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Biology 373 – Ecology Professor: Eric R. Pianka Office: Patterson 125, Mon., Fri. 1-2 PM 471-7472, Course Website:

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Presentation on theme: "Biology 373 – Ecology Professor: Eric R. Pianka Office: Patterson 125, Mon., Fri. 1-2 PM 471-7472, Course Website:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Biology 373 – Ecology Professor: Eric R. Pianka Office: Patterson 125, Mon., Fri. 1-2 PM , Course Website: Download Syllabus from above

2 Ground Rules, exams, etc. (no “make up” exams) Text: read chapters 1, review 2 through 7, then read 8, etc. … Ecology, Environment, not beer cans and pollution Anthropocentrism: what good are you? Captive versus wild animals. Love in vials. Pristine natural environments Vanishing book of life, need to conserve but also to READ. Scaling in Biology : microscopic —> macroscopic Patience required to study ecology & evolution (also large spaces) Reductionistic versus holistic approaches

3 Scientific Methods. Curiosity, assume that organized reality exists Not faith-based, but based on repeated predictable patterns Models, Hypotheses, Theories, Simplifying Assumptions Model: mere “caricatures of nature” (all models are imperfect) “Laws” in Physics & Chemistry versus biology (complex, diversity) Observation, Experiment : confront model with reality (test it) No clean facts, no “truth” or “proof” in science Profess —> Study : transfer of Knowledge

4 Pianka, Evolutionary Ecology, 6th or 7th editions You can also read these on line at Blackboard’s “Course Documents” Please Read Chapter 1 Chapter 8 “Scientific Methods” “Natural Selection” [Also, please look over Chapters 2 through 7 to make certain you are familiar with that background material]

5 Suggested Additional Reading Case, An Illustrated Guide to Theoretical Ecology (read pp ) Gotelli, A Primer of Ecology (read pp. 2-85) Ginzburg and Golenberg, Lectures in Theoretical Population Biology (read pp. 1-5 and ) An Illustrated Guide to Theoretical Ecology Ted J. Case

6 Exams: First Exam: 4 Oct. Second Exam: 1 Nov. Third Exam: 6 Dec. Final Exam: 17 December, 2-5 PM Best 2 of 3 = 50% + Final 50% [No “Make Up” Exams!]

7 Grades: Three hour exams 4 Oct. 1 Nov. > Best 2 of 3 = 50% 6 Dec. Final 50% : 17 December, 2-5 PM +/- Grading System will be used [No “Make Up” Exams!]

8 Hierarchical Organization of the Biological Sciences

9 Wisdom Knowledge Understanding Manipulation

10 Wisdom Knowledge Understanding Manipulation Profess: “to claim to have knowledge of”

11 Wisdom Knowledge Understanding Manipulation Profess: “to claim to have knowledge of” Study: “application of the mental faculties to the acquisition of knowledge”

12 Proper motivation to do science is curiosity. How do things work? Assume an organized reality exists and that objective principles can be formulated to reflect this natural order. Not faith-based, but based on repeated predictable events and patterns. Common misconception that “truth” and “proof” and even “facts” exist. Nietzsche said “there are no facts, only interpretation.” Nietzsche

13 Geocentric world view Sunrise Sunset

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15 Geocentric world view Sunrise Sunset

16 Geocentric world view Sunrise Sunset X X

17 Solar system world view “Spinup” “Spindown”

18 Heliocentric world view

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20 Our One and Only Spaceship

21 Observation and Experiment are vital. Scientists formulate hypotheses to explain repeatable events. A hypothesis is tested by confronting it with reality — if it fails, it is discarded and replaced with another, hopefully better, hypothesis. In time, a well supported hypothesis becomes a theory. The scientific method is self regulating: poor hypotheses are continually replaced with better ones as human knowledge expands and is improved. We benefit immensely from past genius.

22 A sprinkling of past geniuses: NewtonDarwin Archimedes Aristotle Euclid DaVinciEinsteinn Socrates

23 Domain of Ecology Simple versus multiple causality

24 Evolution is not synonymous with Natural Selection Evolution is defined as any change in the gene pool Agents of Evolution Genetic Drift (random sampling) Gene Flow (migration) Mutation Pressure Meiotic Drive Natural Selection

25 Natural Selection = Differential Reproductive Success “Struggle for Existence” “Survival of the Fittest” Selection results in Adaptation (other agents of evolution do not) (Adaptation is conformity between organism and environment)

26 Natural Selection does not always operate via Differential Mortality Cautious long-lived tomcat versus short-lived alley cat

27 Natural Selection does not always operate via Differential Mortality Cautious long-lived tomcat versus short-lived alley cat The currency of Natural Selection is progeny (offspring, babies)

28 Natural Selection does not always operate via Differential Mortality Cautious long-lived tomcat versus short-lived alley cat The currency of Natural Selection is progeny (offspring, babies) Not beauty, brains, or brawn If the ugly stupid and weak make more babies, their genes prevail

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31 “Selfish” Genes “outlaw genes” meiotic drive (segregation distortion) Richard Dawkins “packaging problem” Parliament of genes Viruses Gees Genes are the ultimate replicators. Bodies are merely giant machines designed by genes for their own survival.


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