Course Offerings - Catalog 2012-13

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Division of Science and Mathematics

The discipline of biology encompasses many subject areas ranging from the study of molecular and cellular functions to the ecological interactions among organisms. As biology majors, students gain a solid background in the discipline while also gaining the ability to apply biological principles to our world. Students planning on majoring in biology prepare for the major with appropriate courses in mathematics, chemistry, and physics. In their first two years, students are introduced to the breadth of the discipline in three core courses that provide a foundation in biological diversity, ecology, evolution, genetics and cell biology.  Upon declaration of the major, students build upon this foundation by choosing one course from each of the following areas:  cell and molecular biology, organismal biology, and ecology and evolution. Three additional elective courses from these areas or from a select number of courses in other major programs allow the student to craft a major reflecting his or her personal interests. At the senior level, our majors enroll in the capstone senior seminar course.


Anne Lubbers (chair), Stephen Asmus, Christine Barton, Michael Barton, Stephanie Dew, Stephanie Fabritius, Lisa Grubisha, Matthew Klooster, Marie Nydam, Margaret Richey, Rose-Marie Roessler, Brian Storz


Kristen Guevara, Michael Orr

Recommended First-Year/Sophomore Preparation

Students contemplating a major in biology should plan to take BIO 110 in their first year. CHE 131 and CHE 132 may be taken during either the first year or the sophomore year. For those who qualify, CHE 135 may substitute for both CHE 131 and 132. Normally, students should plan to take BIO 210 no later than the spring of their sophomore year. CHE 241 and BMB 210 should be completed no later than the fall of the junior year. Any prospective biology major with specific graduate/pre-professional school goals should consult with a member of the biology faculty (or one of the specific pre-health careers advisors) early in the student’s academic career to determine both the types of courses that should be taken and the specific terms in which these courses should be taken to best attain the post-graduate goals. See the health professions advisory committee's website for more details.

Requirements for the Major*

Foundation Courses (normally completed in the first and sophomore years)
BIO 110, 210; BMB 210; CHE 131 and 132, or CHE 135; CHE 241; MAT 130; PHY 110 or CSC 117 or CSC 261

Students planning to attend graduate school in biology should take at least one calculus course. Additional math, chemistry, physics and computer science courses are also recommended for graduate school. Many professional schools (e.g., medical, dental) require calculus and additional chemistry and physics courses.

Upper-level Courses (normally completed in the junior and senior year)
A minimum of seven upper-level biology courses are required for the biology major. The seven courses must be selected according to the following criteria: One course from each of the following groups (A, B, and C):
Group A Cell and Molecular Biology: BIO 335, BIO 345, BIO 355, BIO 385, BIO 455, BMB 310, BMB 320, BMB 330, BMB 340
Group B Organisms: BIO 310, BIO 320, BIO 325, BIO 330, BIO 340, BIO 350, BIO 360
Group C Ecology and Evolution: BIO 305, BIO 365, BIO 370, BIO 371, BIO 375

Three additional three or four credit hour BIO courses numbered 300 or higher, including BIO courses not listed above. The BMB courses listed above and/or BNS 330 can also be used toward this requirement. No more than two courses applied toward the upper-level requirements can be courses taught in another program (BMB or BNS).

One capstone course: BIO 500

At least three of the upper-level requirements must have a lab component (four credit hour courses). A one-hour upper-level lab course taken with a complimentary three-hour lecture course together count as one four-hour course (e.g., BIO 350 + BIO 350L).

*These requirement are applicable for students entering fall term 2011 and after. Student graduating in 2012 and 2013 are subject to the requirements listed in the 2010-2011 catalog. Students graduating in 2014 are subject the the first and sophomore year requirements listed in the 2010-2011 catalog and the upper-level requirements listed above.

Requirements for the Minor

BIO 110, BIO 210, BMB 210, CHE 131 and 132 or 135, CHE 241, and three BIO courses numbered 300 or above. BMB 310, 320, 330, 340, and BNS 330 may be used to fulfill the upper level elective requirement. At least one of the three elective courses must have a lab component (four credit hour courses). A one-hour upper-level lab course taken with a complimentary three-hour lecture course together count as one four-hour course (e.g., BIO 350 + BIO 350L). At least two of the three upper level courses must be BIO courses.

Biology Courses

BIO 110 Evolution, Biodiversity, Ecology (four credit hours)
An introduction to biology through the integrating theme of evolution. The first third of the course introduces the unifying principles of evolution upon which all biological study is based. The second third is a phylogenetic survey of the biodiversity originating via those evolutionary processes. The course concludes with an exploration of the ecological processes that govern the organization of populations, communities and ecosystems. Laboratory work is required. Prerequisite: MAT 110 or basic skills in math.

