Areas of Expertise
Animal behavior, physiological ecology
1997 — Doctor of Philosophy from The Ohio State University
1978 — Bachelor of Arts from Ohio Wesleyan University
Courses Recently Taught
This course is a general introduction to animal behavior. We will examine behavior within the framework of Tinbergen’s four areas of inquiry: causation (mechanisms), development, function and evolution (phylogeny) with an emphasis on behavioral ecology and the process by which questions in animal behavior are answered. An important part of class will be the reading and discussion of primary literature. This counts toward the upper-level environmental biology requirement for the major. Prerequisite: BIOL 115 or 116 or permission of instructor.
This combined discussion and laboratory course aims to develop abilities for asking sound research questions, designing reasonable scientific approaches to answer such questions, and performing experiments to test both the design and the question. We consider how to assess difficulties and limitations in experimental strategies due to design, equipment, organism selected and so on. The course provides a detailed understanding of selected modern research equipment. Students select their own research problems in consultation with one or more biology faculty members. This course is designed both for those who plan to undertake honors research in their senior year and for those who are not doing honors but want practical research experience. A student can begin the course in either semester. If a year of credit is earned, it may be applied toward one laboratory requirement for the major in biology. This course is repeatable for credit. Prerequisite: BIOL 109Y–110Y and 116 and permission of instructor.
In this capstone seminar, students explore current research topics in biology by writing a mini-review on a topic of their choice. In doing so, students analyze and integrate information from research articles they connect specific studies to broader biological questions and propose future work that refines and extends prior studies. Students communicate their insights in both oral and written formats. Assignments include short essays, student presentations, a general-audience piece and peer review. This course counts toward the upper-level lecture course requirement for the biology major. Prerequisite: senior standing and biology or molecular biology major.
Individual study in biology, is pursued by juniors or seniors, provides an opportunity to investigate a topic of special interest not covered, or not covered in depth, in the current curriculum. The investigation, designed in consultation with the chosen faculty mentor, may be designed to earn .25 or .5 unit of credit in a semester and may be continued in the second semester. Individual study ordinarily involves literature-oriented investigations. Laboratory-oriented independent research is conducted under BIOL 385 and 386. Students may receive credit for no more than two semesters of individual study. Individual study does not fulfill the natural science diversification requirement, nor does it count toward the requirements for the major. To enroll in individual study, a student must identify a member of the Biology department willing to mentor the project and in consultation with him or her, draft a syllabus, including readings, a schedule and assignments, which must be approved by the department chair. The chair’s approval is required prior to enrollment. The student will meet regularly with the instructor for at least one hour per week. The amount of graded work should approximate that required, on average, in 300-level biology courses, at a minimum. In the case of group individual studies, a single course syllabus may be submitted, assuming that all group members will follow the same syllabus. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the end of the seventh day of classes, they should begin discussion of the proposed individual study well in advance, preferably the semester before, so that there is time to devise a syllabus and seek departmental approval before the registrar's deadline.
In recent years, there has been a renaissance of science writing for the common reader that combines literary and scientific merit: from Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" to Oliver Sacks' "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat", from Dava Sobel's "Longitude" to Rebecca Skloot's "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," a series of books that explore scientific questions in a style that transcends the conventions of academic science writing or popular history have brought important questions from physics, biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and mathematics to wider public attention. Short form science journalism has become one of the most important areas of literary nonfiction, recognized both by annual awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and two different series of Best of American Science Writing anthologies. This interdisciplinary science writing course will combine literary analysis of exemplary essays on scientific topics with a writing workshop that requires students to do close observation of scientific processes, conduct independent research and interviews, interpret data, and present scientific information in highly readable form. Weekly readings will be selected from prize-winning science essays and the Best of American Science and Nature Writing series. We may also read one book-length work of science writing. Weekly writing assignments will include journals, observational accounts of science experiments, exercises in interpreting scientific data, interviews, narratives and a substantial research essay. This counts toward the approaches to literary study or post-1900 requirements for the major. No prerequisite.
This course examines contemporary environmental problems, introducing the major concepts pertaining to human interactions with the biosphere. We will explore this interaction at both local and global scales. Course topics include basic principles of ecology (flows of energy, cycling of matter and the role of feedback), the impacts of human technology, the roots of our perceptions about and reactions to nature, the social and legal framework for responding to problems and economic issues surrounding environmental issues. We will discuss methods for answering questions regarding the consequences of our actions and, using a systems approach, focus on methods for organizing information to evaluate complex issues. The format of the course will be three-quarters discussion and lecture and one-quarter workshop. The workshops will include field trips, experience with collecting data, and application of systems thinking. This course taken at Kenyon, paired with any biology course, counts toward the natural science diversification requirement. This course is required for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every year.