Courses Taught by Dr. Patrick at Texas A&M, Corpus Christi
- BIOL 4590 Biostatistics
This is a new course offering for undergraduate biology majors. The emphasis of the class is to give students the skills and tools to think through basic experimental design, perform analyses, and interpret results. The course is divided into 3 sections. In section one, we revisit probability and distributions, review deterministic model forms used in statistical modeling, talk about causality, and learn to use the programming language R. In section two, we cover linear models starting with simple linear regression, the multiple linear regression, and moving through a selection of more advanced themes including trouble shooting, transformations, generalized linear modeling and logistic regression. In section three, we conclude by exploring different types tests for categorical situations (t-test, ANOVA, ANCOVA, Chi-Square) and bringing together the different themes into a philosophy of data analysis and interpretation. The emphasis of the course is on concept, synthesis, and tools rather than rote memorization. Students will be expected to answer integrative questions on exams covering new situations they have not seen before by applying principles and concepts covered in lectures.
- MARB 6102 Science Communication This is a new course offering for MARB and CMSS graduate students. The class trains students in all forms of scientific communication with a special emphasis on grantsmanship and oral communication. Grantsmanship, the skill of developing and writing grant proposals, is an important part of this process that differs fundamentally from writing peer reviewed manuscripts or technical reports. Proposals must capture the reader’s interest, sell the ideas of the author, and be compelling enough to justify funding at the expense of other competing proposals. This format, selling ones ideas, requires a different strategy than simply reporting the facts. In the first part of the course students will develop their grant writing skills by reading instructional material on how to write proposals, identifying funding targets, reading and critiquing real proposals on a variety of topics, and engaging in discussion with peers. Then students will begin writing a new grant proposal on a topic of their choice aimed at a target of their choice that will be subject to peer review and then turned in at the end of the semester. Students will be encouraged to also submit these proposals to real funding agencies.
Modern researchers have a responsibility perform high quality research and to communicate that research. Oral communication is a cornerstone of that work and conference presentations play an important role in disseminating knowledge to colleagues and potential collaborators. In the second part of the class students will hone their communication skills through directed readings, discussions, and interactive activities and assignments, culminating with a class symposium where students present their research in a public forum. Topics covered will include the basic presentation style, the art of distilling a message into a narrative using the Hegelian triad, the pros and cons of IMRAD, and techniques for communicating with non-scientific audiences.
- BIOL 5409 Field and Sampling Techniques - MarineGEO
This four week course is offered in Summer I and covers the basics of marine and estuarine field and laboratory research. Built around MarineGEO, a global research program managed by the Smithsonian Institutions, students will learn to conduct a marine ecology field campaign, collect and preserve a suite of sample types, process the samples in the laboratory, and organize and analyze the data in small groups. Fieldwork is conducted from boats and in wadeable areas of Oso Bay, the Mission Aransas NERR, and the Laguna Madre near the TAMUCC Field Station. Sampling procedures covered includes benthic cores, seagrass sampling (quadrats, epifauna, shoot density, fouling load), oyster habitat assessment, nekton sampling (seining, throw traps, otter trawl), water chemistry, and measuring ecosystem processes including predation rates and colonization rates. All of the data collected will be QA/QC’d and contributed to the Smithsonian Tenembaum Marine Observatory Network’s global marine biodiversity database.