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W. Herbert Wilson, Jr.
The Department of Biology
The Department of Biology, chosen this year as a major by over 200 students, provides strong backgrounds in both classical and modern biology. The departmental curriculum offers a broad and comprehensive investigation of the biological sciences through the study of plants, animals, and microorganisms at the molecular, cellular, organismal, and population levels of organization.... More »
Our facilities in the Arey Life Sciences Building and in the F. W. Olin Science Center are excellent and include technologically advanced classrooms, well-equipped teaching laboratories, student/faculty research laboratories, a cell culture laboratory, a DNA sequencing facility, a flow cytometer, an advanced microscopy suite, research greenhouses, environmental chambers, an isotope laboratory, and several microcomputer clusters. All laboratories are furnished with the necessary equipment to undertake sophisticated biological and environmental investigations. All facilities are available for student use, and all students are encouraged through course work and research to gain experience with this equipment during their careers at Colby. Our extensive collection of biological journals, monographs, and reference books is housed in the Allyn Smith Science Library located in the Olin Science Center.
The entire Mayflower Hill campus has been designated by the Maine legislature as a State Wildlife Management Area and a part of the woodland has been designated as a wildlife sanctuary. In the Belgrade Lakes area, Colby owns a preserve containing a kettle-hole bog that has been classified a Registered Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior. The department offers field-oriented courses that use these and other sites for biological investigations. Also, ecological field courses in south temperate or tropical locations are taught regularly during the January Program.
Requirements for the four major programs in biology have been designed to ensure that students establish a solid and broad background in each program. The required biology courses that apply to the 32 hours needed for the biology major include the introductory sequence; one course in field biology; a course in cell and molecular biology; and a seminar course during the senior year. Two semesters of mathematics and general chemistry are also required.
Students may elect a major in biology with a concentration in cell and molecular biology-biochemistry. In addition to the major requirements, this program requires courses in organic chemistry, molecular biology, and biochemistry. Students prepare for careers or graduate study in this rapidly expanding area. Students may elect a major in biology with a concentration in neurosciences. In addition to the general major requirements, this program requires courses in neurobiology and psychology. The program prepares students for careers or for graduate study in this fertile area of biological research.
Students may elect a major in biology with a concentration in ecology and evolution. In addition to the general major requirements, this program, with a strong emphasis on both fieldwork and theoretical analysis, requires courses in ecology and evolutionary biology. The program is designed to prepare students for careers or graduate study in these areas.
Faculty with expertise in many areas of modern biology direct student research as well as teach in the classroom and laboratory. Special topics tutorials, the Honors Research Program, independent projects, or internships in off-campus laboratories or at biological field stations can be undertaken during regular semesters or during a January Term. Qualified students may be invited to participate in faculty research projects during the summer or academic year.