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Population Biology Graduate Group

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Taveuni, Fiji. Photo courtesy of Chris Searcy.

Monte Carlo Seminars: PBG 298


Each student is expected to participate in the Monte Carlo seminars sponsored by the Center for Population Biology (CPB) and the Population Biology Graduate Group. First-year students must participate in at least two Monte Carlo seminars. After that, students must participate in at least one Monte Carlo per year.

Prior to the start of each quarter, the program graduate coordinator sends a call to CPB students and postdocs to sign up for the Monte Carlo. Based on the reply, participating graduate students and postdocs are assigned at random to one of two groups. Approximately three weeks prior to the start of the quarter, the two groups meet separately to discuss potential topics. Once the topic is agreed upon, each group approaches a Pop Bio faculty they want to facilitate the seminar. The graduate coordinator will provide each group with a list of available faculty for each quarter.  

Student Inspired Seminar

Effective Winter 2006: Upon recommendation by the CPB/PBGG student survey, students will now choose the topic of discussion and then approach a group-agreed-upon faculty (or two) to act as facilitator(s) for the student chosen topic. In the survey, students wanted to have more say in the Monte Carlo versus the past format where they were randomly assigned to a faculty participant.

"In my first couple years, it was a great way to meet older students that I would never have run into otherwise."

"What you have is eight people of all different backgrounds engaged in learning."

Seminar Topics


Seminar Topic Facilitator
Fall: "Darwinian agriculture: where does nature's wisdom lie?" by R. Ford Denison Jay Rosenheim
Fall: Should scientists be advocates, or rock stars, or should they stay in their ivory towers? Cathy Toft
Winter: The natural history of the Davis area: plants, insects, birds, mammals and herptiles. Louie Yang
Winter: Design an introduction to evolution course for non-majors. David Begun
Spring: Design an introduction to evolution course for non-majors (continued from winter quarter) David Begun
Spring: Readings and discussion of the niche - recent advances and historica approaches Sharon Strauss
Fall: Evolution in extreme environments. Artyom Kopp
Fall: "Your Inner Fish" by Neil Shubin David Begun
Winter: A review of various science blogs Gail Patricelli
Winter: Wierd science: a non-exhaustive catalog of the most bizarre characteristics of the world's organisms. Art Shaprio
Spring: The invasion of barbed goatgrass Aegilops triuncialis in California grasslands. Kevin Rice
Spring: Student and lab websites: learning html and website design Sebastian Schreiber
Fall: Metagenomics: Community shotgun sequencing and bacterial evolution. (Venter and Lenski) Jonathan Eisen
Fall: "The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin Peter Wainwright
Winter: Monterey Bay Aquarium and tidal pool field trip: Student presentations on related topics. Rick Grosberg
Winter: "Franken-lab: Students present their research ideas, solicit feedback for manuscripts, lead discussions of relevant papers related to their work. Rick Karban
Spring: Hot topics in evolution and ecology: weekly stories in popular media/dissecting the science behind them. Richard McElreath
Spring: McLaughlin Reserve, Arboretum, and other botanical locations: Student lead discussion on topical subjects followed by exploration of the habitat (focus on plants and their interactions with local biota). Susan Harrison
Spring: (Bodega Marine Lab students): "The Sushi Economy" by Sasha Issenberg along with accompanying papers on tuna ecology and fisheries biology. Eric Sanford
Fall: Vegetational transect of the Sierras (reading, discussion, and field trip) Art Shapiro
Fall: Intersection of conservation and evolutionary theory. Brad Shaffer, Truman Young, and Tim Caro
Winter: Marine phylogeography with an emphasis on dispersal of larval forms; included a field trip to Bodega harbor and tide pools. Eric Sanford
Winter: Peer review of current student research. Michael Turelli
Spring: A review of various science articles in different news media: Student review and discussion. Phil Ward
Spring: Student lead review of cutting edge research in their related fields. Jim Griesemer
Fall: Scientists as Advocates. Readings and discussion. Cathy Toft
Fall: Human Behavioral Ecology. Readings and discussion. Monique Borgerhoff-Mulder
Winter: Discussion of topics relating to dispersal. Kevin Rice, Mark Schwartz, Gerat Vermeij
Winter: Student presentation of current research. Sharon Lawler
Spring: "The Malay Archipelago" by Alfred Russell Wallace Tim Caro
Spring: Field trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium and tidal areas. Jay Stachowicz
Fall: "Life on a Young Plant" by Andres Knoll Jay Rosenheim
Fall: Fire Ecology. Review relevant papers with field trip to McLaughlin Reserve. Susan Harrison
Winter: "Evolution's Rainbow" by Joan Roughgarden Maureen Stanton
Winter: Topics related to dispersal. Peter Wainwright
Spring: Student presentation of their current research. Practice in public speaking and seminar organization. David Begun, Peter Wainwright
Spring: Peer review of their current research. Sergey Nuzhdin
Fall: Paleological and Ecological Approaches to understanding diversity. Gerat Vermeij
Fall: "Assembling California" by John McPhee Sharon Lawler
Winter: Student presentation of their current research. Susan Harrison
Winter: "Life Solution" by Simon Conway Morris. Discussion of convergent evolution to include outside papers. Artyom Kopp
Spring: Student presentation of their current research. Judy Stamps
Spring: Student presentation of their current research. Truman Young






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