Address

251 Bessey Hall
Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011

Contact

515-294-3121

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REGULARLY OFFERED COURSES

These courses are offered every year by Amy Toth.

 

BIOL 354: ANIMAL BEHAVIOR

Instructor Amy Toth, Every Fall

This course will explore and examine the fascinating world of animal behavior. Modern animal behavior is a very integrative and multidisciplinary endeavor. Thus, we will touch on many topics relating to both the evolution of behavior and its underlying mechanistic basis. Through lectures, readings, videos, group activities and discussions, and an optional laboratory, you will have a chance to learn about a variety of topics in the field of animal behavior. We will start with the basics, first reviewing the scientific method and then talking about different approaches to studying animal behavior. Throughout the course, we will take an evolutionary perspective, considering both the evolutionary history of a behavior and its adaptive value. We will review some of the basic mechanisms of behavior including genetics, hormones, and neurobiology. We will discuss the role of learning and culture. From there, we will talk about many different types of animal behavior including foraging, mating, aggression, and social behavior.

3 credits.

EEOB 507: GENES AND BEHAVIOR (ADVANCED ANIMAL BEHAVIOR)

Instructor Amy Toth, Every Spring

In this discussion-based course, we will examine the genetic underpinnings of animal behavior, and how behavior evolves on a genetic level.  Topics will include aggressiveness, social behavior, personality, parental care, communication, mating behavior, novelty seeking behavior, and foraging.  We will examine these behaviors at multiple levels, including genomics, population genetics, molecular genetics, epigenetics, endocrinology, and neurobiology.  The course will primarily rely on readings from the primary literature, using examples from laboratory model organisms, animals in their natural habitats, and humans.  There will be frequent readings from review papers, journal articles, and book chapters.   Grades will be heavily based on participation in course discussions, student presentations, and an original research proposal.  The course is open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates with previous coursework in animal behavior and/or psychology.

3 credits.

OTHER COURSES

These courses were offered in the past and may be offered again some day.

 

ENT 357X: BEE BIOLOGY, MANAGEMENT, AND BEEKEEPING

Instructor Adam Dolezal, Co-Instructor Amy Toth

Biology and management of bee pollinators, focusing on honey bees.
Fundamentals of bee biology, including life history, behavior, and
development.  Practical aspects of beekeeping and non-honey bee pollinator
management including disease management.  Work with live bee hives will
during three weekend trips to local hives.

3 credits.

BCB 660: APPLICATIONS OF NEXT GENERATION SEQUENCING DATA PROCESSING SOFTWARE IN GENOMICS

Past instructors Volker Brendel or Andrew Severin, Co-Instructor Amy Toth

The course will be a hands-on, working group style course covering data processing and analysis of "Next Generation Sequence" data.  Students will learn the basics of working with cluster computers and virtual machines, install software, and analyze sample data. The course will cover the entire range of genomic analysis, from genome assembly, transcript assembly, transcript mapping, and genome annotation to annotation visualization and evaluation. At each step, participants will work together to generate installation and How-to documentation, which will be maintained on the course Wiki page. There will be opportunity to analyze original data as well as provided sample data.

2 credits.

BIOL495: SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM

Instructor Amy Toth

In this course, we will explore the nature of science, discuss the ideas behind both creationism (intelligent design) and evolutionary science, survey some of the evidence for evolution and natural selection, and learn about the societal conflict between modern creationism and evolution (both in the courtroom and in the classroom). We will explore these themes through readings, discussions/debates, and multimedia (including music, film, and internet sources).

1 credit.

EEB698: GENOMIC APPLICATIONS TO ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION

Instructor Amy Toth

In this one-credit seminar, we will explore recent advances in molecular biology and genomics and how they are or can be applied to ecological and evolutionary questions. Applications will include (but are not restricted to) transcriptomics, SNPs, epigenetics, metagenomic sequencing, and whole genome sequencing. The goal is to both develop a basic understanding of how the technologies work and also how they can be effectively used in ecological and evolutionary research.  We will read a combination of review papers, methods/techniques papers, and data papers that explore a wide variety of eco-evo themes.  Students will be encouraged to choose papers relevant to their research and lead weekly discussions on those papers.

2 credits.