Middlebury

 

Sallie Sheldon

Professor of Biology

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Phone: work802.443.5436
Office Hours: Summer: By appointment only.
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Salt marshes, lakes, streams, Isle Royal, the interior lakes on Newfoundland, North Atlantic, North Pacific and Arctic Oceans, I am interested in anything that lives in water.

In my lab we have done projects with various fish, macroalgae, freshwater plants, aquatic carnivorous plants, invertebrates, E. coli and moose. We developed a biological control for Eurasian watermilfoil. In this project Middlebury students worked out the life history of a native insect that has switched to instead eat the invasive plant.

A second extensive project is measuring the effects of “bottom up” control by addition of nitrogen and phosphorous to salt marshes creeks and “top down” control by removing the top carnivorous fish in the creeks in New England as part of project TIDE (http://www.mbl.edu/tide/). We are constantly amazed at the results, for example, we have not seen much effect on system algae, but the walls of the creeks are collapsing so it is hard to count.

After retraining in molecular biology, we are now looking at the population genetics of lamprey in Lake Champlain, and straightening out the taxonomy of the aquatic plant genus Najas. Questions include: Are some species of Najas rare and threatened and should be protected? Or are they invasive and need to be controlled?

Funding has come from the National Science Foundation, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USGS, and appreciated in house funding from Middlebury College.

 

Courses

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 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2013

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BIOL 0211 - Biostatistics      

Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis
Experimental design is one of the most important parts of doing science, but it is difficult to do well. How do you randomize mice? How many replicate petri plates should be inoculated? If I am measuring temperature in a forest, where do I put the thermometer? In this course students will design experiments across the sub-areas of biology. We will run student designed experiments, and then learn ways to analyze the data, and communicate the results. Students planning to do independent research are encouraged to take this course. (This course is not open to students who have taken MATH 0116 or PSYC 0201 or ECON 0210)

DED

Winter 2011, Winter 2012, Winter 2013

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BIOL 0304 - Aquatic Ecology      

Aquatic Ecology
This field course will introduce students to the freshwater aquatic ecosystems of the northeastern U.S., including lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands. We will explore the ecological processes that dominate these systems, the organisms that inhabit them, and the ecological techniques central to their study. Field exercises will include trips to many aquatic ecosystems in the region; experience with sampling techniques for measurement of physical, chemical, and biological features; and experimental design for answering questions about the relationships among species and between species and their environment. (BIOL 0140) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab.

CW SCI

Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014

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BIOL 0390 - Advanced Ecology      

Advanced Ecology
What determines the carrying capacity of a population? When a new species is introduced into a habitat, can we predict its effect? What regulates species in an area: a predator acting in a top down fashion, or plant biomass in a bottom up way? This course builds on the ideas presented in BIOL 0140 and deals in greater depth with population ecology, demography, life history strategies, species interactions, community structure, and dynamics. For each of these topics we will examine the mathematical models that have been developed to describe the systems. BIOL 0140, 3 hrs. lecture/computer lab.

SCI

Spring 2012

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BIOL 0430 - Invasive Species      

Invasive Species
Increasingly, species are being found in new locations. In some cases the new species have no demonstrable effect on the habitat. However, there are many cases where invasive species have changed entire ecosystems, such as the defoliation of an entire forest by gypsy moths. We will address the causes and consequences of species invasions by exploring the primary literature. Questions will include: Why are some introduced species invasive whereas others are not? What are the consequences for native species, and how may invasive species be controlled? (BIOL 0140; and one other 0200- or 0300- level biology course) 3 hrs sem.

SCI

Spring 2012

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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 participation in weekly meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and attending all Biology Department seminars. This course is not open to seniors; seniors should enroll in BIOL 0700, Senior Independent Study. (Approval required) 3 hrs. disc.

Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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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 participation in weekly meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and attending all Biology Department seminars. (Approval required; open only to seniors) 3 hrs. disc.

Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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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 participation in weekly meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and attending all Biology Department seminars. Open to Biology and joint Biology/Environmental Studies majors. (BIOL 0500 or BIOL 0700 or waiver; instructor approval required for all students) 3 hrs. disc

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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ENVS 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
A one- or two-semester research project on a topic that relates to the relationship between humans and the environment. The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty member with related expertise, must involve a significant amount of independent research and analysis. Students may enroll in ENVS 0500 no more than twice for a given project. (Approval only)

Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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ENVS 0700 - ES Senior Honors Work      

Senior Honors Work
The final semester of a multi-semester research project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. Students may enroll in ENVS 0700 only once. (Previous work would have been conducted as one or two semesters of an ENVS 0500 Independent Study project.) The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty member, will result in a substantial piece of writing, and will be presented to other ENVS faculty and students in a public forum. (Senior standing; ENVS 0112, ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215, GEOG 0120, and ENVS 0500; Approval only)

Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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FYSE 1160 - How We Know      

How We Know
The words "Scientists report…" preface many news stories. But we "know" these facts from the results of experiments. How we design experiments can predetermine the answers we get. For example, the 2000 U. S. Census was a head count, but a carefully designed sampling procedure would have given more accurate results. Or consider- how many tennis balls should we drop to determine which brand bounces highest? Will room temperature affect the results? In this course we will design and carry out experiments in both natural and social sciences, our writing will focus on crafting research lab reports. 3 hrs. lect/lab

CW DED

Fall 2010

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