Browse the Course Catalogue by  



Biology Course Descriptions


Key to Course Descriptions »
BI101f    First-Year Seminar in Biology      Students will meet with members of the faculty in the Department of Biology to discuss faculty research programs. Students will be expected to read papers from the primary literature to prepare for class. Introduces a wide range of sub-disciplines within biology along with the associated research methods. Open to first-year students who also enroll in a biology class during their first year. Nongraded.     One credit hour.    STONE
[BI115]    Biology of Women      An introduction to the biology of the female throughout her life span. Topics include reproductive anatomy, the menstrual cycle and related hormones, aspects of sexual function, contraception, pregnancy and infertility, childbirth, lactation, menopause, and other gynecological considerations. Myths surrounding women's biology will also be discussed. Satisfies the non-laboratory science distribution requirement. Cannot be counted toward the biology major.     Three credit hours.  N.  
BI118j    Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems      Agriculture is a fundamental way in which humans interact with their environment and is at the nexus of ecological, social, and economic systems. An introduction to the ecological bases, practicalities, and philosophies of food and agricultural systems. Provides a foundation in such concepts as agroecology, sustainable soil management, pest and weed control, and organic farming. Also considers social, economic, and public-policy issues. Field trips to local farms and other agricultural institutions. Satisfies the non-laboratory science distribution requirement. Cannot be counted toward the biology major. Formerly offered as Biology 197A.     Three credit hours.  N.    MARSHALL
BI123f    The Science of Baseball      This writing-intensive course will explore principles of statistics, evolution, animal behavior, physiology, and physics viewed through the lens of baseball. Several expository and analytical papers will be required, allowing students to develop and improve their critical analysis and scientific thinking skills.     Four credit hours.  N,W1.    WILSON
BI131f    Biodiversity      Biodiversity examines the variety and variability of life on Earth, the causes of this variety, and the natural complex of relationships. Topics include habitat diversity, taxonomic diversity, evolution and speciation, interrelationships in ecosystems, and conservation biology. Also how humans influence and are influenced by biodiversity. Laboratory sessions focus on exploring biological diversity in different local ecosystems, using taxonomic keys, and applying the scientific method. Students with prior credit for Biology 164 may not receive credit for Biology 131. Lab section B is reserved for Integrated Studies 126, "The Green Cluster," and requires concurrent enrollment in English 126 and Environmental Studies 126.     Four credit hours.  N,Lb.    BEVIER
BI133s    Microorganisms and Society      An introduction to the importance of microorganisms to human health and the functioning of planet Earth. The diversity of the microbial world presented with relevant examples of how microorganisms affect our daily lives. Discussions and lectures based on the roles microorganisms and viruses play in disease, the food industry, ecological relationships, and biotechnology. Satisfies the laboratory science distribution requirement. Cannot be counted toward the biology major. Lecture and laboratory.     Four credit hours.  N,Lb.    F. FEKETE
BI152j    Human-Microbe Connection      Presents an overview of the diversity of microorganisms and the impacts they have on our daily lives and activities. The role of microbes in medicine and human health, the food industry, and sustaining our environment will be discussed. Students will gain a basic understanding of what microorganisms are, their activities, and how they function in medical, practical, and environmental applications. They will learn fundamental concepts related to medical, food, and environmental microbiology that will help them make reasoned decisions throughout their lives. Cannot be counted toward the biology major. Previously offered as Biology 197 (January 2013). Prerequisite:  Students with prior credit for Biology 133 or 248 may not receive credit for Biology 152.     Three credit hours.  N.    CHILDERS
BI163f    The Cellular Basis of Life      An examination of cells as the fundamental unit of life. Aspects of evolutionary biology, cell biology, molecular biology, and genetics are discussed. A major objective is development of the intellectual tools to be able to ask and answer interesting biological questions. The objectives of the laboratory are to allow each student to design and conduct experiments, to analyze and present data, to write accurate scientific papers, and to critically evaluate the scientific literature.     Four credit hours.  N,Lb.    ANGELINI, HANNUM, PECK
BI164s    Evolution and Diversity      An introduction to the theory of evolution and to the diversity of organisms. Topics will include the theory of natural selection, transmission genetics, speciation, and the adaptive radiation of all domains and kingdoms of organisms. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite:  Biology 163.     Four credit hours.  N,Lb.    WILSON
[BI176]    Exercise Physiology      Listed as Biochemistry 176.     Three credit hours.  N,Lb.  
