Basic principles of general biology as they relate to exemplary ecosystems.
On Saturday, January 18th
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Circle of Life: The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Module 1: Introduction to the Ecosystem
Module 1 defines the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem; describes the geological and human history of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks; describes ecosystem structure and types of ecosystems found within the Yellowstone landscape.
Supplement 1.1: Lentic Ecosystems
This supplement to Module 1 looks in more detail at the zones and characteristics of lake (lentic) ecosystems.
Supplement 1.2: Terrestrial Biomes
This supplement to Module 1 looks in more detail at the terrestrial biomes we find in the Yellowstone Ecosystem: Aspen forests, the many Coniferous forests, Temperate grasslands, Big Sage Chaparral, and high altitude Tundra.
Module 2: The Nature of Science
Module 2 describes the dual nature of science; an overview of the process of science; characteristics of a controlled study; the products of science including theory; characteristics of quality science and how it differs from pseudoscience or religion; and the public’s skepticism with science.
Supplement 2.1: Anecdotal Science and Studies
This supplement to module 1 focuses on anecdotal science (testimonials) and why it is not credible compared to controlled studies; as well as blind studies, double blind studies, and accounting for placebo effect.
Module 3: Basic Chemistry
Module 3 discusses states of matter; atomic structure and the subatomic particles that form them; atomic number and mass; nuclear structure; electron distribution; atomic diagrams; using the Periodic Table of the Elements; ionic and covalent bonds; looking at compatibility and electronegativity to predict bonding; and chemical equations—what they represent and how to recognize whether they are written correctly or not.
Supplement 3.1: Characteristics of Water
This supplement to Module 3 discusses the characteristics of water and what makes water so unique and important to life.
Module 4: Biochemistry
Module 4 describes organic and inorganic molecules; how monomers form polymers via dehydration synthesis; hydrolysis reactions; important organic groups; and the major organic polymers: carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids.
Supplement 4.1: Acids, Bases, pH, and Buffers
This supplement to Module 4 discusses characteristics of acids and bases; the pH scale; and how the buffer carbonic acid functions to neutralize added acid or base.
Module 5: Cells, Membranes, & Solutions
Module 5 discusses plasma membrane structure; characteristics of prokaryotic cells and their structures; and characteristics of eukaryotic cells and their structures, contrasting plant and animal cells.
Supplement 5.1: Diffusion, Osmosis, Dialysis
This supplement to Module 5 defines solutions; and discusses diffusion, Osmosis, and Dialysis.
Module 6: Ecosystem Energetics
Module 6 introduces energetics with a discussion of the laws of energy; structure and characteristics of ATP; exergonic and endergonic reactions; the flow of energy through nature including fusion, the electromagnetic spectrum, a brief overview of photosynthesis and the cellular oxidation of glucose, producers and consumers, food chains and food webs; ecological roles of organisms in the food web; energy pyramids; and contrasting matter recycling with energy flow.
Supplement 6.1: Energetics: Pieces of the Energy Puzzle
This supplement to Module 6 looks at portions of energy metabolism to lay a foundation for the discussion of photosynthesis and the cellular oxidation of glucose in later modules. This module discusses oxidation and reduction reactions; the electron carriers NAD+, FAD, and NADP+ and their reduced versions; enzymatic pathways and cycles; substrate level phosphorylation; chemiosmotic/oxidative phosphorylation looking at electron transport systems and ATP synthase functioning in detail; and photosystems.
Supplement 6.2: Photosynthesis
This second supplement to Module 6 is a detailed look at the light and dark reactions of photosynthesis: Chloroplast structure; photosystems, accessory pigments, and resonance transfer; initiation of photosynthesis and the role of chlorophyll-a and water; photosytem II and photsystem I; ATP production; the Calvin Cycle; the role of glucose; guard cells, stomata, and carbon dioxide; C4 and CAM plants.
Supplement 6.3: The Cellular Oxidation of Glucose
This third supplement to Module 6 revisits C4 and CAM plants before beginning a detailed look at glycolysis and cellular respiration: aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis; mitochondrial structure; pyruvate to acetyl CoA; Kreb’s Cycle; mitochondrial electron transport system; ATP production; the role of oxygen; the metabolic relationship between carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids.
