BIO 215 Plants and People

Course Description:

We frequently encounter the plant kingdom in our daily lives- in food, shelter, textiles, medicines, drugs, and perfumes. In this course we will learn about the fascinating interactions between plants and humans. We will investigate how plants played an important role in the origins of civilization, and how plants may likely be the solution to serious global issues like hunger, malnutrition, and our current energy crises.

Topics will include:

  • Crop Domestication: How did we get the rice and wheat all humans now depend on?
  • The Evolution and Conservation of Genetic and Biological Diversity: Why is it important to conserve the Amazon forest before it disappears?
  • Biotechnology: Is it ethically acceptable to export a crop that we manipulated in the lab that we, Americans, are reluctant to consume?
  • Natural Dyes: how do we make blue jeans blue?
  • Biofuel Alternatives: Will we all be driving cars fueled by algae soon?