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BIOL 490 Senior Seminar. A topical, undergraduate-level course focused on student presentations (oral + poster), writing assignments, and classroom discussion.  Career opportunities and steps needed to achieve professional goals are also emphases of the seminar. Two credits, every semester.  (Taught on rotating basis by Biology program faculty.)

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:        Monday Noon-1, Tuesday Noon-1, Wednesday Noon-1, Friday 4-5 PM

                                  (or by appointment)

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

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

Course Schedule & Assorted Downloads (PDF format):

Week 01   ---   Course Introduction

(Sept. 3)           Assignment(s) Due:  None

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

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

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

(Sept. 17)           Assignment(s) Due:   ‘Hometown Invader‘ Report        

Week 04   ---   ‘Biological Invasion III‘ Presentation   +   ‘Mosquitos’ film viewing

(Sept. 24)           Assignment(s) Due:   Topic Selections

Week 05   ---  ‘Online Literature Searching‘ + ‘Reading Scientific Papers’ Presentations

(Oct. 1)               Assignment(s) Due:   <In Class Quiz>

Week 06   ---   ‘Careers in the Bio Sciences I’ Presentation   +  Scientific Literature Exercise

(Oct. 8)              Assignment(s) Due:   None       

Week 07   --- ‘Careers in the Biological Sciences II’ Presentation  +  CV/Resume Exercise

(Oct. 15)              Assignment(s) Due:   Scientific Literature Exercise 


Week 08   ---   ‘Applications & Interviews‘ Presentation    +    Letter/Statement Exercise       

(Oct. 22)              Assignment(s) Due:    CV/Resume Exercise  

Week 09  ---    ‘Use of PowerPoint‘ Presentation

(Oct. 29)              Assignment(s) Due:    Letter/Statement Exercise   

Week 11  ---   Presentation Session #1    

(Nov. 5)             Assignment(s) Due:    <In Class Quiz>     +     First Term Paper (for presenters)                                     

Amphibian Invaders—Cane Toads

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.

Week 12   ---   Presentation Session #2  

(Nov. 12)            Assignment(s) Due:    <In Class Quiz>     +     First Term Paper (for presenters)                                    

Terrestrial Plant 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.

Week 13   ---  Presentations Session #3   

(Nov. 19)           Assignment(s) Due:    <In Class Quiz>     +     First Term Paper (for presenters)                                   

Vectors of Disease 1—Mosquitos

Kotsakiozi, P., J.B. Richardson, V. Pichler, G. Favia, A.J. Martins, S. Urbanelli, P.A. Armbruster, and A. Caccone. 2017. Population genomics of the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus: insights into the recent worldwide invasion. Ecology and Evolution 7:10143-10157.

Week 14   ---  Presentations Session #4

(Nov. 26)          Assignment(s) Due:    <In Class Quiz>     +     First Term Paper (for presenters)                                  

Soil 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.

Mammal Invaders—Feral Pigs

Roemer, G.W., C.J. Donlan, and F. Courchamp. 2002. Golden eagles, feral pigs, and insular carnivores: how exotic species turn native predators into prey. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. 99:791-796.

Week 15   ---  Presentations Session #5

(Dec. 3)           Assignment(s) Due:    <In Class Quiz>     +     First Term Paper (for presenters)                                 

Insect Invaders—Argentine Ants

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

Vectors of Disease 2—Ticks

Ostfeld, R.S., T. Levi, F. Keesing, K. Oggenfuss, and C.D. Canham. 2018. Tick-borne disease risk in a forest food web. Ecology 99:1562-1573.

Week 16   ---  Presentations Session #6

(Dec. 10)          Assignment(s) Due:    <In Class Quiz>     +     First Term Paper (for presenters)                                

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.

Wetland Invaders—Reedgrass

Bhattarai, G.P., L.A. Meyerson, and J.T. Cronin. 2017. Geographic variation in apparent competition between native and invasive Phragmites australis. Ecology 98:349-358.

Week 17   ---  Final Wrap-Up

(Dec. 17)           Assignment(s) Due:    All Second Drafts!  (Term Papers, CV/Resumes, etc.)                               


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


“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