CAS BI 563, Sensory Biology

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Prof. Jelle Atema

Next offering
Fall 2014 Marine Semester

BI 563 Syllabus & Lecture Schedule Fall 2012

Fundamentals of sensory biology with focus on chemical signals. Principles of physics, chemistry, and statistics describe signal noise distributions. Chemical stimuli from the perspective of the animal and its receptor cells and organs.

The Sensory Biology course is a research course where students are spending 3-4 weeks full time designing and completing a small-scale research project with all the normal demands on a scientist: ask a novel and interesting question, mine the literature, carry out a feasibility study, write a research proposal, carry out the experimental design, compile and analyze the data, present the results in a final report, in a poster with oral presentation, and in a press release, and take care of the research animals and lab instrumentation and facilities.  They do this in teams of two or three. In addition there are daily lectures on principles of –primarily marine- Sensory Biology and discussions of related recent papers the students discover on-line and present to the class. Students are evaluated both as team members and individually in class presentations that include quizzes, a scholarly lecture on an assigned topic, a poster and a press release on their work. Their assigned lecture in particular gives them the opportunity to show their broader understanding of the role of physics in behavioral and sensory biology.

Additional costs: This course does involve a couple of day-long trips in the field.  All transportation costs for these trips are covered by BU tuition.