BIO 121 A


Michael Tibbetts


    Th      9:00-12:00 pm

RKC 114 / 115



Cross-listed: Global Public Health  According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one-third of U.S. adults, and 17% of children and adolescents, are obese.  The estimated annual cost of obesity was $147 billion in 2008.  This course will explore the potential factors contributing to the obesity epidemic, by examining epidemiological and experimental evidence.  These factors include: behavior, evolution, genetics/physiology, and microbiome.  In the laboratory we will explore the influence of genetics on obesity as well as the efficacy of interventions, using an emerging model system for the study of metabolism and obesity, zebrafish. Prerequisite: passing score on Part I of the Mathematics Diagnostic, and experience in high school biology and chemistry.  Class size: 18



BIO 121 B


Michael Tibbetts


      F      1:30-4:30 pm

RKC 111 / 112



See above.  Class size: 18


BIO 152


Felicia Keesing


 T  Th    8:30-9:50 am

   Th       1:30-4:30 pm

RKC 111

RKC 112



In this course, intended for students interested in majoring in biology, we will explore the biology of mammals. Mammals are a fairly specialized group of creatures with two notable features – they produce nutritious milk to feed their offspring and they maintain a constant internal body temperature, though doing so requires them to eat with near comical frequency. Despite our inherent familiarity with a number of mammalian traits, many people are unaware that some of our mammalian relatives lay eggs, others produce venomous saliva, and yet others live in ant-like colonies with a single queen surrounded by a worker caste whose members don’t reproduce. More surprising still might be that over 1000 new species of mammals have been described in the past 15 years. Yet compared to other forms of life, like plants or microbes or insects, mammals are extremely rare, representing just a tiny fraction of living organisms. In this course, we will explore the ecology, behavior, physiology, diversity, and evolution of mammals, and put these characteristics into context by considering how they compare to the characteristics of other groups. Most importantly, we will explore what focusing on mammals can teach us about life on Earth, particularly in the 21st century as the planet warms and little of the land or sea is untouched by the influence of humans, a particularly adaptable and abundant species of mammal. Prerequisite: successful completion of at least one previous college-level course in biology or permission of the instructor. Class size: 18



BIO 157

 Food Microbiology

Gabriel Perron

 T  Th    1:30-4:30 pm

RKC 114 / 115



Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies In this course designed for non-majors and intended biology majors, we will study the microorganisms that inhabit, create, or contaminate food. The first half of the course will introduce students to topics in food safety such as food spoilage, foodborne infections, and antibiotic resistance. In the second half of the course, students will learn how to harness the capabilities of the many microbes present in our environment to turn rotting vegetables or spoiling milk into delicious food. Students will also learn how next-generation technologies are revealing the important ecological dynamics shaping microbial communities in transforming food with possible beneficial effects on human health. Throughout the course, students will learn how to design, conduct, and analyze simple experiments while working with microbiology techniques, including DNA sequencing. No prerequisite.  Class size: 18



BIO 162

 Introduction to Neurobiology

Arseny Khakhalin


M  W      10:10-11:30 am

  T          1:30-4:30 pm

 RKC 101

 RKC 112



Cross-listed: Mind, Brain, Behavior  Many neuroscience textbooks begin with the description of the brain's nuts-and-bolts (neurons, synapses, ion channels), while all the fun topics (behavior, cognition, memory) get clumped at the end. This happens because most textbooks pretend to be discussing human brains, even though the majority of what we know about the brain we learned from model organisms, such as rats, flies, and sea slugs. In this course, we will gradually climb up the ladder of complexity: from single neurons in invertebrates, through small circuits in fishes and birds, and up to large-scale networks in primates, to see how simple elements can combine and interact to produce meaningful behaviors. The course provides an introduction to neuroscience, and is recommended for students with interests in biology, psychology or computation.  Class size: 18



BIO 166

 Methods in Field Ecology

Cathy Collins

    F        1:30-4:30 pm

RKC 114 / 115



2 credits This course is designed to provide an introduction to the general methods of conducting ecological research, primarily in an outdoor setting. Students will gain essential skills for future coursework or research in ecology. We will cover the scientific method generally, and more specifically how it is applied to the process of ecological research. Students will gain skills in developing ecological questions; formulating testable hypotheses; designing experiments; collecting and analyzing data; and presenting results in both oral and written formats. These skills will be learned through a hands-on process in which students conduct a series of individual and collaborative field studies that test hypotheses in the science of ecology. We will study a broad spectrum of species (e.g. microbes, plants, insects, vertebrates) in various ecosystems (grassland, forests, rivers).  Field techniques include surveying density, diversity, and biomass of forest trees, culturing endophytic fungi, sampling macroinvertebrates in fresh-water streams, mark and recapture techniques to estimate population size, and camera-trapping mammals. Class size: 12



BIO 201

 Genetics and Evolution

Brooke Jude

M  W      8:30-11:30 am

RKC 111 / 112



Cross-listed: Global Public Health; Mind, Brain, Behavior  This course is an introduction to the mechanisms of inheritance and the generation of diversity in eukaryotic organisms.  This course takes a modern approach to the study of genetics in which classical ideas about genotype, phenotype and inheritance are integrated into the modern molecular and genomic understanding of the processes involved in the generation of diversity.  In addition to discussions of the molecular mechanisms involved in DNA replication,  recombination, the generation and repair of mutations, and the relationship between genotype and phenotype, special consideration is given to our understanding of the processes involved in generating population-level variation in complex traits and how this understanding can help us identify the myriad genetic and non-genetic factors influencing these traits.  The laboratory consists of a semester long project involving the genetic manipulation of a model organism’s genome to address one or more topics in the course.  Prerequisite: One biology course at the 140 level or higher.  Class size: 18



