Plants that Changed the Course of History (FYOS 1000)
Fall Semesters (1 credits)

Plants have shaped the natural world and played a major role in transforming human history.  From the beginnings of life on earth to the origin of agriculture and 21st century biofuels, plants continue to affect humanity in many and profound ways.  Through a series of selected readings and discussions, this FYOS will explore the impact of plants on the natural world and the role they have played in shaping human history.  Weekly writings will be used to both measure the level of student understanding as well as help students develop their skills in written expression.  Finally, the course will introduce students to the research programs of UGA scientists who are expanding our understanding of plants.  Outside class activities will include visits to UGA’s Ethnobotanical Garden, Trial Gardens, and Founders Garden.

Population and Earth’s Future (FYOS 1000)
Variable (1 credit)

The overarching topic of the course is to understand the current and historical factors that have led to over 7.8 billion people on Earth.  How do these past events inform us about what is currently happening on our planet and how is this likely to affect the planet in the future? 

Through the use of selected readings, audio recordings, and videos we explore the factors that govern populations of all organisms, and humans in particular.  We will also look at how the global dominance of a single animal species (humans) has disrupted natural ecosystems that in some cases have been stable for hundreds of millions of years. Finally, we will attempt to look into the future and discuss various scenarios in which humanity can live in a sustainably balanced way that preserves both the quality of human life as well as the ecosystems on which humanity relies for our continued existence.  Some of this work will touch on research that is being carried out right here at the University of Georgia and we will be introducing you to the work of these researchers.

World Population on your birthday?  Enter your birthday to find out and then compare that number with the world’s population today.

Principles of Biology II (BIOL 1108)
Co-taught with Dr. Mark A. Farmer
Fall semesters (3 credits)

This course for biology majors builds on and complements knowledge you acquired in BIOL 1107.  Where BIOL 1107 focused on the nature of how information affects biological systems at all levels we will be stressing how energy flows through biological systems, from the origin of biomolecules to the creation of complex ecosystems. 

Plant Variation & Evolution (Introduction to Population Genetics) (PBIO 4720 / 6720)
Fall of even-numbered years (4 credits)

This course is designed for students who want a relatively in-depth coverage of current research in plant evolutionary biology.  A broad range of topics will be covered – measuring genetic diversity and its distribution within and among populations, pollen and seed dispersal, plant breeding systems, genetic drift, landscape, conservation and restoration genetics, etc. The conceptual basis of each topic will be covered and then supported by empirical examples. The focus throughout the course will be the estimation and description of processes and patterns in natural plant populations.  Lecture material will assume a basic knowledge of genetics and evolutionary biology.  The data analysis labs will familiarize students with commonly used population genetic software programs and the interpretation of the output.

Orchid Biology & Evolution Seminar (PBIO 8800)
Spring semesters (1 credit)

A graduate level seminar on the evolutionary contrivances of the Orchidaceae and the fascinating biology of these plants.  Students read primary literature and lead discussions on everything from life history strategies, orchid/mycorrhizal interactions, speciation, rewarding pollination syndromes, deceptive pollination syndromes (including sexual deception), population genetics, etc.