[BI211]    Taxonomy of Flowering Plants      An overview of evolutionary relationships among flowering plants and their nearest living relatives, and the study of evolutionary processes leading to those relationships. Students will prepare a collection of plant specimens from the local flora, learn to recognize important plant families, use technical keys to identify plants, and become familiar with analytical methods for constructing and evaluating phylogenetic hypotheses. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite:  Biology 164.     Four credit hours.  
[BI214]    Plant Physiology      The essential mechanisms of plant function. Students will learn about plant-water relations, mineral nutrition, photosynthesis, respiration, nitrogen fixation, and stress physiology through lectures and class discussion, addressing the importance of these physiological processes in the context of both agricultural and natural ecosystems. The laboratory portion focuses on developing skills in experimental design, good laboratory technique, and proper interpretation of data, and it entails presentation of the results of experiments in the form of a scientific paper and an oral presentation. Prerequisite:  Biology 164.     Four credit hours.  
BI223f    Science and Baseball      Explores principles of statistics, probability, evolution, animal behavior, physiology, psychology, and physics using examples drawn from baseball. Statistics problem sets, discussions of assigned readings, and posting viewpoints on controversial topics on a class blog will allow students to improve their critical analysis and scientific thinking skills. Students will also be exposed to principles of evolution, animal behavior, physiology, and physics. Credit cannot be earned for both this course and Biology 123. Prerequisite:  Sophomore or higher standing.     Four credit hours.  N.    WILSON
BI225s    Immunology      An introduction to the cellular and molecular components of immune recognition and effector responses against pathogens, with emphasis on the human immune system. Topics will include immune deficiency, allergy, and autoimmunity. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite:  Biology 164.     Four credit hours.    HANNUM
BI227f    Cell Biology      All living organisms consist of at least one cell. A comprehensive overview of eukaryotic cell biology, covering topics such as metabolism, cellular structure, cell-to-cell communication, and gene regulation. Learning strategies will include lecture, discussion, and small group work. Laboratory exercises will be aimed at familiarizing students with techniques commonly encountered in cell biology research labs, including cell culture, microscopy, flow cytometry, and mathematical modeling. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite:  Biology 164.     Four credit hours.    MITCHELL
BI237f    Woody Plants      Introduction to anatomy, physiology, reproduction, and ecology of woody plants. Field trips emphasize identification and ecology; laboratory sessions focus on structure and function; one laboratory includes a Saturday field trip. Prerequisite:  Biology 164.     Four credit hours.    STONE
BI246f    Parasitology      A study of parasitic organisms with a focus on eukaryotic parasites of animals. General principles including advantages and challenges of the parasitic life strategy will be introduced, then applied to parasites from a variety of phylogenetic backgrounds with a particular emphasis on medically relevant organisms. Current research in the field will be discussed, highlighting articles that address possible preventive and therapeutic approaches to parasites that cause human disease. Prerequisite:  Biology 164.     Three credit hours.    PECK
BI248f    Microbiology      Provides an understanding of the nature and diversity of microorganisms and viruses and the roles they play in the biosphere. Emphasis will be on the microbe itself—its functional, ecological, and evolutionary relationships—as well as the activities it carries out that are of interest to humans. The approach will be fundamental, stressing principles, but with considerable emphasis on how these principles are applied to practical problems in medicine, industry, and the environment. Credit cannot be earned for both this course and Biology 238. Prerequisite:  Biology 164 (prerequisite), Chemistry 141 or 145 (may be taken concurrently).     Four credit hours.    F. FEKETE
[BI254]    Marine Invertebrate Zoology      A survey of the major phyla of free-living marine invertebrates and the study of the evolutionary relationships of those groups. Students will learn to classify marine invertebrates and to understand their role in marine communities. They will work collaboratively to produce Wiki accounts on topics of current interest in marine invertebrates. Each student will give a talk on a topic of her/his choice based on a critical survey of the primary literature. A comprehensive lab practical will test the students' mastery of marine invertebrate morphology. Prerequisite:  Biology 164.     Four credit hours.  
