This two-semester introductory laboratory experience focuses on the biology of bacteriophage, important players in microbial ecosystems. In collaboration with laboratories around the country, you will be involved in the discovery, isolation, characterization and description of previously unknown bacteriophages. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria. Crucial to the "horizontal" transfer of genetic information, they have shaped the evolution of bacterial physiology and bacterial genomes. The first semester will focus on the isolation, purification and characterization of naturally-occurring phages in local soil environments. In the second semester, we obtain the full sequence of our selected phage genome, and will be responsible for exploring, annotating, and distributing this information to the scientific community. Can be taken as an alternative to Bio 151 and Bio 153. Prerequisite: Bio 150 and/or Bio 152 (normally taken concurrently). Enrollment limited to 18.