In addition to teaching the courses below, Dr. Webb is also the Director of the URI Marine Biology Program.
Fall 2020 – BIO 593 – Sensory Ecology (see below)
Spring 2021 – BIO 412/512 – Evolution and Diversity of Fishes (see below)
BIO 412 Evolution and Diversity of Fishes (Spring 2021) – This course examines structural, functional and behavioral adaptations of fishes in the context of the patterns of their evolutionary diversification (fishes are the most speciose group of vertebrates, with 34,000+ spp.). The lab will be largely specimen-based, using fish collection materials and fresh material, where appropriate. Field trips (e.g., New England Aquarium, fish hatchery, fish trawl) may be included, as time allows. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to: 1) understand the basis for the taxonomic hierarchy, systematic placement (tree thinking), and adaptive trends among fishes, 2) discuss the ways in which various aspects of fish biology are investigated through lab and field studies, 3) identify fishes belonging to prominent marine and freshwater taxa, especially those from the New England area, and 4) critically evaluate primary journal papers in the fields of fish biology/ichthyology. BIO 412 and BIO 512 meet together, but BIO 512 (for graduate students) includes some addition work, generally in the form of a weekly paper discussion and/or a more extensive research paper.
BIO 491/492 – Independent Research (Fall/Spring) – by prior arrangement with Dr. Webb.
Bio 512 Evolution and Diversity of Fishes (Spring 2021; with Bio 412, see above).
BIO 593 Topics in Biological Sciences – Sensory Ecology (Fall 2020) – The study of sensory ecology integrates knowledge of sensory system structure and function with a consideration of the opportunities and constraints presented by the sensory environment in which behaviors are manifested. This course will take an integrative approach in order to explore the interaction of the structure and function of sensory systems, their behavioral roles, and the interaction of sensory structure and function and ecology, including the effects of global change. Each of the major sensory systems of vertebrates will be considered (vision, smell, taste, hearing, mechanoreception, electroreception) with reference to their structure and function. Then fundamental challenges and problems in sensory ecology will be considered through case studies published in the primary literature. This course is aimed at graduate students and advanced undergraduates who have interests in one or more of the following: neurobiology (anatomy, physiology, sensory biology, behavior), ecology and evolution.
BIO 593 Topics in Biological Sciences – Fish Development – The study of the early life history and ontogeny of fishes is fundamental to a wide range of research disciplines including ichthyology, biological oceanography, fisheries and aquaculture, developmental biology, evolution, and ecology. We explore the patterns, processes, and mechanisms of fish development and their behavioral and ecological correlates through both lectures and discussions of the original scientific literature. This course has three goals: 1) to explore classic approaches through a study of fish embryology, larval development, and metamorphosis, 2) to examine how fish model species (zebrafish, medaka, stickleback, blind cavefish, cichlids) have contributed to our understanding of fish development, 3) to understand the interaction between ontogeny and the behavior and ecology of fish larvae (e.g., ichthyoplankton). A lab or library project is required. While this course is aimed at graduate students, advanced undergraduates with appropriate background and/or interests are encouraged to take this course.
Other Courses Taught in the Past
BIO 360 Marine Biology – This course explores fundamentals of oceanography, the biology and diversity of marine organisms, and the patterns and processes that guide the ecological dynamics in various marine communities. Laboratory sessions and field trips provide students with opportunities to learn about organismal diversity and to carry out experiments using marine organisms. Students will complete writing assignments based on the original literature and lab assignments.