The material on this page is from the 1995-96 catalog and may be out of date. Please check the current year's catalog for current information.


Professors Minkoff and Thomas; Associate Professors Pelliccia (on leave, winter semester and Short Term), Kinsman, and Malloy, Chair; Assistant Professors Abrahamsen, Baker, Ambrose, and Kleckner

Biology is the study of living systems and how they interact with the nonliving world and with one another. As such, biology is the discipline that bridges the physical and social sciences. Students who major in biology become familiar with all levels of biological organization from molecules to ecosystems, and gain practical experience in both laboratory and field studies.

Required for the major: four core courses (Biology 101, 102, 170, and s42). Also required: five advanced courses (200 level or above); completion of the seminar and comprehensive examination requirements (see below); Chemistry 107, 108, and one of the following: Chemistry 203, 212, 218, Geology 363, or Biology 244. The Chemistry 218 option is recommended for students interested in attending graduate- or medical-school programs after graduation. No more than two research, thesis, or internship course credits, and no more than one Short Term unit credit (30 level or above) may be used to fulfill the requirement of five advanced courses. One of Chemistry 321, 322, Psychology 355, or 363 may be substituted for one advanced course in satisfying the requirements of the major.

Prospective majors are urged to discuss course scheduling with a member of the Department. A pamphlet describing curricular options in biology is available from the Department and is mailed, yearly, to all majors. Students may elect to include biological internships at a major research institution such as the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor. Students are advised to complete the four required biology core courses before the end of their sophomore year in order to guarantee scheduling flexibility during the junior and senior years. Students are also encouraged to consider biology as part of an interdisciplinary program. Guidelines are available for individualized interdisciplinary programs in biopsychology and environmental sciences. Students interested in interdisciplinary work in biochemistry should consult the catalog section titled Biological Chemistry.

General Education. A set in biology normally consists of any two of the following: 101s, 102, 158, 170, and s42 (please note that 170 and s42 have prerequisites). An upper-level biology course can be substituted for one of these five courses in order to complete a set. Only courses with associated laboratory components qualify for this kind of substitution, and any course prerequisites must be fulfilled before students will be allowed to enroll at an advanced level. Any biology course or Short Term unit may be used to fulfill the third course and natural science requirement. The quantitative requirement can be satisfied by completing Biology 101s, 158, 170, 244, 255, or s45.

Comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination requirement may be fulfilled by attaining a score corresponding to the twenty-fifth percentile on the Graduate Record Exam Subject Test in Biology. This exam must be taken on or before the December test date of the senior year. Students who have taken but do not pass the GRE by the deadline may fulfill this requirement by passing a departmental comprehensive scheduled during the Short Term of their senior year.

Seminar. Each major is required to attend eight of the departmental seminars (approximately twelve are scheduled each year), as well as the associated discussions by the second week in Short Term of the senior year. Discussions focus on a research paper describing the seminar speaker's work. No formal course credit is given for the seminar. Majors will be sent a full description of the program every fall.

101s. Biological Principles. An introduction to three fundamental areas of biology: the diversity of life, mechanisms of evolution, and genetics. Laboratories involve design and execution of experiments in cooperative laboratory groups. Quantitative analysis of data and scientific writing are emphasized. Mr. Pelliccia, Ms. Kleckner. F

102. Plant and Animal Biology. An examination of living organisms with emphasis on structure and function. Lecture topics include mechanisms of support and movement, nutrition, circulation, translocation, respiration, photosynthesis, growth regulation, and integration. Laboratory exercises focus on functional anatomy and experimental design. Mr. Thomas, Mr. Minkoff. W

105. Life, Sex, and Cells. One of the great mysteries of the natural world is the prevalence of sexual reproduction. What, really, is sex? How did it begin? Why is it more common in species with complex cells and specialized bodies? Is sex required for reproduction in all of the millions of species, from bacteria to diatoms to mammals? What do "male" and "female" mean for asexual, hermaphroditic, and sex-changing species? This course takes a wide perspective to investigate the patterns of sex and gender among the species, assessing the traditional explanations--and their critiques--of the evolution and consequences of sex and gender. Enrollment is limited to 15 per section. Ms. Kinsman. W

