Kenyon College -- Department of Biology

Biol 336- Integrative Animal Biology - Spring 2006
Instructor: Chris Gillen
310 Higley Hall
PBX 5399
email: GILLENC

last update - April 20, 2006 7:52 AM
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Overview: Biology is becoming increasingly integrative. Complex biological questions are being addressed by multiple disciplines and approaches, operating across organizational levels and using a diverse array of organisms. This course takes an integrative approach towards understanding animals. We will explore fundamental questions about animals from the perspective of different organizational levels and experimental approaches. We will examine a wide diversity of animals, extending our interest beyond the well-known model organisms. A focus will be learning to think critically in an integrative way about animal biology. Careful reading and writing about important topics in animal biology will be emphasized.

It is not easy to define Integrative Biology, but this description by Marvalee H. Wake of UC Berkeley is a good starting place.

Prerequisites: Prerequisite for this course is one 200 level Biology course or permission of the instructor.

Texts: This course has three books:

Generally, we will use the Moore text to learn the basics about invertebrate animals, and use the Vogel and Turner books to generate discussion. Moore is assigned every week. Most class meetings also cover one chapter in Vogel or Turner. Four class meetings will be devoted to reading primary literature (found in the p/data/biology/biol336 folder).

Weekly reading (WR): Class meetings will primarily be discussions of the assigned readings. Therefore, it is imperative that you carefully read the assigned material for each class meeting. Once each week (Tuesday or Thursday) you will hand in a weekly reading assignment. Half the class will write these for the Tuesday reading, half for the Thursday reading. These assignments will consist of:

Short essays (SE): Four three-page essays are assigned. The basis for each of these essays can be one of the WR essays that you have written. Alternatively, it might be an idea that arose out of class discussion or your further reading and thinking. You may incorporate what you've learned in class discussions in these essays. You must also use at least two outside (not one of the class books) sources, including at least one must be a primary research article. The idea here is to try to say something interesting, controversial, exciting, provocative, integrative, synthetic, and/or creative about animal biology. Vogel and Turner are good models in this regard.

Long essays (LE): Two five-page essays are assigned. I expect that these will be revisions and expansions of short essays. You must use at least four outside sources, including at least two must be primary research articles. Like the short essays, the idea here is to be interesting, controversial, exciting, provocative, integrative, synthetic, and/or creative.

How to make a strong argument in your essays.

Procedure and standards for submitted work: All work for this class should be submitted to me as an e-mail attachment with the following guidelines:

Work submitted in this class must conform to the following basic standards or it will be returned for revision without a grade.

Grading criteria for essays: Excellent essays will have the following characteristics:

Class attendance and participation: Class attendance is mandatory. Class participation and attendance will account for 25% of your grade. Additionally, there will be a 3 point reduction in the final average for every 3 unexcused absences (no penalty for less than 3 unexcused absences). To participate intelligently in class, it is imperative that you read the assigned material before each class, even when you are not assigned to write about it. Please feel free to ask questions, add insights, request clarifications, etc. at any time during class. Speaking in class will be a primary determinant of class participation, but I realize that there are many different styles and will consider other contributions. In order for you to receive feedback on your class participation, you are invited to schedule a feedback meeting in the 5th or 10th week of the semester.

This class begins at 8:10. Please be prepared to begin class at 8:10. This means arriving at about 8:05. Late arrivals will be counted as absences.

Academic honesty:This class will follow the official Kenyon College position on academic honesty .

Students with special needs: Students with disabilities who will be taking this course and may need disability related academic accommodations are encouraged to make an appointment to see me as soon as possible to discuss your learning needs. Also, you are required to register for support services with the Office of Disability Services in the Old Bank Building. Please contact Erin Salva at 5453 or e-mail

You are entitled to know how you are doing at any point in the class. Please see me if you want to know your current grade in the class.
Weekly reading assignments = 25%
Short essays = 25%
Long essays = 25%
Class attendance and participation = 25%

Deadlines and conflicts:  Work in this class that is handed in late will be penalized 1/3 grade per day.  For example, a B+ will become a B.  If conflicts exist with scheduled extracurricular events, students must contact me one week before the date to discuss ways to handle the conflict.  Written assignments should be handed in before the due date if a class is to be missed because of a scheduled event.
Schedule:  (this is a tentative schedule, and may change as the course progresses)
Week Dates Tuesday reading Thursday reading Assignments
1 Jan 17,19 This syllabus
Lobster sound production - Patek, JEB 2002.
Vogel - preface, 1
Turner - preface, 1
Moore - 1 (Evolution)
WR for everyone is due Thursday morning at 2am.
2 Jan 24, 26 Vogel - 2 (Design, Evolution)
Moore - 2 ( Molecular Evolution)
Choanoflagellate - King et al., Science, 2003.
Moore - 20 (Invert Evol History)
3 Jan 31, Feb 2 Turner - 2 (Thermodynamics)
Moore - 3 (Porifera)
Vogel - 3 (Size and Scaling)
Moore - 4 (Cnidaria)
Short Essay 1
4 Feb 7, 9 Vogel - 4 (Surfaces, Curves)
Moore - 5 (Worms)
Turner - 3 (Energy, Efficiency)
Moore - 19 (Development)
5 Feb 14, 16 Turner - 4 (Gravitaxis)
Moore - 6 (Platyhelminthes)
Vogel - 5 (Stiff, Soft) Feedback meeting 1
6 Feb 21, 23 Vogel - 6 (Rigidity)
Moore - 7 (Nemertea)
Turner - 5 (Shape, Growth)
Moore - 8 (Nematoda)
Short Essay 2
7 Feb 28, Mar 2

Anenome Hox - Finnerty, et al., Science, 2004.
News and Views

Vogel - 7 (Push, Pull)
Moore - 9 (Annelids)
8 Mar 21, 23 Vogel - 8 (Engines)
Moore - 10 (Molluscs)
Turner - 6 (Feeding, Digging)
Moore - 11 (Bivalves, Cephalopods)
9 Mar 28, 30 Vogel - 9 (Batteries, Transmission)
Moore - 12 (Arthropods)
Vogel - 10 (Pumps, Jets, Flying, Swimming) Short Essay 3
10 Apr 4, 6 Turner - 7 (Water)
Moore - 13 (Crustacea)
Cambrian disparity - Briggs, Fortey, Science, 1989.
Moore - 14 (Chelicerate, Myriapods)
Feedback meeting 2
11 Apr 11, 13 Vogel - 11 (Growth, Repair, Development) Turner - 8 (Respiration)
Moore - 15 (Insects)
Long Essay 1
12 Apr 18, 20 Turner - 9 (Temperature, Photosynthesis)
Moore - 16 (Lophophorates)
Vogel - 12,13 (Copying)
Moore - 17 (Echinoderms)
13 Apr 25, 27 Swimbladder - Berenbrink et al., Science, 2005
News and Views, Supplement.
Turner - 10 (Sound)
Moore - 18 (Chordata)
Short Essay 4
14 May 2, 4 Turner - 11 (Gaia, Homeostasis)
Moore - 20 (Invert Evol. History)
Vogel - 14 (Contrasts, Convergences, Consequences)  

Long essay 2 is due at the scheduled final exam period: May 8, 1:30 p.m. There is no additional final exam.

Sources (some of these may only be available from within the Kenyon network):

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