BIOL 206 (Fall)

Methods in Biology of Organisms

L. Lefebvre (Coordinator)        
(514) 398-6457
S. Bujold (Lab Coordinator)
(514) 398-6408
3 credits (1.5-3-4.5)
BIOL 111 or equivalent.

This course is designed to provide experience and training in the use of techniques important in organismal biology, and is normally taken in U1. It is organized in a series of 6 modules. Each module consists of an introductory lecture and one to two 3hr laboratory sessions.

  • Module 1: Biological variability and the problems of sampling. Techniques include sampling designs, descriptive statistics, collection of data in the field, use of software R for data manipulation, calculation and graphical display, interpretation of data. Field trip to Mount Royal.

  • Module 2: Experimental design using the effects of plant hormones on seed germination and seedling growth. Statistical tests (t-tests). Scientific reporting.

  • Module 3: Efficient use of library technology: MUSE, PERUSE, BIOSIS etc. Orientation to McGill library system, use of search software. Oral presentation.

  • Module 4:  Model Systems and Systematics: Dissections, species identification using traditional methods and molecular tools.

  • Module 5: Ecoinformatics and Citizen Science: Statistical tests, scientific reporting

  • Module 6: Experimental evolution: can evolution rescue declining populations?
Method & Evaluation:
Each module will be graded based on a written report, oral presentation or test appropriate to the module. In some modules there is also assessment of technical skills learned. The final grade for the course will be based on the accumulated grades for 6 modules. Modules are weighted for grading. There will be no final examination.
There is no textbook. The course manual, available online, summarizes both the theoretical base and the technical instructions needed for each module.

McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offences under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures (see for more information).

Last update: March 21, 2017