Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.
Chair, 2008-09: Anne Walter, cell and animal physiology, membrane biophysics, neuroscience
Faculty, 2008-09: Diane Angell, animal ecology, animal behavior, environmental health and conservation; Eugene Bakko, vertebrate biology, agriculture, restoration ecology; Eric Cole, developmental biology, cell biology and genetics, microscopy; Kevin Crisp, neurobiology, animal behavior, human biology; Steven Freedberg, bioinformatics, evolutionary ecology; Sara Fruehling, molecular microbiology; John Giannini, plant physiology, membrane transport deer migration and wildflowers; Ted Johnson, microbiology, aging, cancer and immunity; Kimberly Kandl, molecular biology and genetics, cytoskeleton function in yeast; Henry Kermott, zoology, animal behavior; Jean Porterfield, molecular systematics, fish phylogeny; Patrick Quint, cancer biology, proteomics; John Schade, biology, environmental studies, biogeochemistry, ecology; Kathleen Shea, plant evolutionary ecology, restoration ecology, conservation; Mike Swift, aquatic ecology, physiological ecology, toxicology; Charles Umbanhowar, botany/ecology, disturbance ecology of prairies, paleoecology; David Van Wylen, anatomy and physiology, cardiac physiology, myocardial ischemia
From the molecules that are the building blocks of life to the complex interactions between living beings and their environments, biology continues to fascinate the human mind. The Biology Department offers a diverse array of courses and experiences that present fundamental biological principles and processes within the context of being informed, responsible, and compassionate citizens. It provides a broad range of learning opportunities through its course offerings, laboratories, independent study/research, internships and off-campus study programs at sites including South India, the desert southwest, Costa Rica, Australia, Bahamas, Galapagos Islands, and Northern Minnesota. Woven into all learning opportunities are hands-on experiences with modern equipment that stimulate critical and independent thinking.
For science majors, the Biology Department offers an exciting slate of challenging and rewarding courses. For the less science-oriented student, it seeks to stimulate natural curiosity about how our bodies work spanning the entire range of biological topics and how humans interact with their surroundings by providing several courses designed primarily for non-science majors. These courses, which satisfy the Studies in Natural Sciences requirement of the general education curriculum, focus on current biological issues and general interest topics in biology.
OVERVIEW OF THE MAJOR
The ever-broadening nature of biology requires diversely trained and inquisitive biologists. The biology major has the dual mission of introducing students to the information and technological tools of various disciplines of biology while instilling the confidence to critically assess a biological phenomenon and to design and carry out an appropriate research program. To that end, the biology major provides the necessary content and instrument training while students practice the art of scientific inquiry. Opportunities for interdisciplinary work abound. Biology majors are encouraged to participate in research with faculty, off-campus programs in biology, in departmental seminars and social activities.
INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR THE MAJOR
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR
Students majoring in biology complete eight biology courses and a year of chemistry (Chemistry 121, 123, 126, or 125, 126). The integrated chemistry-biology sequence (Chemistry/Biology 125, 126, 127) may be taken in lieu of Biology 125, Chemistry 125 and 126. The eight Biology courses must include: four core courses that emphasize cell/molecular biology (Biology 125 or Chemistry/Biology 125-127), biodiversity and evolution (Biology 126), genetics (Biology 233), and ecology (Biology 261); one course that focuses on a group of multicellular organisms (Biology 242, 247, 248, 251, 252, or 266); one Level III Biology course; two elective biology courses. (In general, completion of at least two Level II courses are required to take a level III course.) Only one Independent Study (Biology 298) or Independent Research (Biology 398) can count toward the major; internships (Biology 294 or 394) do not count toward the major. Biology 294 and 394 can only be taken P/N.
In addition to courses designated as biology, the following courses can count as biology electives: Biochemistry (Chemistry 379), Conservation Biology (Environmental Studies 125), Introduction to Neuroscience (Neuroscience 234) or Biopsychology (Psychology 238), Physiology of Exercise (Physical Education 375), and Human Neuropsychology (Psychology 385) or other courses as approved by petition to the department. For two of these courses to count, they must be from different departments or programs. No more than three Level I biology courses, including Biology 125 and 126, can count toward the major. Only Biology Department courses (including Independent Research) may count toward the Level III requirement.