[BI257]    Winter Ecology      Study of the diverse adaptations plants and animals use to survive the stresses of the winter environment. Students will learn general principles of heat transfer, basic principles of weather, changes of state of water in the winter (snow, frost, rime, sleet), and identification of winter plants and animal signs. Teams will undertake extensive fieldwork to gather data to test explicit hypotheses, to analyze the data, and to present the results. Each student will give a talk to the class on the results of a journal article and prepare a critical analysis of an article on winter ecology. A comprehensive lab practical will test each student's mastery of winter plant and animal identification. Prerequisite:  Biology 164 and permission of the instructor.     Three credit hours.  
[BI259]    Plants of the Tropics      An intensive three and one half week course that will focus on tropical plant biology in Costa Rica. Emphasis will be on the physiology and ecology of plants in both wild and agricultural settings. The importance of plants and agriculture for tropical Latin American cultures will also be addressed. We will visit two distinct environments in Costa Rica: a lowland tropical rain forest (La Selva Biological Reserve), and a tropical dry forest (Santa Rosa National Park). Students will complete a field research project during the final week. Cost: $2,300. Limited scholarship funds may be available. Prerequisite:  Biology 164 and permission of the instructor.     Three credit hours.  
BI263f    Terrestrial Ecology      An examination of ecological concepts applied to individuals, populations, and communities of plants and animals in terrestrial environments. Students will acquire a conceptual and theoretical understanding of population dynamics, species interactions, the structure and diversity of ecological communities, and biogeography. Students will explore primary literature in ecology, learn techniques for designing and conducting ecological studies in the field, and identify connections between ecology and other subdisciplines such as physiology, genetics, and evolution. Students will be expected to attend one weekend field trip. Prerequisite:  Biology 164.     Four credit hours.    COLLINS
[BI264]    Pills, Potions, and Poisons      Listed as Biochemistry 264.     Three credit hours.  N.  
BI265j    Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology      Designed especially for students interested in health professions (e.g., physician, nurse, dentist, allied health), and for anyone who wishes to learn more about how the human body works. Students will understand how physiological functions are performed by specific anatomical structures, and that these functions follow physical and chemical principles. They will also learn anatomical terms used to describe body sections, regions, and relative positions, and about the organ systems in the human body and how these systems work together. Lecture and laboratory. Credit cannot be earned for both this course and Biology 275. Prerequisite:  Biology 131 or 163 or equivalent.     Three credit hours.  N.    KLEPACH
BI271f    Introduction to Ecology      Listed as Environmental Studies 271. Prerequisite:  Biology 131 or 164.     Four credit hours.  N,Lb.    COLE
BI274f    Neurobiology      Discussion of the molecular and cellular fundamentals of neurophysiology and neuroanatomy. Topics include structure and function of neurons, molecular basis of signaling and communication within and between neurons, sensory and motor systems, and mechanisms of learning and memory. The lab portion involves acquiring skills in electrophysiology (including electrode construction and testing on animal models), effects of modulators and anesthetics on electrophysiology of cardiac activity, and an independent research project. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite:  Biology 164.     Four credit hours.    AHMAD
BI275s    Human Physiology      A study of human homeostasis and mechanisms of disease. Topics include endocrinology, autonomic nervous system, osmoregulation, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, renal physiology, and reproduction. Lecture and laboratory. Students cannot earn credit for both this course and Biology 265, nor can they earn credit for BI275 if they have previously taken Biochemistry 362. Prerequisite:  Biology 164.     Four credit hours.    TILDEN
[BI276]    Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy      Comparative studies of basic vertebrate anatomical systems and their structural, functional, and evolutionary relationships among the major vertebrate groups. Laboratories emphasize comparisons of anatomical structure across different vertebrate species through dissection. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite:  Biology 164.     Four credit hours.  
