Maria Abate Teaching at Boston University and Beyond


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Boston University Courses

NS 201 Biological Science I: Evolution and Biodiversity begins with an introduction to the characteristics of life and the unifying concept in biology — organic evolution. Once evolution is introduced, the course takes a historical approach to a thorough examination of pre-Darwinian models and the Darwinian paradigm. Cellular reproduction and classical genetics are also examined since they directly support evolutionary theory. This unit on evolution culminates with an examination of the modern synthesis of evolutionary ideas. Next, the course examines the result of evolution—the diversity of life on Earth. This investigation of organismal diversity leads to the question of how life on Earth originated. Alternative theories of the origin of life are considered with particular emphasis on chemical evolution, which culminated in the origin of the smallest unit of life — the cell. Study of the chemistry of life completes the first semester. A weekly laboratory examines lecture topics in more depth.

NS 202 Biological Science II: Cellular Basis of Life, Ecology concentrates on the cell as the basic structural and functional unit of life. Students examine the functional morphology and biochemistry of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. The importance of the evolution of biochemical pathways and their implications for extant life forms is stressed. The course also examines advances in modern molecular biology and explores both scientific and sociological concerns raised by such developments as recombinant DNA technology and the human genome project. Finally, modern theories of ecology, ecosystem dynamics, and organismal associations are explored. This solid foundation in ecology allows a serious consideration of the technological impact of humans on the delicately balanced ecosystems of Earth. The interrelationship between science and society that has been explored throughout the year leads to the Capstone Project, which concludes the sophomore year. A weekly laboratory examines lecture topics in more depth.

NS 212 Directed Study: Student pursues independent research including interdisciplinary topics for a semester. 

BI  391/392/491/492: Undergraduate Research in Biology.  Research in biological science. Students design and implement a research project for a semester.


Other Courses:

In October 2008, I was invited to Nicaragua by Duke University’s Organization of Tropical Studies to teach in their Tropical Ecology Program.  We explored the fish fauna in the Rio Bartola in the southeast corner of the country.


Previous Years:

Behavioral Ecology

Experimental Biology

Evolutionary Ecology


Introduction to Ecology

Marine Biology

Marine and Coastal Ecology

Tropical Ecology


I developed many of the laboratories for these courses.  See the Journal of Biological Education 39(2), pages 81-86 for some of my ideas for testing the adaptive significance of fish territoriality. Contact me for reprint.


Dr. Kari Lavalli and I hosted the Boston Area Behavior Club, a seminar series at Boston University that students regularly attended to learn about the latest research concerning the biology, ecology and evolution of behavior from scientists in the Boston area.




Research Interests and Collaborations

Undergraduate Research Program:  People

Undergraduate Research Program:  Research

EEEF Conference

Lab News



Send an email to Maria Abate