Students wishing to count for the major a course taken abroad or at another institution must consult with the chair before taking the class.
While programs leading to graduate work are planned on an individual basis, most programs require students to have two or more quantitative courses (mathematics, statistics, or computer science), two courses in physics, and at least four courses in chemistry.
Students intending to enter graduate or professional school are encouraged to consult with the biology faculty to plan a course of study appropriate for the postgraduate program. Students pursuing a secondary school Science Education Teaching License with a Life Science Specialty must complete the biology major including Biology 123 or 243 as one of their electives. Additional courses are required as specified by the Education Department. Interested students should consult faculty in the Education Department.
The prerequisite for Microbiology (Biology 231) and Human Anatomy and Physiology (Biology 243) is Biology 125 or Chemistry/Biology 125-127. Genetics (Biology 233) requires Biology 125 and completion or concurrent enrollment in Chemistry 125 or Chemistry/Biology 125-127. All other Level II courses have prerequisites of Biology 125 or Chemistry/Biology 125-127 and Biology 126.
The Biology Department honors a limited number of graduating majors with distinction in biology. Each spring the faculty reviews those eligible for distinction and chooses students who best fulfill departmental ideals of excellence, creativity, and interest in biology. Information about the criteria considered in conferring distinction is available in the Biology Department Office.
Research opportunities are central to the teaching mission of the Biology Department. In addition to Independent Research (Biology 398) and project-based courses, each summer the Biology Department awards several paid research positions to students interested in working with faculty on current research projects. These 10-week positions, supported by outside funding, offer excellent opportunities in both lab and field research. Topics - Research (Bio 291) is a quarter credit opportunity for a journal club or other exploratory course offered at student request and the professor's discretion.
The Biology Department offers many opportunities for off-campus study. Two semester-long programs, Biology in South India (offered every fall) and Environmental Science in Australia (offered alternating Spring Semesters), are of particular interest to biology students. Other semester/summer programs are available through affiliated institutions or programs (e.g., ACM Oak Ridge Science Semester, ACM Tropical Field Research, Coe College Wilderness Field Station, Denmark’s International Studies Program). In addition, each Interim several off-campus biology courses are offered. Off-campus Interim courses may include Desert Biology (Arizona), Winter Ecology (Northern Minnesota), Island Biology (Bahamas), Tropical Ecology (Costa Rica), Cardiac Physiology (Atlanta), Equatorial Biology (Ecuador, Galapagos Islands) and Peruvian Medical Experience (Peru). Students interested in off-campus biology courses should consult the International and Domestic Off-Campus Studies Office.
Several concentrations are offered that interface extensively with the Biology Department: biomedical studies, biomolecular science, environmental studies, neuroscience, and statistics. Students interested in these concentrations should consult their respective descriptions in this catalog.
This biology course emphasizes learning strategies and critical thinking skills as applied to the curriculum of Biology 125. Objectives of the course are met through additional readings, problem sets, brief written assignments, introduction of discipline-specific writing styles, projects (including individual and/or group oral presentation), and library research. Assignments include new content that complements introductory biology. Offered annually. Prerequisites: concurrent enrollment in Biology 125 and permission of instructor.
Contemporary biological issues related to health and the environment are explored, with the goal of fostering informed citizens prepared for current biological debates. Students learn the relevant biological principles in lecture and lab followed by appropriate lab or field research. Specific topics vary from year to year and may include emerging diseases, cardiovascular health, genetics, specific groups of organisms, behavior, and environmental dynamics. The course includes lectures plus one 2-hour laboratory per week.
This course offers non-majors a chance to explore biology within the laboratory and in the field. It offers a thoughtful, reflective experience as students examine the process of science as a way of relating to mystery and phenomena of nature such as fertilization, embryogenesis, evolution, and ecology against the backdrop of modern culture.