158. Evolutionary Biology. Evolution is the great unifying theory in biology. It is the context into which all other biological subjects fit. The course examines various aspects of evolution, including the origin of life, the major events in the evolution of life on earth, the nature of the fossil record, the history of evolutionary theories, and creationist objections to these theories. Computer exercises are included as an important part of the course. Enrollment is limited to 50 per section. [Mr. Minkoff]. W

170. Ecology. An introduction to ecological and evolutionary patterns, principles, and processes. Topics include life history and adaptations, population dynamics and interactions, community structure and ecosystem processes, and evolutionary speciation. Laboratories include experimental investigations of several levels of ecology using cooperative lab groups. Prerequisite: Biology 101s. Mr. Ambrose. W

200. The Social Context of Science. This course treats science as a distinctly human activity that takes place in the social context of a larger society. Among the issues examined are the influence of religion and political affiliation on science, the problems of science in totalitarian countries, the recruitment and training of scientists, and the influence of personal characteristics (race, gender, ethnicity, social class, and individual personality) on scientists and their careers. Lengthy readings include biographies of many scientists as well as works of a more general nature. Enrollment is limited to 25. Prerequisite: one semester of any science. [Mr. Minkoff]. F

210. Oceanography. An integrated, interdisciplinary overview of the chemistry, physics, geology, and biology of the world's oceans. Topics include chemical and physical properties of sea water, ocean circulation, evolution of ocean basins, coastal geomorphology, the distribution and abundance of organisms in the major marine communities, the status of the world's most important fisheries, and the role of the ocean in the global carbon cycle. Prerequisite: Biology 101s or 102. Enrollment is limited to 30. Mr. Ambrose. F

211. Marine Invertebrates. A survey of the varieties, morphology, development, evolution, and behavior of invertebrates with an emphasis on marine animals. Laboratory work includes the study, through dissection and experiment, of representative organisms. Field trips to local marine laboratories. Prerequisite: Biology 101s, 102. [Mr. Ambrose]. F

215. Bacteriology. A survey of the structure and physiology of bacteria, emphasizing adaptations of these organisms to specific environmental niches. Particular attention is given to organisms of medical, ecological, or industrial interest. Prerequisite: Biology s42. Enrollment is limited to 25. Staff. W

216o. Molecular Aspects of Development. The course investigates how genes and specific molecules mediate developmental phenomena. Topics covered in lecture and readings include control of gene expression in eukaryotes, differentiation, determination, pattern formation, and developmental gradients. Prerequisite: Biology 102 and s42. [Mr. Pelliccia]. W

221. Non-Seed Plants. A survey of marine and freshwater algae, the fungi, mosses, ferns, and fern allies. Lecture and laboratory studies emphasize comparative structures, functions, habitats, and evolutionary relationships. Prerequisite: Biology 101s or 102. [Mr. Thomas]. F

224. Economic Botany. A survey of economically important plants, with emphasis on aspects of agronomy, forestry, plant biochemistry, and ethnobotany. Plant products studied include perfumes, spices, medicinals, fermentation products, oils, rubber, textiles, wood, sugar, cereals, and legumes. Prerequisite: Biology 102 or permission of the instructor to preregister. Open to first-year students. Not open to students who have received credit for Biology 471 during winter 1994. Enrollment is limited to 12. [Mr. Thomas]. W

231e. Genetics. A course in classical and molecular genetics that extends a Mendelian analysis of genetics to topics which include biochemical, developmental, behavioral, and human genetics. The role of genetics in evolutionary processes is emphasized. Prerequisite: Biology s42. Mr. Pelliccia. F

236o. Field Ecology. A course in methods of investigating patterns and interactions in natural populations and communities. Students conduct several outdoor field investigations, gaining practical experience in problem identification, experimental design, data collection, and analysis and communication of results. Research methods and their conservation applications are examined through primary literature and visits to active research sites. Saturday and Sunday field trips. Prerequisite: Biology 170. Preference will be given to sophomores. Open to seniors by permission. Enrollment is limited to 20. Ms. Kinsman. F

244. Biostatistics. A course in the use of both descriptive and inferential statistics in the biological sciences, including such topics as types of data, population structure, probability distributions, common types of statistical inference (t-, F-, and chi-square tests), correlation and regression, analysis of variance, and an introduction to nonparametric statistics. Enrollment is limited to 25 per section. Prerequisites: Biology 101s, 102. Mr. Minkoff. W

