Vernal pools have served as model systems throughout much of biology, with their inhabitants yielding insights into the evolution of sex, metapopulation theory, endosymbiosis, endangered species conservation and more. In this course we explore ecology, evolution, and conservation through the lens of the ephemeral wetland microcosm. Each week we will examine case studies from the scientific literature, exploring the system from many different angles. A primary focus of the course will be on developing and defending scientific study designs. For their final project, students will complete an independent experimental study. During lab periods, we will pay weekly visits to ponds on campus. Prerequisite: a course in evolution, ecology, or statistics.