Department of Ecology, Evolution, & Organismal Biology

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Main Research Areas

        Food Webs &                             Hypergraph Ecology

        Mutualism &                             Game Theory

        Plant Competition &                 Plant-Soil Feedbacks

Publications

Former Lab Members

EEBOB Seminar Series

Ecology Journal Club

Teaching

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Teaching: 

Biol 3370 (Ecology lecture):  In Ecology lecture, I focused on helping
students develop an in-depth understanding of fundamental ecological
principles, and tended to stress concepts related to population and community
dynamics as well as biodiversity.  My exams required critical thinking & quantitative
reasoning, emphasizing an ability to apply concepts practically over rote
memorization.  This came in large part from the subject matter, as understanding
highly complex ecological systems means unravelling the roles of many interacting
processes.

Biol 3370L (Ecology lab):  In Ecology lab, I placed a heavy emphasis on
activities and assignments which helped students improve their skills in scientific
writing, experimental design, data analysis, & interpretation of the scientific literature. 
Each semester revolved around a final project which was determined by peer-review
of competing proposals that groups of students develop independently from the
literature review up.  

Biol 4399/6399 (EEBOB):  The Ecology, Evolution, Behavior, & Organismal
Biology (EEBOB) seminar series began in Fall 2013 and has been a course which
graduate & undergraduate students may take for credit since Fall 2014.  Expect a
mix of external and internal speakers presenting research on a diversity of topics. 
I organized the seminar series for its first three years,including serving as the instructor
for the first two years it was a course. 

Biol 6490 (Theoretical Ecological Modeling):  This is a course that I
developed, targeted primarily at our MSIB students with ecologically-focused
thesis research.  The course was based around independent modeling projects, and
teaching students the skills needed to conduct a theoretical study in ecology.  
We covered all aspects of this, including: researching the theoretical and empirical
ecological literature, formulating a timely and interesting question amenable to
theoretical exploration, developing a model, analyzing that model, and interpreting
the results.  Students learned how to construct multiple types of simulation-based
models in R, as well as some key mathematical analysis techniques.  

Biol 7500 (Integrative Biology Seminar):  Integrative  Biology Seminar
is a course in which our graduate students take turns leading discussions on recent
papers.  I found that students got the most out of the course when I set
biological networks as the theme of the papers students select: this facilitated
cross-talk between students with different interests (e.g., molecular biology
vs. ecology), and introduced students to the practical relevance of important
network science concepts across biological sub-disciplines.   

Guest Lectures:  I routinely delivered guest lectures in two of the Department's 
graduate-level courses: Biol 7200 (Advanced Integrative Biology) and Biol 7400
(Multidisciplinary Approaches to Ecological Questions).  My contributions consisted
of lectures on biological networks, evolutionary game theory, and models of plant
resource competition, as well as in-class and take-home exercises on mechanisms
of coexistence in small food webs and calculation of network metrics in large ones.   

     photo credits: ant - Steve Jurveston, aphid - Guido Gerding, beetle - Scott Bauer,
     ectomycorrhizae - Randy Molina, pines - Jsanchezd, nitrate & ammonia - Benjah-bmm27

last updated
Sept 10th, 2016

 
 

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