We have a mystery writer: someone handed in this lovely assignment on the zebra finch paper:

But there is no clue anywhere as to who is the author. If this is yours, please let us know. Tell Roz at

How good eats make sexy sons

Our final board meeting will take place this week, and to round off our taxonomic tour of sex, we’ll look at a study linking dietary fatty acids to male pheromones in a parasitic wasp. The paper is here. Be sure to bring your questions about the magazine article assignment, too!

Big assignment approaches!

Here are the slides from tutorial on the magazine article assignment, due in a couple of weeks on November 23rd. The papers, as well as detailed instructions, are here.

Voles on T

In tutorial this week: what happens when you mess with testosterone in bank voles. The paper is here. We’ll also talk about the upcoming magazine article assignment, so you won’t want to miss this one.

Test 2 on Friday

The test tomorrow will be in Biosci 1101 at 2:30.

Good luck!

No tutorials this week

We’ll have a break from the tutorials this week, to resume again the week of November 5. If you were one of the experts covering great tits, your short news report is due this week. Please arrange to hand that assignment in directly to your TA since you won’t see us in tutorial.

Don’t forget that your second test is coming up this Friday, November 2.

Great tits in tutorial this week

The third board meeting is coming up in tutorial this week. The paper, on personality and promiscuity in great tits, is here.

[insert sexy title here]

Don’t forget to add a flashy title to your short news report to hook the reader. While not officially required, it doesn’t hurt and can only help make it a more engaging read. Not to mention that it’s good practice for your longer magazine article, too.

Second board meeting coming up

In our next meeting (week of Oct. 15), we’ll be talking about sexual harassment in guppies. The paper is here.

Keep in mind that when you are on duty as an expert reporter, it’s up to you to make the discussion in tutorial productive. This is your chance to get feedback for how you will write your short news report.

Want help figuring out which results are the most important ones to convey? What about deciding which aspects of the background research are essential to include? Are there technical definitions that are crucial to explain? How will you do this clearly in your article?

Bring these issues up in tutorial. You could even come with an outline or a title and ask us for our feedback. We might have ideas – like an interesting angle to take – that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.


Happy Thanksgiving, see you next week…

A reminder that the tutorials start up the week after Thanksgiving. In the first board meeting, we’ll be rethinking oral contraception. The paper is here, be sure to read it and come armed with your questions and concerns for the expert reporters.

Board meetings… sign up sheets available

Here are the sign up sheets for the tutorial board meetings. The date you signed up for is also the date your mini-review is due (though you are welcome to hand it in earlier). Your short news report is due one week later.

If you have not signed up for a slot, contact your TA.

Mag article info posted

Instructions and paper selections for the big magazine article (due Nov 23) are up here.

More slides… and test 1 approaches

Slides from tutorial 2 are here.

And yes, test #1 will take place in class next Wed. Oct 4.

Papers for the board meetings

In tutorial 2, everyone will sign up for their week to be “expert reporter” covering one of the following 5 papers. Depending on which week you choose, you’ll have a different paper assigned. This paper will be basis of your mini-review (due in tutorial the week you sign up for) and short news report (due exactly one week later). You’ll also be guiding our discussion of the paper in the board meeting tutorial. Detailed instructions are here. Feel free to have a look at the papers below…

Continue reading

Intro tutorial slides

A few slides shown in tutorial 1 are here. Note that all of this appears elsewhere on this site.


Media debate + critique

Here is the paper for the media debate in tutorial 2: Vaillancourt and Sharma 2011

Your media critique is due in tutorial next week. More on the debate here, and instructions for the media critique here.

UPDATE: Wondering what counts as a media article?

Continue reading

Intro tutorial: let’s talk about sex

The first tutorial will take place during the week of Sept 17-21. We’ll get to know each other, talk about how the tutorials will work, and discuss these two readings:

2002 Gallup et al. Does semen have anti-depressant properties? Archives of Sexual Behavior. 31: 289-293.

2012 Barron and Brown. Let’s talk about sex. Nature. 488: 151-152.

Some questions to think about as you read the semen study: What is the basis for their hypothesis? Is it reasonable? Are the methods adequate? What about the way the authors present their results?

After you read the Barron and Brown commentary, take a look at some of the popular media coverage on semen study, such as:

Does anything stand out for you in the media coverage?

If you come across other links to relevant examples/articles for either of the readings, share them by posting a comment on this blog post or via Twitter (#biol210).


This website will be the main source for information about the weekly tutorials, which will start in week 2. Check this blog for updates.

Lecture notes will be available via the Queen’s Moodle site for BIOL 210.