BI279s    Genetics      The mechanisms of inheritance, with emphasis on experimental findings. The physical and chemical bases for the behavior of genes, and applications of genetic principles to society. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite:  Biology 164.     Four credit hours.    ANGELINI
BI287j    Impact of Climate Change on Ocean Life      Listed as Environmental Studies 287.     Three credit hours.  N.    EMERSON
BI297j    Diversity and Function of Life in Marine Ecosystems      The diversity and biological activities of oceanic life will be explored for a broad range of functional groups across contrasting marine ecosystems: open oceans, coastal oceans, polar seas, deep-sea hydrothermal vents, and coral reefs. Major course themes will include 1) the role of biodiversity in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems, 2) linkages between the microbial world and higher trophic levels, 3) management of living marine resources, and 4) development of 'blue' (ocean-based) biotechnology. Participants will gain a working knowledge of the major forms and functions of marine life, the biological processes they carry out, the ecosystem services they provide, and emerging opportunities in 'blue' biotechnology. Prerequisite:  Biology 131 or 163.     Three credit hours.  N.    COUNTWAY
[BI306]    Topics in Epidemiology      Listed as Mathematics 306.     Four credit hours.  
[BI315]    Animal Cells, Tissues, and Organs      A study of how cells are organized into tissues and organs in animals. Class discussions focus on critically analyzing tissue disorders as a means of understanding normal tissue function. Class assignments focus on developing problem-solving skills and analyzing medical case studies. Laboratories investigate the microanatomy of mammalian tissues and the pathology of organ systems. Students learn to articulate the important aspects of tissue biology and pathology. Prerequisite:  Biology 164 and Chemistry 142 and junior standing.     Four credit hours.  
[BI319]    Conservation Biology      Listed as Environmental Studies 319.     Four credit hours.  
BI320s    Evolutionary Analysis      An examination of the mechanisms of evolution at single and multiple loci, including natural selection, genetic drift, and inbreeding. Reconstruction of the evolutionary history of both organisms and genes. Applications to human health and conservation biology. Prerequisite:  Biology 164 and junior or higher standing.     Three credit hours.    STONE
BI325f    Advanced Immunology      In-depth exploration of topics in immunology through reading and discussion of primary literature. Focuses on several main topics per semester, with an emphasis on the human immune system and human health. Students will learn to communicate their understanding of basic and clinical immunology research to others through class discussions and a formal presentation. The laboratory focuses on enhancing students' laboratory skills through a semester-long research project that will result in a scientific paper. Optional fourth credit for laboratory. Prerequisite:  Biology 225.     Three credit hours.    HANNUM
[BI332]    Developmental Biology      The study of the formation and growth of individual organisms focusing on experimental evidence from many different species. An examination of developmental processes as they relate to morphology, physiology, biochemistry and cell processes, classical and molecular genetics, and evolution. Students will learn the history and methods of developmental biology; the molecular and cellular context of development; the descriptive embryology of various model organisms; and how to critically evaluate data, develop a hypothesis, and design experiments to address a novel question in development. Fourth credit hour for laboratory. Prerequisite:  Biology 164 and junior or higher standing.     Three or four credit hours.  
