Carolyn Tepolt and I will be teaching a new course on Marine Adaptation in Spring 2019! The class will be offered to students in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program as a “Topics Course.” Topics Courses meet once per week and typically provide a mix of lecture and in-depth discussion of primary literature, kind of like a seminar course on steroids. They provide a lot of flexibility to our curriculum, as the subjects change each semester. This allows students and faculty to explore modern and emerging aspects of marine science and to match the curriculum with current research directions.
I’m excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Carolyn on this class. She joined our Scientific Staff in 2017 and is doing innovative work on evolution and adaptation by invasive species. We’ll draw from the new edition of the classic text “Biochemical Adaptation.” This most recent version, subtitled “Response to Environmental Challenges from Life’s Origins to the Anthropocene” has been substantially updated with a wealth of new examples, current understanding of underlying mechanisms, and an increased emphasis on responses to human impacts. I’ll sheepishly confess that I haven’t read the earlier version, so this will be a great opportunity for me to dig into the material. I’m really looking forward to reviewing pathways of energetic metabolism, and particularly plasticity within those pathways.
While we will draw from the text for some lectures, we’ll be more broadly framing the class to examine the adaptive patterns and processes that characterize the marine environment. That’s a big topic, and it’s a challenge to think about how to structure this exploration. I’ll be coming into the class fresh off an Antarctic cruise, so I’m also looking forward to talking about adaptations by polar organisms. Hopefully I’ll have some new thoughts on that topic!