BIOL 314
Neuroethology Spring 2025
Division III
Cross-listed NSCI 324

Class Details

How does an animal experience its environment? What mechanisms allow an animal to select and generate behaviors? In this course we will use a comparative approach to examine how nervous systems have evolved to solve problems inherent to an animal’s natural environment. We will discuss how animals sense physical and chemical properties of their surroundings and convert this information to a signal encoded in their brain. We will explore how nervous systems of diverse species are adapted to extract sensory information that is relevant to their survival–such as sound, light, and smell. We will also examine how neural circuits control muscles to generate motor behaviors such as locomotion and vocalization and how sensory information is integrated to influence behavior. To highlight the discovery process, we will read and discuss primary research articles that complement course content. During labs we will use a variety of approaches such as electrophysiology, optogenetics, behavior, and data analysis to understand sensory and motor systems in several different organisms.
The Class: Format: lecture/laboratory
Limit: 24
Expected: 24
Class#: 3136
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Participation in class and lab, several take-home exams, independent group research project and presentation, and short written class and lab assignments.
Prerequisites: BIOL 212 or BIOL 205
Enrollment Preferences: Senior, then junior, Biology majors and NSCI concentrators who need a 300-level course or a NSCI elective
Distributions: Division III
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
BIOL 314 Division III NSCI 324 Division III
Attributes: NSCI Group A Electives

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