Course: Gateway to Ecology Evolution and Organismal Biology (BIOL 20200)

Semesters I have taught this course: Spring 2016-19, and Fall 2016

Course description:

How does biological diversity arise?  Where do species come from? How do they work? How do they adapt? How do they interact with one another and their environment? You will explore answers to these questions as we delve into the fields of ecology, behavior, physiology, and evolutionary biology. Our exploration will include lectures, discussions, in-class activities, laboratory exercises and reading articles from the scientific literature. In addition to learning about the major concepts in these fields, you will gain skills in experimental design and in finding and communicating biological information. These skills will serve you well as you engage in our upper level curriculum and prepare to undertake your Independent Study project.  

Recent syllabus: Ison_Bio202Syllabus_Spr2019

Course: Field Botany (BIOL 34000)

Semesters I have taught this course: Spring 2020

Course description:

Introduction to the principles of field botany and plant biology. Lecture topics will include floral biology and pollination, plant physiology, ethnobotany, and biogeography. Labs topics include floral and vegetative morphology, plant family characteristics, the use of keys, and basic collecting techniques. This course fulfills an upper-level course lab elective for the Biology major and an upper-level course elective for the Environmental Studies major (Conservation track).

Recent syllabus: Ison_Bio340Syllabus_Spr20

Check out the RWW Greenhouse website, created by 2020 Field Botany studentsRWW Greenhouse

Course: Population and Community Ecology (BIOL 35000)

Semesters I have taught this course: Fall 2016-17, 2019

Course description:

Ecology is the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environment. This course examines ecological principles as they apply to populations, communities, and ecosystems. These principles inform us about patterns and processes of the natural world and can provide us with insights into many of the environmental issues facing us today and in the future. Topics covered include population growth, competition, predation, community structure, nutrient cycling, and species diversity. Laboratory exercises emphasize experimental design and techniques used to investigate ecological questions.

Recent syllabus: Ison_Bio350Syllabus_Fa19

Course: Conservation Biology (BIOL 35600)

Semesters I have taught this course: Spring 2017-19

Course description:

Conservation Biology is an applied field of study within Biology focused on the conservation and protection of biodiversity. It synthesizes theories and principles from other fields (particularly Ecology, Population Biology, Genetics, Evolution, and Environmental Science) and applies them to current and future conservation issues. This course examines the theory, methods, and tools by which biologists attempt to understand and to protect biological habitats and their attendant natural populations of organisms. Topics include demographic and genetic conservation, invasive species, fragmentation and habitat loss, the design of nature reserves, management for conservation, and sustainable development within a conservation context.

Recent syllabus: Ison_Bio356Syllabus_Spr19

Course: Plant-Insect Interactions (BIOL 39904)

Semesters I have taught this course: Fall 2016 & 2019

Course description:

This course will focus on the evolution and ecology of plant-insect interactions in basic and applied contexts. Throughout the course, we will emphasize both content and skill knowledge through a combination of lectures, discussions, lab activities, and field trips. For both plants and insects, skills learned will include morphology, family characteristics, the use of keys and basic collecting techniques. We will explore major themes in the area of plant-insect interactions, including pollination biology, plant-herbivore interactions, plant carnivory, and agricultural pest management.

Recent syllabus: Ison&Sirot_Bio399Syllabus_Fa19

Courses: Independent Study (I.S.) 451 and 452

Semesters I have taught this course: Every semester since my arrival in Fall 2015

I.S. is the unifying experience for all College of Wooster students. Every College of Wooster student, designs, conducts, and writes-up an independent project. Students also present their I.S. research at a symposium and orally defend their work to a faculty panel. I view I.S. as a collaboration with me, your mentor, and also with other I.S. students in the lab. Overall, I have a structured but flexible, I.S. mentoring style. In the fall semester, we will have weekly whole-lab meetings where we discuss the successes and challenges or your I.S. project. I encourage you to use this time to work with your peers and build a strong cohort. We also have weekly individual meetings where we discuss your overall progress. To prepare for each meeting you will reflect on your last week’s work and think about your goals for the next week. I view the fall semester as the time when most of the data collection (if relevant) should take place. However, some field-based I.S. projects may require data collection during the summer. You will also start refining your writing process and will submit drafts of selected I.S. sections. In the spring, my lab typically holds ‘writing workshops’ where we meet as a lab for a few hours each week to write and discuss your I.S. During these workshops, I talk individually with each student and you are encouraged to support your peers.

Recent talk I gave at virtual Botany 2020 conference on my experience mentoring undergraduate research students: https://youtu.be/aU9WHeVsNMQ

Companion handout to the above talk with advice to new research mentors and research students from former students. PDF

Recent syllabus: Fall 2019 BIOL451 syllabus PDF