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BIOL 490 Senior Seminar. A topical, undergraduate-level course focused on student presentation (oral + poster), writing assignments, and classroom discussion.  Career opportunities and steps required to achieve professional goals are also emphases of this course. Two credits, every semester.

The full syllabus for the BIOL 490 Senior Seminar can be downloaded here.

Instructors:                 Justin Ramsey, Jonas Science 168

                                     Tara Ramsey, Jonas Science 168   

Office Hours:       Mondays 4-5PM, Tuesdays 5-6PM, Wednesdays 3-4PM, Thursdays 5-6PM

                                  (or by appointment)

Meeting Times:          There is one, 2-hour session that meets once per week:

                                    Wednesday,  4:00–5:50PM,  Jonas Science 142

Course Schedule & Assorted Downloads (PDF format):

Week 01   ---   Course Introduction

(Jan. 10)           Assignment(s) Due:  None

Week 02   ---   ‘Biological Invasion I‘ Presentation   +   ‘Cane Toads’ film viewing

(Jan. 17)           Assignment(s) Due:   None  

Week 03   ---   ‘Biological Invasion II‘ Presentation   +   ‘Kudzu’ film viewing

(Jan. 24)           Assignment(s) Due:   None        

Week 04   ---   ‘Reading Scientific Papers’ Presentation   +   ‘Mosquitos’ film viewing

(Jan. 31)           Assignment(s) Due:   Topic Selections

Week 05   ---  ‘Online Literature Searching‘ Presentation  +  Exercise

(Feb. 7)             Assignment(s) Due:   <In Class Quiz>

Week 06   ---   ‘Careers in the Biological Sciences’ Presentation   +  CV/Resume Exercise

(Feb. 14)           Assignment(s) Due:   Short Bibliography            

Week 07   --- ‘Applications & Interviews‘ Presentation    +    Letter/Statement Exercise

(Feb. 21)           Assignment(s) Due:   CV/Resume Assignment 


Week 08   ---    Example Presentation of Invasion Paper:     Tara Ramsey & Justin Ramsey         

(Feb. 28)           Assignment(s) Due:    <In Class Quiz>    +    Letter/Statement Assignment


Theme:  Genetics of Invasive Species (Ivy)

Green, A., T. Ramsey, and J. Ramsey. 2013. Polyploidy and invasion of English ivy in North American forests. Biological Invasions 15:2219-2241.      PDF

Week 09   ---   Spring Break

(Mar. 7)         

Week 10  ---   Presentation Session #1:     Cassie Carter & Mikaelah Andriamanantena

(Mar. 14)          Assignment(s) Due:    <In Class Quiz>     +     First Term Paper (for presenters)

Theme:  Vertebrate Invaders  (Cane Toad)

Doody, J.S., R. Soanes, C.M. Castellano, D. Rhind, B. Green, C.R. McHenry, and S. Clulow. 2015. Invasive toads shift predator-prey densities in animal communities by removing top predators. Ecology 96:2544-2554.       PDF

Week 11  ---   Presentation Session #2:      Cristina McDaniel & Emily Boni

(Mar. 21)          Assignment(s) Due:    <In Class Quiz>     +     First Term Paper (for presenters)                                     

Theme:  Landscape-Altering Invaders  (Kudzu)

Yang, X., W. Huang, B. Tian, and J. Ding. 2014. Differences in growth and herbivory damage of native and invasive kudzu (Peuraria montana var. lobata) populations grown in the native range. Plant Ecology 215:339-346.      PDF

Week 12   ---   Presentation Session #3:     Jessica Paul & Lilia Nikolaeva

(Mar. 28)          Assignment(s) Due:    <In Class Quiz>     +     First Term Paper (for presenters)                                    

Theme:  Vectors of Disease  (Mosquitos)

Golnar, A.J. et al. 2018. Quantifying the potential pathways and locations of Rift Valley fever virus entry into the United States. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 65:85-95.      PDF

Week 13   ---  Presentations Session #4:     Casey Barlow & Jesse Willis

(Apr. 4)            Assignment(s) Due:    <In Class Quiz>     +     First Term Paper (for presenters)                                   

Theme:  Insect Invaders  (Argentine Ant)

Holway, D.A. 1999. Competitive mechanisms underlying the displacement of native ants by the invasive Argentine ant. Ecology 80:238-251.       PDF

Week 14   ---  Presentations Session #5:     Brad Hunt & Thomas Trimble

(Apr. 11)            Assignment(s) Due:    <In Class Quiz>     +     First Term Paper (for presenters)                                  

Theme:  Aquatic Invaders  (Rock Snot)

Kilroy, C., and M. Bothwell. 2011. Environmental control of stalk length in the bloom-forming, freshwater benthic diatom Didymosphenia geminata (Bacillariophyceae). Journal of Phycology 47:981-989.       PDF

Week 15   ---  Presentations Session #6:    Courtney Dahlgren & Amie Taylor

(Apr. 18)           Assignment(s) Due:    <In Class Quiz>     +     First Term Paper (for presenters)                                 

Theme:  Habitat Invasibility  (Cheat Grass)

Chambers, J.C., B.A. Roundy, R.R. Blank, S.E. Meyer, and A. Whittaker. 2007. What makes Great Basin sagebrush ecosystems invasible by Bromus tectorum. Ecological Monographs 77:117-145.       PDF

Week 16   ---  Presentations Session #7:     Cassandra Aadland & Jodi Johnson

(Apr. 25)          Assignment(s) Due:    <In Class Quiz>     +     First Term Paper (for presenters)                                

Theme:  Soil-Altering Invaders  (Earthworms)

Hale, C.M., L.E. Frelich, and P.B. Reich. 2006. Changes in hardwood forest understory plant communities in response to European earthworm invasions. Ecology 87:1637-1649.   PDF

Week 16  ---  Course Recap

(May 2)            Assignment(s) Due:    Revised Docs     +     Second Term Paper (all students)                               

PowerPoints of Course Presentations:

Biological Invasions lecture I                  PDF

Biological Invasions lecture II                PDF

Reading a Scientific Paper                       PDF

Online Literature Searching                    PDF

Careers in the Biological Sciences           PDF

Applications & Interviews                        PDF

Green et al. 2013 Presentation                 PDF


“Cane Toads: An Unnatural History”            Youtube Link

“Kudzu Vine”                                                <no link available>

“The Amazing Story of Kudzu”                    Youtube Link

“Kudzu” (Oklahoma SUNUP video)               Youtube Link

“Mosquito” (Discovery feature)                   <no link available>


CV & Resume Writing:


Course Examples (Resume/CV)                                  Example 1 PDF                     Example 2 PDF

Useful Web Links for Resume/CVs


                Examples with Commentary                       Towson Link 1                      Towson Link 2

                Guidelines for CVs                                     UCLA Link                           Purdue Link

                Science Job Suggestions                           Science Careers Link

                Federal Job Suggestions                           Forest Service Link

Cover Letters & Personal Statements                        Link 1                                  Link 2

Guidelines for Course Assignments: