New Class

Those of you taking this class better be ready to think on your feet; this is the first time through this course, and as such there will have to be some adjustments here and there. The goal is simple: explore evolutionary dynamics at a higher level than the intro courses you have taken before. That means, go deeper, understand more, apply what you know. In order to do that, we are going to consider a particular problem: climate change.

Climate change is not a hypothetical. It is happening, has happened, will happen. And all that means to a population, or species, is that the environment is changing. If you assume a population or species is static, you can make one type of prediction about what will happen. However, if you assume that population can evolve, then things get more interesting. Not necessarily more hopeful.

We are going to explore this problem in the world's oceans. First, because I am a marine biologist by training, and find it to be one of the most extraordinary habitats imaginable. Second, because the oceans are huge, and a huge part of the equation of how climate change plays out: the carbon cycle, water cycle, insolation, heat absorption, are all hinging on the massive surface and volume of seawater - and the organisms that live in it.

Finally, because you have to draw the line somewhere.

This is the first time through, and as such it is in a "temporary" spot: GENE 4840 is an advanced topics course in the Genetics Department at UGA; BIOL 4910 is an advanced topics course for Biology majors. I expect and encourage students from Biology, Genetics, Ecology, Marine Sciences, Warnell, and other disciplines to be interested, and in the future will consider making this a course cross-listed between my home departments, perhaps relaxing the prerequisites (GENE 3000, Intro Evolution, and/or GENE 3200, Intro Genetics).

For now, though, I appreciate you being ready to think. Because a lot of these questions won't have answers. Yet.