BIO 202

 Ecology and Evolution

Cathy Collins

  W  F     8:30-11:30 am

RKC 114 / 115



Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies  This core course for biology majors is an introduction to the general principles of ecology and evolution that, with genetics, form the core of biological understanding. In addition to studying foundational ideas in both ecology and evolution, we will explore modern topics at the boundary between these two areas. We will consider, for example, how genetic variation among individual organisms can influence ecological interactions, and how these interactions can influence fitness. We will focus on a mechanistic understanding of processes, using model-building to inform that understanding.  Prerequisite: Successful completion of a course in biology numbered 140 or above.  Class size: 18



BIO 208

 Biology Seminar

Cathy Collins

   Th       12:00-1:00 pm

RKC 103



1 credit  This course will provide students with broad exposure to biology through the biology visiting speaker seminar series. Students will hear about the wide-ranging research interests of invited biologists and have opportunities to interact informally with them. The course is graded Pass/Fail and students are responsible for short follow-up assignments for at least 80% of the talks. Recommended for all biology majors and other interested students. 

Class size: 55



BIO 244


Gabriel Perron

M  W      3:00-5:00 pm

RKC 115



Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies; Global Public Health; Mathematics  This course introduces students to the statistical methods biologists use to describe and compare data. Students will learn methods that are appropriate for different types of data. Topics covered include elementary probability and statistics, characteristics of frequency distributions, hypothesis testing, contingency tests, correlation and regression analysis, different ways to compare means, nonparametric tests, and an introduction to multivariate tests. This course is intended for sophomore and junior biology majors, although it is open to students of all years.  One objective of the course is to provide biology majors the statistical background they need to analyze data for their own senior research; biology students should take this course before their senior year, if possible. Notice, though, that the topics in this course are applicable to many advanced courses. Prerequisite: passing score on part I of the Mathematics Diagnostic and at least one introductory biology course.

Class size: 18



BIO 316

 Animal Behavior

Bruce Robertson

M  W      1:30-2:50 pm

  F          8:30-11:30 am

RKC 102

RKC 111/ 112



Cross-listed: Mind, Brain, Behavior  Have you ever asked yourself, “Why did that animal do that?” There are many levels at which we could seek answers, running from proximal mechanisms (firing neurons and hormonal stimuli) through ultimate mechanisms (the evolutionary selective pressures which produce adaptive behaviors through natural selection). This course is primarily about the latter. In it, we seek answers to why organisms evolve various mating strategies, what accounts for differences in sexual characteristics and mate choice among males and females, how organisms use signals, the information they contain, whether they signal honest information or whether we expect to see cheaters within populations, conflicts of interest between siblings, parents and offspring, males and females, and so on. We explore these questions through lab and field experiments and using evolutionary game theory, which provides the underlying framework for understanding the evolution of animal behaviors. The lab portion of the class will allow you to learn new methods and technologies (e.g. bioacoustic recording and analysis, avian point counts and transects) useful in studying animal behavior, work individually and in groups to design experiments and models to test your own hypotheses. Research will focus on captive animals in Bard’s laboratories, wild animals on Bard’s campus and within the surrounding natural landscape, and on captive animals housed in a local zoo. As a capstone achievement, you will identify an important basic or applied question in animal behavior and write a professional National Science Foundation-style proposal advocating for the funding of a research project of your own design. Prerequisite: moderated biology student or permission of instructor. Class size: 16



BIO 415

 advanced seminar in Urban Ecology

Bruce Robertson

  W         9:10-11:30 am

RKC 200



Urban development is among the most pervasive and ubiquitous forms of land cover change. Thus, urbanization poses significant challenges to many organisms, including humans. Urban Ecology is a seminar course in which students focus on the processes determining patterns of abundance and distribution of organisms in urban ecosystems, the interactions among organisms in the urban environment, behavioral and evolutionary responses that facilitate adaptation to urban environments, and the interactions between humans and nature in urban environments. Urban organisms and ecosystems also provide services (e.g. temperature mitigation, pest control) to humans and we will focus on aspects of urban planning as it relates to maximizing those services. We will link key case studies focused on the Hudson Valley and NY metropolitan areas to eco-evolutionary theory and an understanding of how to design urban landscapes in ways that provide key ecosystem services that humans need to survive. Students will specialize in urban ecological and evolutionary areas of their own interest, and learn to navigate the scientific and gray literature to gather, critique and organize ideas. As a capstone project, students will identify a key gap in our understanding of basic or applied urban ecology and design a research proposal targeting a funding agency to carry out that work.  Class size: 12



BIO 436

 alzheimer’s disease: past, present, and future

Heather Bennett

   F    1:30 pm – 3:50 pm

RKC 200



Alzheimer’s disease affects millions of people worldwide and costs billions of dollars to treat, making this disease an enormous issue for public health. In this course we will focus on the molecular underpinnings and genetic basis of Alzheimer’s, as well as the public health effects surrounding this disease.  This course aims to highlight the applications of experimental design from initial molecular determination through current status, identification of mutations in genes that result in the disease, development of animal models that provide mechanistic insight, and ground-breaking findings that have led to our current knowledge of the disease. Grading will be based on class participation, in the form of student-led discussion, and written papers.  Prerequisites: Successful moderation in biology, or permission of the instructor. Class size: 12


Cross-listed courses:



EUS 413


Elias Dueker

 T    9:10 am – 11:30 am

RKC 200



Cross-listed: Biology



HR 223

 Epidemics and Human Rights

Helen Epstein

 T  Th    1:30-2:50 pm

OLIN 301




Cross-listed: Anthropology; Biology; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Global & International Studies; Psychology