BIO 210 Introduction to Genetics (four credit hours)
A survey of the basic principles of genetics. In this course, students will be introduced to all areas of genetics: Mendelian patterns of inheritance, molecular genetics and population genetics. A weekly laboratory is required. Prerequisite: MAT 110 or basic skills in math; BIO 110 or CHE 131 is strongly recommended.

BIO 225 Human Anatomy and Physiology
An overview of the anatomical characteristics and physiological processes associated with the major organ systems in healthy humans.  Prerequisite:  BIO 110.

BIO 230 Vertebrate Nutrition
An introduction to the study of the principles of nutrition in vertebrates. This introduction includes an overview of the physiological requirements and metabolism of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water; the anatomy and physiology of digestion, absorption and transport of nutrients; the role of nutrition throughout human development; the application of the principles of nutrition to animal diet formulations; the role of diet in the development of chronic diseases; nutritional disorders and weight management; and food safety. Prerequisite: BIO 110; CHE 132 or 135.

BIO 245 Freshwater Biology
An introduction to the types of organisms associated with freshwater habitats and the physical, chemical, and biological processes that influence their distribution. Field work is required. Prerequisite: BIO 110 is recommended.

BIO 250/450 Marine Field Biology
A survey of tropical marine systems, including coral-reef, sea-grass and mangrove habitats.  Topics include comparisons and identification of marine organisms among habitats, a deep understanding of the scientific process in the field, and marine related small-group research projects. Prerequisite: BIO 110.

BIO 265 Biology, Databases and Research (one credit hour)
This course will introduce students to the way in which a biological database can be used as a research tool. The publically accessible PTAGIS database contains 15 years of data associated with the movement of juvenile and adult salmon in the Columbia River Basin. The database tracks the movement of these fish through the PIT (passive integrated transponder) tags inserted during the juvenile life stage. Students enrolled in this class will learn how to use this database, will develop a specific research question that can be addressed by using the database, and will collect and analyze data from the database to answer their individual research questions. Prerequisite: BIO 110; MAT 130 or strong quantitative background recommended.

BIO 280  Into the Great Abyss: Cave Ecology
Caves have long had a profound hold on the human psyche. Whether functioning as the spiritual ‘doorway to the underworld,’ a place of habitation, a philosophical allegory, or a recreational thrill, caves have played a dynamic role in our lives and in the lives of countless other organisms. This course will begin by reviewing human interaction with caves over time and will transition to our modern understanding of the geology behind cave formation. We will then extend our scope beyond humans and work to understand how and why certain organisms call caves ‘home.’ Our analysis will highlight evolutionary processes that have lead to exhilarating and often peculiar adaptations found in organism that live in or near caves. We will also address current topics in cave biology including their use for studies of global climate changes and pervasive problems associated with human interference in these delicate ecosystems. This course will feature multiple field trips to local caves including Carter Caves and Mammoth Caves. Many of these field trips may extend into the evening, the weekend, and/or will require overnight accommodations.  Some physical restrictions may limit the ability of a student to participate in caving tours. Prerequisite: BIO 110 with preference given to BIO/BMB majors.

BIO 305 Evolutionary Biology
An in-depth study of the modern theory of evolution. Topics include the agents and patterns of evolutionary change, individual and group selection processes, and sexual selection. Discussion of papers from the primary literature is emphasized. Prerequisite: BIO 110, 210.

BIO 310 Invertebrate Biology
A study of the morphological adaptation, evolutionary relationships, and diversity of invertebrate phyla. Emphasis is on the structural adaptations witnessed in the design of invertebrate body plans with some consideration for the ecological relationships of selected invertebrate communities. Prerequisite: BIO 110.

BIO 320 Natural History of Vertebrates
The life histories and adaptations of vertebrates are studied with an emphasis on the origins and evolution of the modern classes. Adaptations of vertebrates to the opportunities and constraints imposed by aquatic versus terrestrial conditions are examined. Special consideration is given to aspects of vertebrate biology that are of particular relevance to the human condition. Prerequisite: BIO 110.

BIO 325 Vertebrate Morphology (four credit hours)
The structure of vertebrate organ systems is studied through lectures and lab dissections. The phylogeny of vertebrates is traced through consideration of the adaptation of organ systems to specific environmental requirements. A weekly lab is required. Prerequisite: BIO 110.

BIO 330 Entomology
An introduction to the biology of insects. This course focuses on the morphological adaptations, life history strategies, behavior, ecological and evolutionary relationships, and diversity of insects. Prerequisite: BIO 110.

BIO 335 Developmental Biology (four credit hours)
A study of the development of animals, primarily vertebrates, from fertilization through the development of all major tissue and organ systems. Topics include classical embryology and cellular and molecular aspects of development. Lab work includes studying the developmental anatomy of selected vertebrates. Prerequisite: BIO 110 and BMB 210.