251. Comparative Anatomy of the Chordates. An introduction to the comparative anatomy of the vertebrates and their kin, with laboratory study of both sharks and mammals. Enrollment is limited to 25. Prerequisite: Biology 102. Mr. Minkoff. F

255. Mathematical Models in Biology. Mathematical models are increasingly important throughout the life sciences. This course provides an introduction to deterministic and stochastic models in biology, and to methods of fitting and testing them against data. Examples are chosen from a variety of biological and medical fields, such as ecology, molecular evolution, and infectious disease. Computers are used extensively for modeling and for analyzing data. This course is the same as Mathematics 155. Recommended background: Biology 101s. Enrollment is limited to 30. Ms. Harder, Mr. Rhodes. W

268e. Entomology. A study of insects, the largest group of animals. Lectures and laboratories introduce insect morphology, classification, evolution, physiology, behavior, ecology, and field study. Selected topics for discussion may include courtship, parental care, biological control of pests, mutualists, social behavior, chemical ecology. Prerequisite: one college-level biology course, or permission of the instructor. Recommended background: Biology 102. Open to first-year students. [Ms. Kinsman]. F

276. Physiology of Locomotion. An introduction to physiology using human locomotion as a model. Lectures examine both the short-term and long-term responses to exercise which take place at cellular, tissue, organ, and organismal levels. Topics may include glycolytic and oxidative metabolism; muscle function and adaptation; cardiovascular, respiratory, hormonal, and renal responses to exercise; musculoskeletal mechanics; and exercise in unusual environments. Students choose topics of special interest for discussion sections and class projects. Prerequisite: Biology 102. Enrollment is limited to 40. [Ms. Malloy].

278. Neurobiology. The course is an introduction to the molecular and cellular principles of neurobiology, and the organization of neurons and associated cells into sensory, motor, and central systems. Also included are the topics of developmental and synaptic plasticity, and the role invertebrate systems have played in our understanding of these processes. Laboratories include electrical recordings of nerve cells, computer simulation and modeling, and the use of molecular techniques in neurobiology. Prerequisite: Biology s42. Enrollment is limited to 24. Ms. Kleckner. W

281. Introduction to Paleontology. Evolutionary principles above the species level are illustrated by studying the evolution of the vertebrates and selected invertebrate groups. Prerequisite: one semester of either biology or geology. Mr. Minkoff. F

285. Primates and Human Origins. A course in primatology and physical anthropology for students of biology, psychology, anthropology, and other fields. Topics include primate evolution, paleoanthropology, human genetics, living races, primate behavior, and the physical prerequisites for culture. Conflicting views on phylogeny, race, intelligence, and behavior are also discussed. Prerequisite: either Biology 101 or 158, or Anthropology 258. [Mr. Minkoff]. F

314. Virology. A lecture and seminar examination of the molecular biology of viruses, including viroids and bacteriophages. Topics include viral infection and replication cycles, morphology, oncogenesis, and virus-host interactions. Viruses of epidemiologic and biotechnologic importance are emphasized. Prerequisite: Biology s42. Ms. Abrahamsen. F

331. Molecular Biology. An introduction to the molecular biology of genes and chromosomes. The course emphasizes current research about gene structure and function, experimental techniques, and viral and prokaryotic genetics. The laboratories demonstrate recombinant DNA technology. Prerequisite: Biology s42. [Mr. Pelliccia]. W

337. Animal Physiology. The major physiological processes of animals, including digestion, circulation, respiration, excretion, locomotion, and both neural and hormonal regulation. Examples will be drawn from several species and include a consideration of the cellular basis of organ-system function. Prerequisites: Biology 102 and s42. Enrollment is limited to 24. Ms. Malloy. F

338. Drug Actions on the Nervous System. This course focuses on the biochemistry and physiology of neural tissues. An emphasis is placed on neurotransmitter systems, and on drugs thought to act on these systems. The relationships between the actions of drugs at molecular, cellular, and behavioral levels are also discussed. Current literature is reviewed related to topics of special interest. Prerequisite: Biology s42. Recommended background: Biology 278, 337, Psychology 363, or Chemistry 321-322. Ms. Kleckner. F

