12 hours of me: Slideshows w/ audio from "BIS2C: Biodiversity & the Tree of Life" at #UCDavis

Well, it has taken a few months of processing but I have finally gotten my lectures from the introductory biology course I teach uploaded in some way to share.  The course is “BIS2C: Biodiversity and the Tree of Life” and it is the third quarter of a three quarter introductory biology series at UC Davis.  Each year some 2300 or so students take this series which means that we at UC Davis have to offer each of the courses (BIS2A, BIS2B, and BIS2C) each quarter.   Every fall I co-teach BIS2C.  Alas we do not have a lecture hall big enough for 700 students, so we do the course in two sections.  The way we teach it each of the faculty double up and teach their part of the course to each section.  The course also has a weekly lab.  It is a machine of sorts.

This fall I taught 13 lectures for the course.  I covered basically phylogenetic methods, the big picture of the tree of life, and microbial diversity.  I used the Apple presentation program Keynote for slides for my lectures and I used the “Record Slideshow” option to record audio in synch with the slides.  After a bit of pain, I managed to convert these recordings into video and then posted them to Youtube.  And today I am sharing them with you.  There are imperfections of course.  But I thought some might find them useful.  Plus I have made a YouTube playlist for all the lectures if you want to just sit down and enjoy 12 hours or so of me.  Now if only Youtube would allow me to change the thumbnail image for each lecture …  Plus I note – next year I will be doing much more interactive learning in class so this may be the last record of some of these lectures …

Lecture 1: Introduction to Course and the Tree of Life

Lecture 2: Trees, Taxa and Groups

Lecture 3: Characters

Lecture 4: Phylogenetic Inference

Lecture 5: Phylogenetic Inference

Lecture 6: The Tree of Life

Lecture 7: The Three Domains

Lecture 8: Three Domains and Microbial Diversity

Lecture 9: Microbial Diversity

Lecture 10: Endosymbioses and Lateral Gene Transfer

Lecture 11: Endosymbioses and Lateral Gene Transfer

Lecture 12: Extremophiles

Lecture 13: Human Associated Microbes

BIS002C "Biodiversity & the tree of life" Lecture2&3 more on phylogeny & trees

Well, tomorrow is going to be a bit crazy for me.  I teach four lectures tomorrow for “BIS002C – Biodiversity and the Tree of Life” and UC Davis.  Well, actually, I do each of two lectures twice.  This happens for two reasons.  First, there are two sections for the class and the way we do it, each faculty gives each lecture for which they are responsible twice.  Second, on Mondays, we do two lectures for each section.  In total there are four lectures per week and our schedule is as follows

Section A:  MWF 11-12 M 6-7
Section B: MWF 3-4 M 7-8

So tomorrow at 11 AM I give Lecture 2 for the class to Section A.  Then at 3 PM I give Lecture 2 to Section B.  Then at 6 PM I give Lecture 3 to Section A.  Then at 7 PM I give Lecture 3 to Section B.  Well, enough trying to make it seem like I am working hard.  Especially after PZ Myers gave me a little grief about this on twitter since, well, my teaching load is not actually that big compared to many.

Anyway – back to the class.  I am going to be posting about the class here as much as I can.  To give people an idea of the whole course this is the general highly simplified schema:

Lectures 1-5 Phylogeny (me)
Lectures 6-13 Microbes (Bacteria, Archaea, microbial euks) (me)
Lectures 14-21 Plants and relatives (Jim Doyle)
Lectures 22-24 Fungi  (Jim Doyle)
Lectures 25-36 Metazoa (Susan Keen)
Lectures 37-38 Wrap up, symbioses, etc (Susan Keen)

I do Lectures 1-13 and possibly 37-38.

For the first week or so I am introducing the students to various aspects of phylogeny and phylogenetic trees.  We do this in part because the rest of the class is oriented around using phylogenies and phylogenetic trees so it is important that the students really understand them.

To that end, tomorrow here is the plan:

Lecture 2 will focus on (a) the components of a phylogenetic tree and what they mean plus (b) taxa and groups in trees.  Among the topics we will cover are rooted trees, rotating trees (e.g., vertical vs. horizontal), rotating branches in trees, monophyletic groups/clades, non monophyletic groupings, outgroups vs. ingroups and more.  Oh in addition we will show the awesome Tree of Life movie that we did not get to on Friday. See below

Lecture 3 will then focus on characters and on tracing character evolution on trees.  Among the topics we will cover include traits vs states, homology, ancestral vs. derived, synapomorphies, and the many faces of homoplasy.  Am planning to start posting slides from the class after lecture hopefully starting soon.  But I keep refining them so not going to post before I am close to done ….

Any comments or suggestions welcome …

BIS002C "Biodiversity & the tree of life" Lecture 1 tomorrow: Intro to phylogeny; #UCDavis

Well, tomorrow begins some serious craziness here at UC Davis for me.  School started today for the Fall Quarter here and tomorrow a class I am co-teaching (with Jim Doyle and Susan Keen) has its first lecture.  The course is labelled BIS002 C “Introduction to Biology”.  It is the third class in a three course/three quarter series.  BIS 002A covers molecular and cellular biology, genetics and related topics (just lecture).  BIS 002B covers the principles of ecology and evolution (with a lab).  And BIS 002C covers “Biodiversity and the Tree of Life” (also with a lab).

A few things to note.  First, each of these courses has to get taught each quarter here, since so many students major in or do something related to life sciences here at Davis.  And on top of this, each course has some 6-700 students (or more).  Alas, since we do not have a lecture hall big enough for this number of students, we have to give each lecture twice.  This means that, for BIS 002C which I only teach a little over a third of, I end up giving 24 lectures over three weeks (2 sections x 4 lectures per week per section = 8 lectures / week).  It is a bit crazy shall we say.  But fun too.  In total, some 2500+ students go through the series per year.

So, tomorrow it begins for me for 3+ weeks of intensity.  But I look forward to it I guess each year since the topics I cover I hold near and dear to my heart.  For the first week of the class, I will introduce the students to phylogeny (what is it, what are phylogenetic trees, how do we infer them, how do we use them).  Then I spend two whole weeks discussing microbial diversity – phylogenetic and functional.  I view this as a privilege in many ways as it is somewhat unusual for 8 lectures to be used in an introductory course on microbial diversity.

Anyway, I will be posting here some comments and details about the class and I thought I would give this tiny introduction.  Tomorrow we will spend some time introducing the course and discussing practical details and then I will get 20-30 minutes to introduce students to phylogenetic trees.  The whole series currently uses as a textbook “Life: The Science of Biology, 8th Edition” by Sadava et al (we are switching over to the 9th edition but not for this quarter) and for class I try to use as many figures from the text as possible.  But I also mix in my own here and there.

Here is an outline for tomorrow after the course intro

1. Introduction to biodiversity of life
2. Discussion of phylogeny
   * Definition
   * Show a few trees
3. Discuss how trees are oversimplifications of true evolutionary history but are useful
   * Populations not shown
   * Not all lineages shown
   * Complication of reticulation/gene transfer
4. Describe different components to a tree
5. Walk through the course outline using a tree of life as a guide
6. 3-4 examples of uses of phylogenetic trees
7. If time permits show a little movie (see below)