COVID-19 Updates: Fall Semester

Helen Young

Professor Emerita of Biology

 

I am a field biologist interested in plant reproductive biology, pollination biology, and the conservation of native bee pollinators.

My studies of plant-pollinator interactions examine how floral traits affect pollinator behavior, which, in turn, influence plant reproductive success. In Vermont, I have worked extensively with jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) and its pollinators. This system is also characterized by nectar-robbers (bees that remove nectar from flowers without pollinating them), which has led to my investigating the causes and consequences of robbing. In addition, I am examining the effect of habitat fragmentation on bumblebee pollinators in Addison County. In this project, I am examining what features of the landscape are associated with bumblebee abundance with an eye toward conservation of these landscape features to maintain healthy and diverse pollinator communities.

My recent thesis students have examined the effects of mycorrhizal diversity on oak seedlings, why bees forage in the upward direction on inflorescences, and details of the different genetic models of captive breeding programs.

 

Courses

Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

BIOL 0140 - Ecology and Evolution      

Ecology and Evolution
In this introduction to ecology and evolutionary biology we will cover the topics of interspecific interactions (competition, predation, mutualism), demography and life-history patterns, succession and disturbance in natural communities, species diversity, stability and complexity, causes of evolutionary change, speciation, phylogenetic reconstruction, and population genetics. The laboratory component will examine lecture topics in detail (such as measuring the evolutionary response of bacteria, adaptations of stream invertebrates to life in moving water, invasive species and their patterns of spread). We will emphasize experimental design, data collection in the field and in the laboratory, data analysis, and writing skills. This course is not open to seniors and second semester juniors in the Fall. 3 hrs. lect./disc./3 hrs. lab DED SCI

Spring 2018

More Information »

BIOL 0203 - Biology of Plants      

Biology of Plants
An introduction to plants, their life cycles, and their relationships to each other, as well as to the animals that pollinate them, disperse their fruits, and eat them. We will discuss morphology, physiology, evolution, and natural history of plants (mosses, ferns, gymnosperms, angiosperms). The laboratory will emphasize plant identification, various aspects of plant ecology and physiology, plant morphology, and plant use by humans. Students will complete a Community Service component, such as completing a forest inventory for a local forest, assisting with the campus tree map, or help with seed-saving measures at the College Organic Garden. Field trips will be the norm early in the semester. (BIOL 0140 and BIOL 0145) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab SCI

Fall 2016

More Information »

BIOL 0395 - Advanced Evolution      

Advanced Evolution
This course will examine in depth many special topics in evolutionary biology: genetic variation in natural populations, field and laboratory investigations of natural selection, special problems of small populations, evolution at the molecular level, sexual selection, evolution of senescence, and population genetics. Current theories will be explored through readings of primary literature and the textbook. Each student will conduct an independent research project on a topic of their choosing. (BIOL 0140 and BIOL 0145) 3 hrs. lect./disc. SCI

Fall 2016

More Information »

BIOL 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
In this course students complete individual projects involving laboratory and/or field research or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and a faculty advisor. Prior to registering for BIOL 0500, a student must have discussed and agreed upon a project topic with a member of the Biology Department faculty. Additional requirements include attendance at all Biology Department seminars and participation in any scheduled meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and lab groups. This course is not open to seniors; seniors should enroll in BIOL 0700, Senior Independent Study. (BIOL 0211. Approval required) 3 hrs. disc.

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018

More Information »

BIOL 0700 - Senior Independent Study      

Senior Independent Study
In this course students complete individual projects involving laboratory and/or field research or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and a faculty advisor. Prior to registering for BIOL 0700, a student must have discussed and agreed upon a project topic with a member of the Biology Department faculty. Additional requirements include attendance at all Biology Department seminars and participation in any scheduled meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and lab groups. (BIOL 0211. Approval required; open only to seniors) 3 hrs. disc.

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018

More Information »

BIOL 0701 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
Seniors majoring in Biology who have completed one or more semesters of BIOL 0500 or BIOL 0700 and who plan to complete a thesis should register for BIOL 0701. In this course students will produce a written thesis, deliver a public presentation of the research on which it is based, and present an oral defense of the thesis before a committee of at least three faculty members. Additional requirements include attendance at all Biology Department seminars and participation in any scheduled meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and lab groups. Open to Biology and joint Biology/Environmental Studies majors. (BIOL 0211 and BIOL 0500 or BIOL 0700 or waiver; instructor approval required for all students) 3 hrs. disc

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018

More Information »

INTD 0210 / EDST 0210 - Sophomore Seminar/Liberal Arts      

Sophomore Seminar in the Liberal Arts
The current pandemic, and all the questions it brings to the fore about what we value in a college experience, make this an ideal moment to consider the meaning and purpose of your liberal arts education. At the heart of this exploration will be a question posed by physicist Arthur Zajonc: “How do we find our own authentic way to an undivided life where meaning and purpose are tightly interwoven with intellect and action, where compassion and care are infused with insight and knowledge?” We will examine how, at this pivotal moment of decision making, you can understand your college career as an act of “cultivating humanity” and how you can meaningfully challenge yourself to take ownership of your intellectual and personal development. Through interdisciplinary and multicultural exploration, drawing from education studies and philosophical, religious, and literary texts, we will engage our course questions by way of student-led discussion, written reflection, and personal, experiential learning practices. In this way we will examine how a liberal arts education might foster the cultivation of an ‘undivided’ life, “the good life”, a life well-lived. (The course is open to sophomores and second semester first-year students. Juniors by permission only.) CMP

Fall 2017

More Information »

Selected Publications

*Indicates a Middlebury College student

Young, H.J. 2008. Selection on spur shape in Impatiens capensis. Oecologia 156:535-543.

Young, H.J., D.W. Dunning*, K.W. von Hasseln*. 2007. Foraging behavior affects pollen removal and deposition in Impatiens capensis
(Balsaminacaeae). American Journal of Botany 94(7):1267-1271

Young, H.J. and T.P. Young. 2003. A hands-on exercise to demonstrate evolution by natural selection and genetic drift.  American Biology Teacher 65(2): 458-462.

Young, H.J. and L. Gravitz. 2002. The effects of stigmatic age on receptivity in Silene latifolia (Caryophyllaceae).  American Journal of Botany 89(8): 1237-1241.

Young, H.J. 2002. Diurnal and nocturnal pollination of Silene latifolia (Caryophyllaceae).  American Journal of Botany 89(3): 433-440.

Department of Biology

McCardell Bicentennial Hall
276 Bicentennial Way
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753