BIOL 213
Sensory Biology Fall 2019
Division III
Cross-listed NSCI 213 / BIOL 213
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

What properties of the physical world do organisms sense, and which ones do they ignore? How do they convert physical or chemical energy to a signal within a cell? We will look for answers to these questions by investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms of sensory transduction–and how these mechanisms define the types of information that the nervous system extracts and encodes. We will also ask how natural selection shapes the type of sensory information that animals extract from the world. Some of the examples we will consider are: bat echolocation (hair cells in the ear), detecting visual motion (amacrine cells in the retina), the constant reshaping of the mammalian olfactory system (chemical mapping of odors), what makes a touch stimulus noxious (in worms and mice), enhanced color vision (in birds, bees, and shrimp), and differences in the way males and females sense odors (pheromones and the vomeronasal organ). Laboratory exercises will cover a range of techniques, including electrophysiological recording, the role of mutations in single genes, and behavioral assays.
The Class: Format: lecture/laboratory; six hours per week
Limit: 28
Expected: 24
Class#: 1216
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: take-home exams, problem sets, lab reports, and class participation
Prerequisites: BIOL 101
Enrollment Preferences: Biology majors and Neuroscience concentrators
Unit Notes: does not satisfy the distribution requirement for the Biology major
Distributions: Division III
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
NSCI 213 Division III BIOL 213 Division III
Attributes: NSCI Group A Electives

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