Contemporary issues in human biology direct the study of how our bodies work. This knowledge is relevant to the decisions required in daily living. Specific topics vary, but may include nutrition, cancer, immune responses, exercise, and reproduction. Learning in this course utilizes lecture, discussion, and laboratory formats. The course includes lectures plus one 2-hour laboratory per week. Offered annually.
Issues of women's biology including views of the evolving female and biological determinism are examined. Core material covers anatomy, development, the biological basis of gender, reproduction, sexual response, the menstrual cycle and aging, and aspects of women's health such as eating disorders, cancers, and hormonal treatments. Students participate in significant amounts of group work and oral presentation. The course is open to both men and women. Offered during Interim.
This foundation course explores major principles of cellular and molecular biology and is a prerequisite for all Level II biology courses. Emphases include the structural and chemical composition of cells, crucial metabolic pathways, fundamentals of cell division, basic genetics, and the scientific method. Materials integrate concepts with problem-solving. Students are introduced to state-of-the-art library search technologies and scientific writing. Students attend lectures plus one 2.5-hour laboratory per week. Offered Fall Semester and during Interim.
This course introduces chemical concepts that are important for students pursuing a study of chemistry or biology. Topics include atomic structure, the Periodic Table, bonding interactions within and between particles, water and its solutions, biological membranes, chemical reaction types, chemical stoichiometry, equilibrium systems, acids and bases, introduction to protein structure. Examples are often pulled from the realm of biological molecules and processes. Students attend three classes and one 3-hour laboratory each week. Prerequisite: Chemistry Placement Recommendation, concurrent registration in Math 120 or equivalent background. Offered Fall Semester.
In this core course, students study the mechanisms of evolution, the evolutionary history of biological diversity, and the diversity of life. The structure and function of organisms are compared within an ecological/evolutionary context. Key adaptations to survival are examined among organisms from bacteria and protists to plants, fungi, and animals. Labs investigate population genetics, phylogeny, form, and behavior of selected organisms and provide experience in experimental design and scientific writing. Students attend lectures plus one 2.5-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Biology 125.
This course introduces physical chemistry with an emphasis on thermodynamics and kinetics of biological chemical reactions. Topics include probability as the driving force for chemical reactions; the relationship between chemical bonding energetics, entropy, and equilibria; oxidation-reduction reactions and electrochemistry; and rates of reactions, including enzyme-catalyzed reactions. Laboratory experiments and activities illustrate lecture topics and introduce new concepts. Prerequisites: Chemistry/Biology 125 and Math 120 or 121. Offered during Interim.
In this course, designed as an introduction to genetics and molecular biology for non-biology majors, students learn about molecular biology techniques and the use of molecular biology in medicine, forensics and agriculture. We discuss topics such as human genetic diseases, mutations, DNA cloning, DNA fingerprinting, eugenics, gene therapy, stem cell research, and genetic privacy. Each issue is addressed on scientific and ethical levels. Offered during Interim.
This course builds on the principles learned in Chemistry/Biology 125/126 and explores how chemistry informs major principles of cellular and molecular biology and genetics. Topics include cell structure, metabolism, movement, signaling, division, and molecular and Mendelian inheritance. The course emphasizes problem-solving, quantitative reasoning, the scientific method, and scientific writing through lectures, discussions, readings, writing assignments, and lab work. Students attend three classes and one 3-hour laboratory each week. Prerequisite: Chemistry/Biology 126. Offered Spring Semester.
Examining infectious diseases of the past and present, students study diseases in their societal and historical contexts, while emphasizing their biological origins. Topics include the germ theory, microbiology, the immune system, interaction between the environment and disease, the impact of infectious disease on history and public health measures. This is a non-lab course designed primarily for non-majors. Offered during Interim.
Why do biologists do what they do? How is biology actually done? In Thinking and Doing Biology students investigate the reasons biological science is done the way it is today. Students are given the opportunity to design and perform their own experiments while being taught the process of scientific investigation. Designed primarily for non-majors. Offered only during Interim.