Supplement 6.4: Cycling of Nutrients
This fourth supplement to Module 6 looks at the major biogeochemical cycles: Nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon-oxygen, and water cycles.
Module 7: Mitosis and Meiosis
Module 7 looks at ploidy; mitosis and its roles in nature; the roles of mitosis and meiosis in sexual reproduction; and meiosis and its contribution to genetic diversity looking at crossing over and independent assortment.
Module 8: Inheritance
Module 8 examines Mendelian inheritance of autosomal traits: segregation of alleles, independent assortment, and the basic single trait crosses.
Module 9: Protein Synthesis
Module 9 looks at the structure of DNA and RNA; the processes of transcription and translation; mutation and its effects; and chromosomal abnormalities.
Supplement 9.1: DNA Fingerprinting
This supplement to Module 9 describes DNA fingerprinting technology including restriction enzymes; RFLP’s; VNTR’s; gel electrophoresis; blotting; probes; reading fingerprints; and uses of DNA fingerprinting.
Supplement 9.2: PCR: Polymerase Chain Reaction
This second supplement to Module 9 describes the process and uses of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).
Module 10: Forces of Evolution
Module 10 defines biological evolution; examines Darwin’s development of evolutionary theory; discusses relevant terminology; and begins a discussion of some of the forces that drive evolution including inheritance, random genetic change, and natural selection. Examples and evidence for these evolutionary forces are emphasized throughout.
Module 11: Evolution, Speciation & More
Module 11 continues to look at more forces and evidence of evolution in the form of genetic drift and migration. Genetic drift and natural selection are compared by looking at founder effect and bottlenecks. It also discusses speciation including isolating mechanisms, types of speciation, and examples of speciation.
Module 12: Systematics
Module 12 defines systematics; examines how organisms are classified comparing traditional and cladistic approaches; lays out the Linnaean hierarchy; and defines characteristics of the three major Domains of life, and how they are related.
Module 13: Prokaryotes
Module 13 looks at prions and viruses and how they cause disease; characteristics of the Prokaryotic Domains; and examples of some Eubacteria found in the GYE.
Module 14: Eubacteria, Archaea, & Simple Eukarya
Module 14 discusses Eubacteria and Archaea found in the GYE; describes characteristics of the Protist Kingdoms; and discusses examples of Protists found in the ecosystem.
Module 15: Protists and Introduction to Fungi
Module 15 continues the discussion of Protists found in the GYE; it continues by introducing characteristics of the Fungi.
Module 16: Fungi and Introduction to Plantae
Module 16 discusses the Fungal Divisions Chytridiomycota, Zygyomycota, Basidiomycota, and Ascomycota; lichens are also discussed; and concludes with examination of red algae, green algae, and plant alternations of generations.
Supplement 16.1: Blister Rust
In this supplement to Module 16 Blister Rust (Basidiomycota) is discussed.
Module 17: Mosses and Ferns
Module 17 looks at plant tissues; transpiration and translocation; moss life cycles and examples within the GYE; and the fern life cycle and examples within the ecosystem.
Module 18: Club Mosses, Horsetails, & Gymnosperms
Module 18 examines life cycles and examples of GYE club mosses and horsetails; then describes seed structure; and concludes by describing the conifer life cycle and the conifers found in the ecosystem.
Module 19: Angiosperms
Module 19 revisits how to identify Yellowstone conifers; it then describes the flowering plant life cycle, seeds, fruits, and types of flowers.
Module 20: Flowering Plant Families and Metazoa
Module 20 looks at flower and leaf characteristics used in identification and classification of plants; a number of flowering plant families and examples of flowers found in the ecosystem; and concludes by examining animal development and other characteristics important in classification.
Module 21: Animals: Sponges to Flatworms
Module 21 finishes the discussion of general animal characteristics before looking at life cycles and examples of Sponges, Cnidaria, and Plathyhelmithes found in the GYE.