341. Electron Microscopy. An introduction to the principles of electron optics, with emphasis on biological applications. Topics covered in lecture or laboratory include preparation of specimens for transmission and scanning electron microscopy, use of the scanning electron microscope, use of associated photographic, X-ray dispersive, cytochemical, immunological, and autoradiographic techniques, and interpretation of data. Special interest topics are chosen by students for independent research projects. Prerequisites: Biology 102 and s42. Enrollment is limited to 6. Mr. Thomas. F

351. Immunology. The immune system will be studied as an example of the body's chemical communication networks. Topics include functions of the immune system (production of an immune response, immune surveillance in the maintenance of health), the effects of psychological and environmental factors on the immune system, and the effects of immune dysfunctions (auto-immune diseases and immune deficiencies). The course will emphasize the human immune system but briefly covers comparative immunology. Includes a laboratory. Prerequisite: Biology s42. Ms. Baker. F

352o. Membrane and Receptor Biology. A detailed examination of the structure and function of biological membranes. Lectures and readings focus on those aspects of cell and organelle membranes which account for their biofunctional properties. Prerequisite: Biology s42 or Chemistry 321. Ms. Baker. W

360. Independent Study. Independent research by an individual student under the direction of a staff member. A detailed summary report is required at the end of each semester of work. May be taken more than once for credit. Prerequisite: submission of a research proposal approved by both the faculty sponsor and the Department Chair prior to registration. Staff.

365. Special Topics. Offered at irregular intervals by a faculty member in an area of contemporary interest. May be taken more than once for credit. Staff. F

370. Chemistry and Biology of Nucleic Acids. A laboratory investigation of the techniques involved in the synthesis, isolation, and use of nucleic acids in biochemical research. Recombinant DNA techniques including oligonucleotide synthesis, hybridization, and polymerase chain reaction are used in experiments. This course is the same as Chemistry 370. Prerequisites: Biology s42, Chemistry 218. Recommended background: Biology 331, Chemistry 321-322. [Mr. Pelliccia, Mr. Lawson]. W

380. Plant Physiology. A study of organismal and cellular functions important in the life of green plants. Topics include mineral nutrition, water relations, metabolism, and regulatory processes. Prerequisites: Biology 102 and s42 or permission of the instructor. Mr. Thomas. F

457, 458. Senior Thesis. Open to students writing either an honors or a departmental thesis. Permission of the Department and the thesis advisor is required. Staff.

470o. Seminar and Research in Experimental Ecology. Laboratory, field, or library study of a current research topic in experimental ecology. A topic is selected with reference to the research interests of the instructor. Prerequisite: Biology 170. Enrollment is limited to 6. Permission of the instructor is required. Ms. Kinsman. F

471. Seminar and Research in Experimental Botany. Laboratory, field, or library study of a current research topic in experimental botany. A topic is selected with reference to the research interests of the instructor. Enrollment is limited to 6. Permission of the instructor is required. Mr. Thomas. W

472. Seminar and Research in Animal Physiology. Laboratory or library study of a current research topic in animal physiology. Students may select a topic with reference to the research interests of the instructor. Prerequisite: Biology 102. Recommended background: Biology 337. Enrollment is limited to 6. Permission of the instructor is required. [Ms. Malloy]. F

473. Seminar and Research in Cell Biology. Laboratory and library study of a current research topic in the experimental study of biology at the cellular level. A topic is selected with reference to the research interests of the instructor. Enrollment is limited to 6. Permission of the instructor is required. Recommended background: Biology s42. [Ms. Abrahamsen]. F

474. Seminar and Research in Marine Biology. Laboratory, field, and library study of advanced topics in invertebrate biology. Topics are selected in relation to research interests of the instructor and students. Enrollment is limited to 6. Permission of the instructor is required. Prerequisite: Biology 102. Recommended background: Biology 170 and 211. Mr. Ambrose. F

476. Seminar and Research in Neurobiology. Laboratory or library study of a current research topic in molecular or cellular neurobiology. A topic is selected in reference to the research interests of the instructor. Enrollment is limited to 6. Permission of the instructor is required. Recommended background: Biology 278 or 338. Ms. Kleckner. W

Short-Term Units
s29. Nature Photography. A study of photographic techniques used by biologists in the field and laboratory, with emphasis on close-up photography of plants and animals. Additional areas covered include landscape and aerial photography, photomicrography, and preparation of photographs for lectures or publication. Required: access to a 35-mm single lens reflex camera. Recommended background: Biology 101 or 102. Written permission of the instructor is required. Enrollment is limited to 15. [Mr. Thomas].

