I am involved in six courses in the Biological Sciences Department:  General Biology, Biological Science, Invertebrate Zoology, Tropical Biology, Freshwater Ecology, and Biology Seminar.  Course descriptions (along with some added comments) are listed below. 

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General Biology I & II (BIDI-1010, BIDI-1020)


I usually teach the lecture portion of General Biology II (spring) but sometimes teach General Biology I (fall). Both of these are Scientific Inquiry courses in the General Education program and are designed to offer an introduction to biological issues and approaches to non-majors.  It is always a pleasure to get to know students from other departments! 


General Biology I: A lecture/discussion course with a laboratory component. Provides an overview of biological principles including: basic biological chemistry, cell structure and cell metabolism including respiration and photosynthesis. The cellular processes of mitosis and meiosis are studied in detail as a lead into Mendelian and modern genetics and evolutionary theory. Issues relevant to today's society are discussed throughout. The lab component provides hands-on experiences in which students deal with and observe cells, pH and buffers, food chemistry, respiration and photosynthesis. In the latter part, students observe mitosis and meiosis, and perform and analyze genetic experiments and manipulation of DNA.


General Biology II: A lecture course with a laboratory component.   After a short review of cell structure and function, a survey of the diversity of organisms that occupy the biosphere are discussed. Within the lab component various kingdoms and phyla are examined with hands-on observation and manipulation of living organisms. In the latter part of the lab, specific environments and environmental factors are studied, including adaptations, and pond and soil ecosystems. Concludes with a study of population, community and ecosystem dynamics and emphasis on human impacts in the biosphere. Topics and issues of relevance to the course are discussed throughout.

Biological Science II (BI-1120, Spring)

Biological Science II is the second semester of our introductory sequence for biology majors, and is designed to provide a solid foundation of knowledge in the areas of evolution, biological diversity, and ecology.  I really enjoy having this opportunity to meet our new biology majors!

Covers the evolution, diversity, ecology and functioning of living systems, with a focus on both plants and animals.  The laboratory component of the course involves student projects that complement the lecture portion of the course.  Prerequisite(s): Biology or Physical Science Education majors.

Invertebrate Zoology (BI-2030, Fall)

Invertebrates are as fascinating as they are diverse!   We discuss various aspects of the biology of invertebrates (with a special emphasis on ecology) and also gain experience in field sampling and invertebrate identification during weekly labs. 

The vast majority of described animal species are invertebrates, and this course offers an introduction to their diversity.  The morphology, ecology, and evolution of invertebrate phyla are investigated and discussed through lectures and readings.  The laboratory component includes field work, data analysis, and the examination of preserved specimens.

Tropical Biology (BI-3210, Winterim of even years)

Dr. Len Reitsma invited me to co-teach this class in 2006 and again in 2008.  Students in this class travel to Puerto Rico for three weeks and spend time in both the tropical rain forest and the coral reef.  In each location, students work in pairs to come up with an original hypothesis, design a way to test their idea, collect data in the field, and then  analyze, write up, and orally present their results. 


The diversity of life and basic ecological processes of tropical ecosystems are investigated through readings and field studies.  Examines both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

Freshwater Ecology (BI-3260, Fall)

In this course we explore key concepts in ecology as applied to freshwater systems.  There is a strong emphasis on fieldwork (at least until winter takes over New Hampshire) and on discussing the primary literature.

An examination of the ecology of freshwater environments through lectures, readings, discussions, field activities, and data analysis.  Explores the physical features of different freshwater systems and their ecological implications as well as the characteristics and ecological roles of major groups of freshwater organisms.  Discusses environmental issues related to freshwater ecology.

Biology Seminar (BI-4960, Spring)

Each student who takes Biology Seminar works with a faculty advisor to prepare their presentation to the class.  Over the years I have worked with students on a variety of topics, including (but not limited to) amphibian ecology, invertebrate ecology, effects of parasites, and predator-prey interactions. 

Reports and discussions of current literature and recent developments in the biological sciences.  Presentations by seniors of their research projects.  Open to juniors and seniors who are majors in the sciences.