BI334s    Ornithology      A broad survey of the biology of birds including their evolutionary history, morphology, physiology, flight adaptations, behavior, vocalizations, nesting, life history, conservation, and phylogeny. Students will prepare three critiques of the primary literature on particular controversial topics in ornithology. An independent research project (groups of one to four students) is required and will be presented in the form of a poster. A lab practical will test each student's knowledge of skeletal, feather, and internal anatomy. The final exam will be a test of visual and aural identification of all the species found during the field trips. Prerequisite:  Biology 164, and junior standing.     Four credit hours.    WILSON
BI343f    Environmental Change      Listed as Environmental Studies 343.     Four credit hours.    MCCLENACHAN
BI348s    Pathogenic Bacteriology      Objectives are to provide an understanding of 1) the nature and diversity of pathogenic bacteria, 2) the roles they play as infectious agents of disease, and 3) the mechanisms of the mammalian defense against infectious disease. The approach will be fundamental, stressing principles, but with considerable emphasis on how these principles are applied to practical problems in medicine and public health. Credit cannot be earned for both this course and Biology 238. Prerequisite:  Biology 248, Chemistry 141 or 145, and Chemistry 142 (may be taken concurrently).     Three credit hours.    F. FEKETE
BI352s    Advanced and Applied Ecology      Listed as Environmental Studies 352.     Four credit hours.    COLE
[BI354]    Marine Ecology      A study of the interactions that determine the distribution and abundance of marine organisms. Emphasis will be on North Atlantic communities. One weekend field trip to the coast for all students. Fourth credit hour for laboratory. Prerequisite:  Junior standing, Biology 164 and either Biology or Environmental Studies 271.     Three or four credit hours.  
BI356s    Aquatic Ecology      Listed as Environmental Studies 356.     Four credit hours.    BRUESEWITZ
BI358j    Ecological Field Study in Belize      Listed as Environmental Studies 358.     Three credit hours.    COLE, RUEGER
BI362f    Medical Biochemistry      Listed as Biochemistry 362.     Four credit hours.    MILLARD
BI366s    The Environment and Human Health      Listed as Environmental Studies 366.     Four credit hours.  N.    CARLSON
BI367f    Biochemistry of the Cell I      Listed as Biochemistry 367.     Four or five credit hours.    RICE
BI368s    Biochemistry of the Cell II      Listed as Biochemistry 368. Prerequisite:  Biochemistry 367. Biochemistry 367 laboratory is prerequisite to Biology 368 laboratory.     Four or five credit hours.    MILLARD
BI373s    Animal Behavior      An examination of animal behavior from a biological perspective. Topics include the control, development, function, and evolution of behavior. Fourth credit hour for laboratory. Prerequisite:  Biology 164 and junior standing.     Three or four credit hours.    BEVIER
BI374s    Advanced Neurobiology      An in-depth discussion of the principles and current research in various fields of neurobiology at the molecular and cellular level through extensive review of primary literature. Topics include neurodevelopment (axon guidance), regeneration (stem cells), disorders (neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric), and behavior. Students will discuss and present a topic of their choice and interest. The (optional) lab will involve experiments with fluorescence microscopy, neuronal morphology through GFP labeling, animal models of olfaction, paralysis, neurodegenerative diseases, and an independent research project. Prerequisite:  Biology 274.     Three or four credit hours.    AHMAD
BI375f    Comparative Animal Physiology      The study of diversity of animal function. We will use physiological, cellular, and molecular approaches to explore structural and functional relationships of animals to their environments. Topics include respiration, water balance, endocrinology, metabolism, circulation, and thermoregulation. Through lecture and textbook material, quantitative modeling, and an exploration of primary literature, students will gain an understanding of animal adaptation to the environment. Prerequisite:  Biology 164.     Three credit hours.    TILDEN
BI376s    Development, Genes and Evolution      Evolutionary developmental biology investigates the intersections of development, genetics, and evolution. We will present an overview of these subjects, followed by ideas and methodologies that emerge from their synthesis. Topics include plasticity, polyphenism, gene networks, constraint, parallel evolution, evolvability, among others. Students will (1) become familiar with the history and evidence of these concepts, (2) understand the arguments for and criticisms of their roles in evolution, (3) practice discussion, peer review, and presentation of these and related topics. Prerequisite:  Biology 279.     Three credit hours.    ANGELINI