This course examines the impact of emerging as well as existing health care issues on life in various parts of the world. Students study diseases in global as well as societal context while emphasizing their biological origins. Topics include microbiology, the immune system, interaction between the environment and disease, traditional medicine, and modes of health care delivery. Designed primarily for non-majors. Offered during Interim.
This interdisciplinary course introduces students to behavioral ecology, a field that applies the models and concepts of evolutionary ecology to the study of behavioral diversity in order to answer such questions such as why birds sing and temple monkeys kill nursing young. Drawing on resources from sociobiology, psychology, decision theory, sociology, anthropology, and ethology, the course focuses on animal social behavior or sociology, and its relation to human social behavior.
Students learn laboratory techniques common to genetics, microbiology and molecular biology. Topics include solution and media preparation, sterile technique, and safe handling of laboratory materials. Students learn to turn written instructions into materials needed for successful outcomes. Calculations, scaling and theory behind particular solution compositions and tools are covered as well as approaches needed to be effective teaching assistants. Prerequisite: Biology 125, Chemistry 125, or Chemistry/Biology 125, and required application to the instructor.
Human health is affected both by our biological environment, a teaming world of parasites and diseases, and our physical environment, the water, air, and landscapes that we inhabit. Our interactions with the environment have changed rapidly, as human populations grow, travel increases, and ecosystems are altered. This course touches upon traditional environmental topics such as air and water quality, with integrating newer public health challenges such as emerging diseases and food-borne illnesses. Prerequisite: An introductory science course.
Microbiology examines the morphology, composition, metabolism, and genetics of microorganisms with emphasis on bacteria and viruses. Students examine the dynamic impact of microbes on humans, the immune response, and the role of microbes in the environment. Students attend lectures plus one 3-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and Chemistry 121 or 125, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127. Offered annually.
Genetics examines relationships between genotype and phenotype in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms from classical and molecular perspectives. Lectures cover ideas and technologies contributing to understanding mechanisms of gene transmission and regulation. Laboratories utilize model organisms to investigate classical and molecular modes of inheritance. Students attend lectures plus one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and one semester of chemistry or concurrent registration, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127. Offered both semesters.
Students focus on the natural history of Upper Midwest vertebrates and phylogenetic, morphological, and functional relationships of these animals. Laboratories include identification, and morphology. During field trips, students document bird migrations, amphibian chorusing, and other animal activities. Independent projects explore topics ranging from bluebird nesting behavior to thermal conductivity and insulation in animals. Students attend lectures plus one 3-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Biology 125, 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127.
Students journey toward greater understanding of the human body through an integrated study of the structure of the body (anatomy) and how organs such as the brain, heart, and kidney perform their remarkable functions (physiology). The course is designed primarily for students intending careers in the health sciences. Students attend lectures plus one 3-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Biology 125, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127. Offered annually.
How do animals do what they need to do to survive in all sorts of environments? Why are others able to exist in only very particular conditions? These are the sorts of questions students explore as they navigate the basic systems that provide circulation, ventilation, movement, digestion, and waste removal. Students look at how these are coordinated by the nervous and endocrine systems and how they vary across the animal kingdom to help organisms survive in dry, hot deserts or in dark, deep oceans and places in between. In the weekly 3-hour lab, they conduct quantitative physiological measurements to assess functions such as temperature control, respiration rates, and salt and water balance. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127 and Biology 126.
This course traces the path of invertebrate evolution from single-celled protozoans to the most primitive chordates. Emphasis is placed upon major breakthroughs in design which enable organisms to exploit new ecological habitats. Laboratories are designed to introduce students to the major invertebrate groups via observation of living animals and through dissection. Students attend lectures plus one 3-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127 and Biology 126. Offered alternate years.
