Which genetic differences underline awesome diversity of animals? What is genetically shared and what is unique among evolutionary distant animals? How closely related are you to them? In this research-immersion course you will explore and analyze various organisms to better understand and appreciate biodiversity on anatomical, morphological, and genetic levels, tracing back animals’ evolutionary connections. You will apply evolutionary and molecular biology concepts, extract DNA from multiple species (sea urchins, abalone, worms, insects, fish, and yourself …), sequence genes critical for metabolism and adaptation, calculate mutation rates, and infer evolutionary distance between animals. This course is a mix of evolutionary biology, standard and advanced molecular biology / gene sequencing techniques, and bioinformatics analysis. Part of the course complements the ongoing research project in partnership with National Park Service, which utilizes environmental DNA (eDNA) methodology to better understand the adaptive mechanisms and responses to environmental stressors of Southern California endangered black abalone population. During the in-person course meeting, students will work in small teams in the lab to discuss concepts and primary scientific literature, design experiments, perform research, analyze the data, and prepare a scientific report. The course will conclude with the formal science seminar during which students will present their research in-person to a selected audience.
Course is available for 3 pre-college units.
Course Delivery: Hybrid (online + in-person)
Grade Level: Students must currently be in 10th–12th grade
Schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays
Tuesdays (4:30pm – 6:30pm PST); Synchronous online teaching
Thursdays (4:30pm – 6:30pm PST); In-person class meeting at the lab (San Diego Science Center. See location below)
4-6 hours of work required outside of lecture
Scholarship Opportunities: Click here (Application Deadline: 3pm PST on September 2nd, 2022. Students will be notified of their status by September 9th.)