Associate Professor of Biology
Joined Connecticut College: 1985
B.S., Xavier University; Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Evolution of complex quantitative traits
"In my teaching I try to emphasize the nature of the scientific process. Thus students in my genetics course learn how to collect, to analyze (using statistics where appropriate) and to interpret genetic data of a variety of types through laboratory experiments. The emphasis is on the process, not getting the supposedly one right answer. Similarly, in my evolution course, the emphasis is on understanding how evolution occurs through genetic change, not just describing what evolution has produced. In my courses, students learn the latest computer and data base search techniques to access library and research information, both within the institution and over the web. And like all of my colleagues in the Biology and other science departments, I encourage students to participate in my research program through original research projects, either during the summer or the academic year. The best way to learn how the scientific process works is to collect, to analyze and to interpret new data on an original, novel research question." - Phil Barnes
Professor Barnes is interested in the genetics and evolution of complex quantitative traits, such as flight in insects. Such traits involve multiple morphological and physiological components of the organism. He is particularly interested in the interaction between genotype and environment in determining the individual's adaptation to the environment in which it is reared, its ability to acclimate to new environments and the evolutionary consequences of such genotype-by-environment interaction for a population.
He is also currently involved in a long-term study on the genetics of flower color variation in naturally reproducing populations of jack-in-the-pulpits in collaboration with the Director of the Connecticut College Arboretum, Glenn Dreyer.
Professor Barnes teaches: General Education 101, General Education Tutorial Biology, 101 - General Biology; Biology 112 - General Biology; Biology 206 - Genetics; Biology 494 - Advanced Seminar in Biology; Biology 221 - Evolution.
In the realm of curriculum development, Professor Barnes has been a faculty participant in the development and pilot project of the General Education Tutorial, and has enhanced interactivity and learning in genetics labs through incorporation of laptop computers. His students use laptops in labs to collect, analyze and graph data as it is collected through the use of spreadsheet, statistical and graphics programs. They can confer with each other and with the faculty member as they work on their analysis and/or encounter problems. Students can also connect to campus network and the College website to access genetics simulations and to use genetics CD roms for enhanced study and review. Computers can also be checked out by students for use in residence hall rooms during non-lab hours, as all dorm rooms have wireless connection to the Internet and campus network.
He and student Jazlen Samboy '08 presented a poster, "Partial behavioral isolation between DDT-resistant populations and their unselected control populations under long-term selection and isolation in Drosophila melanogaster," at the American Genetic Association Annual Symposium in 2008.
Barnes is a member of the American Genetic Association, American Society of Naturalists, the European Society for Evolutionary Biology, Genetics Society of America, National Center for Science Education, Society for the Study of Evolution and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.