Symbiosis can be defined as "the living together of differently named organisms". This upper-division science program will look at the biology, ecology and physiology of symbiotic associations through lectures, readings, laboratory, fieldwork, and seminar topics taken from the primary scientific literature. We will explore the defining aspects of mutualistic symbioses including plant-animal, fungus-plant, animal-animal, bacteria-plant, bacteria-animal, and protozoa-animal symbioses at the organismal, physiological, cellular, biochemical, molecular, and ecological levels. We will also examine parasitic symbioses. We will investigate the characteristics that define the integration between the host and symbiont of specific associations through hands-on fieldwork and experimental laboratory sessions. A multi-day field trip to Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park in eastern Washington will provide students with an opportunity to examine and compare symbioses between different Pacific Northwest ecosystems and to gain skills in field data collection. Laboratories will include experimental work such as determining plant host specificity of nodule-forming bacteria, examination of the contribution of zooxanthellae to animal respiration in marine invertebrates, and molecular determination of symbiont identity in lichens using DNA barcoding techniques. Students will develop scientific communication and research skills including maintenance of a lab notebook, writing of lab reports based on multi-week experiments and oral presentations. Student learning will be assessed based on the quality and completeness of written work and oral presentations, weekly quizzes and a cumulative take-home examination.
Two quarters of college chemistry with labs and two quarters of college biology with labs are required. These prerequisites will be verified the first day of class.
Course Reference Numbers
the life sciences.
$290 for an overnight field trip to Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park.
Up to 16 upper division science credits will be awarded in symbiosis, symbiosis seminar, ecological physiology, and symbiosis laboratory.