Hormones and Health

Discipline: Biology
Instructor: Rissman
Credits: 3
Day: C
Start: 0920
End: 1035
Field Work: Day 4 - Lisbon, Tuesday, 24 June | Portugal Download Syllabus

This course is designed for students with an introductory level background in biology. The first few lectures will be devoted to the basics of reproduction. We will cover puberty, adult reproductive function, pregnancy, lactation, development of male and female germ cells, hormones and feedback systems between the brain, pituitary and the gonads. A few examples of the contemporary topics we will cover are: 1) the biology of sex differences; 2) biological bases for homosexuality; 3) actions of man-made endocrine disrupting compounds; 4) how parenting shapes adult behavior and physiology. Each topic will start off with lectures and then we will move into group projects and presentations on a topic. Topics will be mutually decided on by the student and the instructor.

Field Work

Country: Portugal
Day: 4 - Lisbon, Tuesday, 24 June

We will spend the first several meetings on the ship preparing for our visit to the Jardim Zoologico, in Lisbon, Portugal.  The Zoo houses 2,000 animals from 330 species, many in natural habitats. It is designed to combine education and entertainment for the general public, and the scientific and humane treatment of animals. The Zoo is a member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA), and as such has participated in conservation and breeding of wild animals in conjunction with the European Endangered Species Program (EEP). Before the field lab, students will be reading papers on the basics of reproduction and this will give them background to understand the methods used in endangered species breeding.  We will also discuss animal observations and design data collection protocols. Dr. Costa, who is the educational director at the Zoo, will then take us on a tour of the endangered species breeding facilities and discuss their strategies, successes and issues. When we get back to the ship we will continue to discuss and research endangered species breeding programs and evaluate the strategies used.

 Academic Objectives: 1. Collect data from observation of animal behavior. 2. Understand the purpose of animal enrichment and reintroduction programs. 3. Understand and appreciate challenges of breeding endangered animals in captivity.