Advanced Biology – Life’s Origins and Transitions

This course explores the evolution of life on Earth, focusing on the physical and chemical properties that have constrained the structure and function of organisms and their parts. Major topics in evolution and Earth history will be explored, including natural selection, genetic variation, the origination and extinction of taxa, and the relationship between form, function, and selection. These evolutionary topics will be combined with concepts from Physics and Chemistry necessary for life, and include the harnessing of energy and its conversion from abiotic to biotic forms, the structure of biomolecules and their assembly and storage, surface tension and how organisms use air and water, how force and strength determine the structure of skeletal systems, and how organisms move. Modeling Physics, Chemistry, or department approval is a prerequisite for this course. (Semester, .50 credit)