BIO 340 Microbiology (four credit hours)
An introduction to the biology of microorganisms. The course focuses on the anatomy, classification, reproduction, metabolism, molecular genetics, and control of bacteria; fungi protozoa, algae, and viruses are also discussed. A laboratory is required. Prerequisite: BIO 110 and BMB 210.

BIO 345 Histology (four credit hours)
A study of the microscopic anatomy of vertebrate tissues and organs. Lectures focus primarily on correlating cell organization and physiology with the functions of the particular tissue/organ system and on how tissue types are distributed throughout the organism. Lab work includes the microscopic identification of all major tissues and organs and acquiring experience with tissue processing and “staining” techniques. Prerequisite: BIO 110 and BMB 210.

BIO 350 General and Comparative Animal Physiology
A comparative study of the integrative function of animal organ systems, with emphasis on the evolution of physiological processes and physiological responses of organisms to environmental change.  Prerequisite: BIO 110and BMB 210.

BIO 350L Physiology Laboratory (1 credit hour)
Physiological studies and experimentation in the areas of comparative, human, and exercise physiology to understand the physiology of organ systems, weekly lab.  BIO 350 or BIO 225 prerequisite or concurrent.

BIO 355 Immunology
A study of both specific and non-specific immunity. Particular emphasis is placed on investigating specific immunity from a cellular and molecular perspective, including its important roles in both medicine and research. Prerequisite: BIO 110 and BMB 210; BIO 225 is recommended.

BIO 360 Plant Biology (four credit hours)
A survey of the anatomy, physiology, reproduction and life cycles of flowering plants. Some aspects of the characteristics of bryophytes, ferns and gymnosperms are also covered. The course emphasizes the relationships between plant form and function in the context of evolution and ecology. Weekly laboratory included. Prerequisites: BIO 110, BIO 210, and BMB 210 (BMB 210 may be taken concurrently with BIO 360).

BIO 365 Plant-Herbivore Interactions
An examination of the ecological, biological, and behavioral factors governing the nature of plant-herbivore interactions as well as the ecological and evolutionary consequences of the interactions. Prerequisite: BIO 330 or 360 or 370.

BIO 370 Principles of Ecology (four credit hours)
The interrelationships between organisms and their environment are examined at four levels: individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems. Topics covered include evolutionary adaptations, population dynamics, species interactions, community structure, biogeochemical cycles and energy flow. A survey of terrestrial ecosystems and a discussion of human influences on ecological systems are also included. Weekly laboratory required. Prerequisites: BIO 110 and BIO 210.

BIO 371 Behavioral Ecology: Avian Reproductive Strategies
An exploration of the reproductive strategies employed by birds, including studies of territoriality, courtship, mating success, sexual selection, mating systems, parental care patterns, alternative reproductive strategies, and cooperative breeding. These topics will be placed in an evolutionary context. How do different reproductive behaviors evolve? Why do some reproductive behaviors work in some environments but not in others? How does the distribution of resources influence reproductive behavior? In order to understand some of these avian behaviors, we will learn some special adaptations and physiology/morphology of the class: Aves. And to put this into a broader context, we will occassionally compare avian behavior to that observed in other taxonomic groups. In our investigations, we will utilize observation, manipulative experiments, game theory and optimization models. We will call upon the disciplines of ecology, evolution, physiology, developmental biology, and genetics. Students completing this course will come away with an understanding of how an avian behavioral ecologist goes about asking questions and designing experiments. Prerequisite: BIO 110 and 210. (Also listed as PYB 335.)

BIO 375 Conservation Biology
A study of the protection and restoration of threatened organisms and ecosystems using ecology, genetics, and theoretical modeling. Issues involved in practical decision making are explored with theory and case studies, bringing in some of the legal, economic, and social issues. Prerequisite: BIO 110, or NSC 120 with permission of the instructor.

BIO 385 Cellular Neurobiology
A study of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie nervous system function, including discussions of the cellular structure of the nervous system, the electrical properties of neurons, synaptic transmission (neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, and receptors and cell signaling mechanisms), neural development, regeneration and plasticity, and neurological disorders. Prerequisite: BIO 110 and BMB 210.

BIO 455 The Biology of Viruses
An introduction to the biology of viruses (virology). This course covers the taxonomy, replication, pathogenesis, control, and evolution of viruses in bacteria, plants, and animals. Prerequisite: BIO 110 and BMB 210.

BIO 500 Senior Seminar
A study of current research topics in biology. The course format will involve extensive readings from the primary literature, formal written and oral presentations by the students, and guest lecturers. Prerequisite: Senior standing.