Module 22: Flatworms to Arthropods
Module 22 continues a discussion of the life cycles and examples of animals found in the GYE. In this module: Platyhelminthes, Nematoda, Acanthocephala, Arthropods (Chelicerates) are considered.
Module 23: Insects to Chordates
Module 23 continues a discussion of the life cycles and examples of animals found in the GYE. In this module the major insect orders are discussed as well as the Mollusca, Annelida, and Chordate characteristics.
Module 24: Fishes and Amphibia
Module 24 discusses characteristics and examples of important fishes in the GYE before introducing characteristics of the Amphibia.
Supplement 24.1: Amphibian Population Crash
This supplement to Module 24 discusses the major contributors to the global amphibian population crash.
Supplement 24.2: Chytrid Distribution
This second supplement to Module 24 briefly discusses how Amphibian Chytridiomycosis became a global epidemic.
Module 25: Amphibia, Reptiles, & Birds
Module 25 discusses common amphibians in the GYE; characteristics and examples of GYE Reptiles; avian characteristics; and the Passeriformes.
Supplement 25.1: Circulatory Anatomy in Fishes and Amphibia
This supplement to Module 25 discusses the circulatory anatomy in fishes and Amphibia, and how it relates to ectothermy.
Supplement 25.2: Circulatory Anatomy in Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals
This second supplement to Module 25 looks at the circulatory anatomy in Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals; and how it relates to endothermy and ectothermy.
Module 26: Birds: Passeriformes Through Anseriformes
Module 26 discusses a number of birds from orders we find in the GYE.
Supplement 26.1: More Birds
This supplement to Module 26 completes the discussion of Greater Yellowstone birds.
Module 27: Mammals: Artiodactyla
Module 27 discusses mammalian characteristics and begins a discussion of Greater Yellowstone mammalian orders with the Artiodactyla and Elk management.
Module 28: Mammals: Artiodactyla and Carnivora
Module 28 examines Elk and Bison management including Brucellosis before considering the rest of the GYE Artiodactyla; then begins a discussion of the Greater Yellowstone Carnivora beginning with Grizzly Bears.
Module 29: Mammals: Carnivora Through Rodentia
Module 29 discusses Grizzly biology and management; then looks at wolf biology, reintroduction, and management; followed by the rest of the Greater Yellowstone Carnivora; and concludes by looking at the native Rodentia.
Supplement 29.1: Lagomorpha and Chiroptera
This supplement to Module 29 concludes discussion of the Mammalia by discussing native Lagomorphs and Bats.
Module 30: Animal Behavior
Module 30 discusses instinctual behavior and learning (conditioning, habituation, latent, imprinting, and insight learning); short and long term memory; and behaviors that are very common in animals, particularly vertebrates.
Supplement 30.1: Completion of Animal Behavior
This supplement to Module 30 discusses more common animal behaviors and looks at culture and emotions in non human animals.
Module 31: Ecosystem Dynamics and Management
Module 31 describes ecological succession in the GYE with emphasis on the 1988 fires and fire ecology; positive and negative feedback; synergism; biological magnification; predator-prey population cycles; and methods of monitoring and analyzing ecosystems.
Supplement 31.1: Trophic Cascade and Island Ecosystems
This supplement to Module 31 describes the trophic cascade in progress resulting from wolf reintroduction; and the effect of “island” or fragmented ecosystems.
Supplement 31.2: Slide Lake
This second supplement to Module 31 describes the famous Kelly Slide on the Gros Ventre River and its current biological status.
Module 32: Endangered Species Act & Global Warming
Module 32 looks at the Endangered Species Act; causes of species extinction; greenhouse warming and the consequences to the GYE; and the federal agencies that manage the ecosystem and the federal lands found within the GYE.
Supplement 32.1: Cattle Grazing in the Ecosystem
This supplement to Module 32 discusses cattle grazing in the ecosystem and the challenges it presents to wolf and grizzly management.
Supplement 32.2: Methane
This second supplement to Module 32 considers an important wild card in greenhouse warming that is often neglected: methane.