s32. Experimental Marine Ecology. A study of marine plants and animals, and their relationships with each other and with their environment. Laboratory experience involves individual projects. The unit involves extensive fieldwork and full-time, off-campus residence. Prerequisites: Biology 102 and permission of the instructor. Recommended background: Biology 170 or 211. Limited enrollment. [Staff].

s34. Tropical Field Biology. Tropical ecosystems harbor the majority of species. This advanced unit introduces the biology of the tropics, with an emphasis on ecology. Readings and written assignments serve as preparation for fieldwork and travel in a Latin American country. Trips to a variety of ecosystems (for example: mangrove swamps, plantations, rainforests, alpine sites) introduce tropical community diversity. Activities include lectures, reading, field experiments, field trips, and research projects. Prerequisite: Biology 170 or 102 or demonstrated ability and interest. Open to first-year students. Permission of the instructor is required. Enrollment is limited to 7. Ms. Kinsman.

s36. Work-Study Internship in the Natural Sciences. Participation by qualified students in the work of some local or distant institution or agency concerned with the application of scientific knowledge. Such institutions may include hospitals, aquacultural farms, and medical or veterinary offices, among others. By specific arrangement and with departmental approval only. Each intern is supervised by a staff member. Staff.

s38. Geologic and Biologic Field Studies in the Canadian Arctic. This unit examines the biology and Quaternary geology of the eastern Canadian Arctic. Fieldwork is in Auyuittuq National Park, Baffin Island, Canada. Research focuses on glaciology, snow hydrology, and sedimentation in fjords and lakes, and the adaptations required of terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals to survive in the arctic. Students prepare geologic and vegetation maps, examine animal distributions, study modern fjord and lacustrine environments, and collect and analyze water and sediment samples from lake and marine environments. Emphasis is placed on the relations between biological and geological patterns. This unit is the same as Geology s38. Prerequisite: one of the following: Biology 101s; or Geology 103, 104, 105, or 106; or permission of the instructor to preregister. Recommended background: geologic or biologic field experience. Open to first-year students. Written permission of the instructor is required. Enrollment is limited to 12. [Mr. Ambrose, Mr. Retelle].

s40. Mammalian Histology. The study of mammalian tissue types, with emphasis on tissue structure and function in class and tissue structure and identification in the laboratory. Prerequisite: Biology 102. Open to first-year students. Enrollment is limited to 15. [Mr. Minkoff].

s42. Cellular and Molecular Biology. A view of life at the cellular and molecular levels. Topics include cellular energetics, membrane phenomena, and molecular biology. Laboratory techniques include enzymology, cell culturing, microbial genetics, electrophoresis, and the use of radioactive tracers. Prerequisites: Biology 101 and Chemistry 108. Required of all majors. Open to first-year students. Ms. Malloy, Mr. Lawson.

s45. Computer Applications in Biology and Medicine. Through individual projects, students are introduced to some of the techniques of computer programming, as well as some of the biological problems that lend themselves to investigation with the aid of computers. No previous experience in computer programming is assumed. Prerequisite: Biology 158 or 170 or permission of the instructor. [Mr. Minkoff].

s46. Internship in the Natural Sciences. Off-campus participation by qualified students as team members in an experimental program in a research laboratory such as the Bigelow Laboratory for Oceanographic Studies, Jackson Laboratory, or Brookhaven National Laboratories. By specific arrangement and with departmental approval only. Staff.

s48. Contemporary Experimental Physiology. A survey of the principles and techniques used in contemporary physiological research. Lectures may include muscle mechanics, reproductive hormone regulation, photoreceptors, blood flow regulation, intravital microscopy, use of radioisotopes, experimental surgery, mathematics in physiology. Laboratory experiences involve both observation and participation in research projects. The unit requires extensive laboratory involvement and may require off-campus residence at a host medical center. Prerequisites: Biology s42 and 337. Written permission of the instructor is required. Enrollment is limited to 6. [Ms. Malloy].

s50. Individual Research. Registration in this unit is granted by the Department only after the student has submitted a written proposal for a full-time research project to be completed during the Short Term and has secured the sponsorship of a member of the Department to direct the study and evaluate results. Staff.

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