A range of microscopic techniques including brightfield, darkfield, interference, fluorescence, and advanced techniques including laser confocal microscopy are covered in this course. In parallel to microscope training sessions, students learn the latest computer techniques for video image grabbing and analysis. Teams design investigative projects that make use of appropriate mircoscope and computer technologies. Prerequisite: Biology 125, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127. Offered during Interim.
Students move from the textbook to the research laboratory and clinical arena to appreciate an integrated view of heart disease. After one week of classes at St. Olaf, students spend three weeks at Emory University Medical School in Atlanta working in a cardiac research laboratory and observing clinical procedures such as coronary artery bypass surgery and coronary angioplasty. Prerequisite: Biology 243 or 247. Apply through International and Off-Campus Studies. Offered during Interim.
This course begins with an in-depth look at a plant cell and its physiology, followed by a discussion of whole plant physiology as it relates to cellular functions. Students attend lectures plus one 3-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126, and Chemistry 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127 and Biology 126.
Plants are a diverse and important group of organisms. This course considers their evolution, emphasizing the morphology and anatomy of flowering plants. Students learn about basic techniques of data collection and analysis to investigate plant evolution: identifying plants, dissecting and staining plant structures, and using computer-based taxonomic statistics programs. Students attend lectures plus one 3-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127 and Biology 126.
Students travel to the Polynesian island of Moorea, located 20 miles west of Tahiti. Lectures cover endemic and invasive species, examining how new organisms have arrived on the island (historically and recently) and have either evolved into unique species or often displaced native species. Students study the natural history and ecology of the coral reef environment, the geology of Pacific atolls, and the natural history of invertebrate and vertebrate marine life. Apply through the Office of International and Off-Campus Studies. Prerequisite: Biology 125 and 126, or Chemistry/ Biology 125-127 and Biology 126. Offered during Interim.
Ecology focuses on the study of the interrelationships that determine the distribution and abundance of organisms. This course examines organism-environment interactions and the study of populations, communities and ecosystems. Consideration is given to use of ecological studies in ecosystem management. Students attend lectures plus one 3-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127 and Biology 126. Offered both semesters.
What happened to the dinosaurs? Can some human congenital heart defects be explained by reference to cardiovascular systems of diving turtles? Examining the origin and evolution of vertebrates, comparing morphology across vertebrate taxa and examining selective factors leading to modern forms is of value to health science students, graduate studies in biology, and people who like dinosaurs. Students attend lectures plus one 3-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125, 126, 127 and Biology 126.
During this course offered at the University of Minnesota Biological Field Station at Itasca State Park, Minnesota, students learn through lectures, readings, laboratory work, and short field trips followed by extensive independent field research in a wide range of habitats. At least 3 weeks are spent at the field station and the remainder of the time on campus. Apply through the office of International and Office-Campus Studies. Prerequisite: Biology 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-126 and Biology 126. Offered during Interim in alternate years.
Following introductory lectures on campus, the class travels on extended field trips to desert locations in Arizona and adjacent states. Students examine interrelationships of desert plants and animals, their adaptations to the harsh desert environment, and the role of primitive and modern humans in this ecosystem. Prerequisite: three courses in biology or consent of instructor. Apply through the Office of International and Off-Campus Studies. Offered during Interim.
This course is a service/learning experience. Week one is on-campus learning basic clinical techniques, examining emerging disease, and existing health care issues. Students will spend three weeks in Cuzco, Peru assessing patient needs in a public hospital, a homeless shelter, orphanages, and a small village. Week four will involve discussion and writing reflective journals. Prerequisites: Biology 125 or Chemistry/Biology 125-127, and Biology 291. Apply through the instructor. Offered during Interim.
Students examine freshwater resources of the world (streams, lakes, wetlands, groundwater, and ice), their uses and abuses by people, and the implications of current management practices for future water availability and quality. Case studies clarify management decisions determining how water is captured, allocated, used, and disposed of at local, national, and global scales. Students participate in a case study of a local water resource management issue. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127 and Biology 126. Offered during Interim.
