presentation of the EEB Department Seminar series. In most cases we will have the opportunity to meet with the researcher.

Weekly Schedule (on Thursday of every week)

2:30pm - Convene in the Bamford Room (TLS 171b). Discussion leader presents background to paper and seminar speaker, and leads discussion about the research objectives and methods of the paper.
3:00pm - Seminar speaker arrives. Students engage the speaker about his/her research or academic background.
3:30pm - Seminar speaker departs. Students and instructors conduct wrap-up discussion.
3:45pm - Brief break before seminar.
4:00pm - Students attend EEB Department Seminar (typically in BPB 130).

Student Responsibilities

Each week students are expected to read the assigned primary literature article, authored by that week’s seminar speaker. Prior to arriving to class, students write a one-paragraph summary of that week’s paper. Students are also responsible for bringing four questions to class, two for the paper discussion and two for the seminar speaker. In addition, each student leads the discussion of one or two papers over the semester. The student leading the discussion is responsible for providing a more thorough outline of the paper and initiating and guiding the discussion.


Weekly (12 weeks, 10 points/week, 80% of grade)     120 points
    Attendance 2.5 points
    Participation in discussions 2.5 points
    Paragraph summary of paper 2.5 points
    4 prepared questions for discussion 2.5 points
        2 questions in reference to the paper
        2 questions for the seminar speaker
Course Reflections (2 reflections, 20% of grade) 30 points
    Midterm (06 March) 15 points
    Final (01 May) 15 points
Total: 150 points

Semester Schedule

Date Seminar Speaker Presenter Discussion Paper
24 January Sallie Sheldon Nic Pdficon small.gif Sheldon, S. P. and R. P. Creed, Jr. 1995. Use of a native insect as a biological control for an introduced weed. Ecological Applications 5: 1122-1132.
31 January Derek Briggs Suegene Briggs, D. and R. A. Fortey. 2005. Wonderful strife: systematics, stem groups, and the phylogenetic signal of the Cambrian radiation. Paleobiology 31: 94-112.
07 February
Ivette Perfecto Nic Pdficon small.gif Perfecto, I., J. Vandermeer, A. Mas, and L. Soto Pinto. 2005. Biodiversity, yield, and shade coffee certification. Ecological Economics 54: 435-446.
14 February
Hiroyoshi Higuchi Scott Pdficon small.gif Higuchi H., Pierre J.P., Krever V., Andronov V., Fujita G., Ozaki K., Goroshko O., Ueta M., Smirensky S. and Mita N. 2004. Using a remote technology in conservation: satellite-tracking White-naped Cranes in Russia and Asia. Conservation Biology 18: 136-147.
21 February Scott Edwards Rachelle Pdficon small.gif Edwards, S. V., B. Fertil, A. Giron, and P. J. Deschavanne. 2002. A genomic schism in birds revealed by phylogenetic analysis of DNA strings. Systematic Biology 51: 599-613.
28 February Justin Schaefer Natasha Pdficon small.gif Schaefer, J. T. and A. P. Summers. 2005. Batoid wing skeletal structure: Novel morphologies, mechanical implications, and phylogenetic patterns. Journal of Morphology 264: 298-313.
06 March Amy Zanne
Midterm Due
Charlie Pdficon small.gif Zanne, A. E. and C. A. Chapman. 2001. Expediting reforestation in tropical grasslands: distance and isolation from seed sources in plantations. Ecological Applications 11: 1610-1621.
13 March **Spring Break** **No Class**
20 March
Roger Gottlieb Kimelyn
27 March CT Museum of Natural History Rachelle Example of a journalistic article about a museum
03 April Maureen Donnelly Scott Pdficon small.gif R. A. Saporito, M. A. Donnelly, R. A. Norton, H. M. Garraffo, T. F. Spande, and J. W. Daly. 2007. Oribatid mites as a major dietary source for alkaloids in poison frogs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 104: 8885-8890.
10 April
Joseph Bruchac Natasha
17 April Monique Turmel Kimelyn
24 April Dan Rabosky John
01 May Reed Noss
Final Due

* Seminars in the Teale Lecture Series are held in the Konover Auditorium of the Dodd Center (near the Homer Babbidge Library).
** The department seminar will be held on Tuesday of this week. We will discuss a paper on Thursday, and students are encouraged to attend the seminar on Tuesday.