BI378s    Molecular Biology      Listed as Biochemistry 378.     Four credit hours.    JOHNSON
BI382s    Ecological Modeling      Examines the development and application of models that form the basis for theoretical ecology. Students will use model-building approaches to inform their understanding of fundamental ecological principles, exploring topics such as spatial and temporal dynamics of populations, competition and predation, and community composition and diversity. They will also learn statistical approaches for modeling data using large-scale, long-term datasets. Includes a lab in which students combine modeling with empirical approaches to generate and test predictions in population and community ecology. Prerequisite:  Biology 263 or 271 or Environmental Studies 271, and Mathematics 212.     Four credit hours.    COLLINS
[BI392]    The Cell Cycle and Cancer      A detailed investigation of the cellular mechanisms that control the cell cycle and how defects in these systems lead to cancer. In addition, complexities of diagnosing, treating, and living with cancer are considered. A broad combination of detailed content provided by primary and secondary literature, student-led discussions, creative essays, and a detailed oral presentation. Prerequisite:  Biology 164, Chemistry 142, and junior standing.     Three credit hours.  
BI398s    The Biology of Cancer      Cancer is the leading cause of death in Americans under the age of 85. Annually, the disease costs the United States more than $200B. Students will examine the public health impacts of cancer, the biological basis of the disease, and current advances in diagnostics and therapeutics. Class sessions will include lecture, discussion, and presentation, with focus on the analysis and critique of scientific research. During an optional discussion section (for a fourth credit), students will survey different types of science writing dealing with cancer, from popular press to specialized, professional literature. Prerequisite:  One 200-level biology lab course (BI225, 227, 274, 275, or 279).     Three or four credit hours.    MITCHELL
BI401f, 402s    Biology Seminar      Participation in selected department seminars during the fall or spring semester. Seminars will focus on student-led discussions of readings from the primary literature and will also include playing host to several outside speakers. Required of all senior biology majors. Prerequisite:  Senior standing.     One credit hour.    FACULTY
BI451s    Applied and Environmental Microbiology      Students will develop and conduct an independent research project to explore microbes and how they affect, and are affected by, their environments. A particular focus will be learning about and employing modern biochemical and genetic techniques to analyze microbes in extreme environments. Students will analyze scientific literature, conduct experiments, and interpret data. Results and data analysis will be disseminated in the form of oral and written reports. Prerequisite:  Biology 248 or 279.     Four credit hours.    PECK
[BI452]    Behavioral and Physiological Ecology      Advanced study of the behavior and physiology of animals in ecological and evolutionary contexts. Topics include how individuals adjust to environmental changes and how particular behavior patterns contribute to an animal's chances of survival and its reproductive success. Extensive review of primary literature. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite:  Biology 263, 271, 275, 357, or 373, or Environmental Studies 271.     Four credit hours.  
BI474j    Neuroscience Research      A laboratory-intensive course designed to familiarize students with modern cellular and molecular approaches to neuroscience research. Two weeks spent at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, with the rest of the time spent on campus. Prerequisite:  Biology 274 and permission of the instructor.     Three credit hours.    TILDEN
BI483f, 484s    Honors Research in Biology      Research conducted under the guidance of a faculty member and focused on an approved topic leading to the writing of an honors thesis and an oral presentation of the research results. Prerequisite:  Senior standing as a biology major and permission of the department chair.     One to four credit hours.    FACULTY
BI491f, 492s    Independent Study      Individual projects in areas where the student has demonstrated the interest and competence necessary for independent work. Prerequisite:  Permission of a faculty sponsor.     One to four credit hours.    FACULTY
BI494f    Problems in Environmental Science      Listed as Environmental Studies 494.     Five credit hours.    BRUESEWITZ