Intensive study of the biology that created the Bahamas and which now constitutes the living structure of these islands. Staying at the Gerace Research Center provides access to a diversity of marine and terrestrial habitats including coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangrove forests, hypersaline ponds, limestone caverns and the "blue-holes" that connect inland waterways to the sea. The Gerace Research Center is located on San Salvador Island. Counts toward major: Biology. Prerequisite: Biology 125, 126 or permission of instructor.
Equatorial Biology offers intensive field-biology experiences within three equatorial New World environments: the Amazon rainforest, the Andes cloud forests and the Galapagos Islands. We will compare the rich biodiversity, the adaptations and natural history of species and the influence of human impact on these areas. Preparation for class requires readings from texts and primary literature concerning ecological and environmental issues specific to each of these regions. Based in Quito, the three field expeditions alternate with home-based rest days allowing for reflective writing in journals, assimilation and discussion. Prerequisite: Biology 125 and 126 or permission of instructor.
For science majors, learning to read the primary literature and other professional sources is an important transition from classroom learning to post-graduate endeavors. Students enrolled in this course will read, present, and discuss scientific literature in a field selected by participating faculty. The goal is to garner sufficient expertise to allow critical analysis of the particular field. Requires permission of instructor. May be repeated if topics are different.
Internships are designed to provide career-testing opportunities. Students interested in an internship should consult with the Center for Experiential Learning, enlist a faculty sponsor, and complete an internship application.
Independent Study allows students to study in an area not covered in the regular biology course offerings. The student undertakes substantial independent study in a defined biological field, meets regularly with faculty supervisor and prepares some form of presentation of the material learned. The student must obtain permission of supervisor and complete an independent study form available from the Registrar's Office or its website.
Zoological parks serve a critical role in the 21st century, preserving endangered species, and educating the public. Are zoos our best bet for preserving rare species, or would our time and money be better spent preserving the habitats that species require? This course gives students a background in conservation biology, zoo biology, and first-hand experience conducting research in a zoo setting. Prerequisites: Environmental Studies 125 or 137; Biology 126 and 261. Offered during Interim.
Students apply computational techniques and tools to the analysis of biological data. From mining large genetic sequence databases to simulating population dynamics, computer programming is rapidly becoming essential to the study of a broad range of biological systems. This course introduces computer programming to biologists and allows for the creative application of this skill to an array of biological questions, with an emphasis on advanced genetics topics. Prerequisites: Biology 126 and 233. Offered in alternate years.
This course focuses on biological and physical features of arctic ecosystems, their responses to climate change, and consequences of climate change for ecological processes. The foundation of the course is the discussion of current literature on arctic ecosystems. The course briefly reviews causes of climate change in the Arctic, and focuses on biogeochemical cycles, biological communities and the unique characteristics of organisms, as well as the impacts of climate change on human societies. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126 or Environmental Studies 137; and any 200-level Biology or Environmental Studies natural science course. Offered annually.
The cell is the fundamental unit of life, capable of growth, motility, signal transduction, and functional specialization. Students study features common to cells: their macromolecular components, metabolism, membrane transport, motility, signal mechanisms, and intracellular trafficking, seeing how these are elaborated in cells with particular specializations. Research techniques suitable for cell physiology are emphasized. Students attend lectures plus one 3-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126, Chemistry 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127 and Biology 126.
The study of global change and human environmental impacts requires us to link concepts from biology, chemistry, and physics. Students investigate these links by exploring current theories in biogeochemistry, with an emphasis on understanding the feedback between physical and ecological processes, and the coupling of multiple element cycles. Laboratory activities focus on a practical exploration of the methods biogeochemists use, including experience with a variety of instruments. Prerequisite: Any level 200 biology, chemistry, or physics course; or permission of instructor.
Limnology is the study of inland waters and includes their physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. The course focuses on biotic processes and interactions set within the abiotic habitat of lakes and streams. Students examine current management problems facing freshwater environments by focusing on human-induced changes to aquatic habitats and their biotic consequences. Investigative laboratories introduce students to aquatic habitats and biological processes within them. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127 and Biology 126.
Molecular biology techniques are bringing about a revolution in understanding living organisms. Students study the structure and function of macromolecules, methods currently used to clone and analyze genes, and new insights into basic biological processes which these methods provide. The course uses lecture and discussion topics with one project-oriented 3-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Biology 125, 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127 and Biology 126, and Biology 233.
This course focuses on learning modern field and laboratory methods to test ecological hypotheses. Students work on group and individual projects to collect and analyze data and give oral and written presentations on projects. Class periods focus on discussion of primary literature and project results. Class trips include visits to local natural areas. Students attend lecture/discussion plus one 4-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127 and Biology 126, and Biology 261.
The last decade has unveiled the mechanism by which a single cell gives rise to an embryo rich in pattern and cellular diversity. This course traces the use of surgical, genetic, and molecular techniques as they have uncovered the developmental blueprints encoding the universal body plan fundamental to all metazoan life. Students attend lectures plus one 3-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127 and Biology 126, and Biology 233.
Immunology focuses on the structure, development and function of the immune system. The course explores the molecular and cellular basis of the immune responses. The application of immunological principles to allergy, autoimmunity, AIDS, transplantation, and cancer will be included. Students attend lectures plus a 2-hour discussion per week. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127 and Biology 126, and Biology 233; one semester of Chemistry or Chemistry/Biology 125-127.
The idea of evolution forms the foundation for all modern biological thought. This course will examine the processes of evolution in detail (selection, genetic drift, mutation, migration) and study the methods by which biologists reconstruct the history of life on the planet. Advanced topics will be explored through reading and discussion of journal articles. The social and historical context of evolutionary theory will be discussed. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127 and Biology 126, and Biology 233 .
From tiny ion channels to the basis for learning, neuroscience is a rapidly developing area. Using texts, reviews, and current literature, students examine in depth the fundamental unit of the nervous system, the neuron. The goals are to understand how neurons accomplish their unique functions: electrical signaling, synaptic transmission, and directed growth and remodeling. Prerequisites: Biology 125, or Chemistry/Biology 125-127, and progress towards a major in any of the natural sciences.
This seminar course approaches the study of animal behavior from the blended viewpoints of evolutionary behavioral ecology and comparative psychology. Mechanisms of learning, cognition, and development, as well as aggression, territoriality, and mating are examined at the organismic and cellular level. A deeper understanding of the neural and environmental determinants of behavior in a wide variety of species helps students better understand themselves and their place in nature. Prerequisite: Biology 126 or Psychology 125.
Neuroethology is the study of how nervous systems generate natural behaviors in animals. The nervous system connects an animal with its environment, determining how an animal perceives, learns, and reacts to stimuli. This course explores the neural mechanisms underlying diverse behaviors - such as escape reflexes, locomotion, and communication - in a wide range of invertebrate and vertebrate species. Lecture concepts are explored through laboratory experimentation and student presentation. Prerequisites: Math 120 (or equivalent) and one of the following: Biology 233, 247, 266, Neuroscience 234, or Psychology 238 or permission of instructor.
Specific topics announced prior to each term are based on student interests and available staff. Past offerings include cardiovascular physiology, evolution, stress biology, and animal behavior. Class work includes comprehensive review of literature on the specific topic. Class meetings present topics in discussion format. Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-126 and Biology 126, and junior or senior standing. May be repeated if topics are different.
Biology 394 is for students who have completed one internship (Biology 294) and wish to perform a second internship. Students interested in an internship should consult with the Center for Experiential Learning, locate a faculty sponsor, and complete an internship form.
This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the faculty member in charge of the course and may relate to his/her research interests. Prerequisite: Determined by individual instructor. Offer based on department decision.
Independent Research is offered for students dedicated to an in-depth research experience. In conjunction with a faculty supervisor, a student conceives and performs a research project leading to the writng of a major research paper and a poster presentation. Independent research requires permission of a supervisor, a secondary faculty reader of the paper, and completion of an independent research form available at the Registrar's Office or its website.