Off Campus and Non St.Olaf Biology Programs

Off Campus Biology Programs

The following biology classes/programs are offered through the Office of International and Off-Campus Studies. There is an application process for each of these courses. Please see the International and Off-Campus website for program costs, application instructions, and additional information. Not all courses are offered every year.

Field Paleontology in Florida – Bio 131
This course explores the natural history of our planet through the fossil record. Students learn from professional paleontologists and museum curators about how fossils are used in scientific research prior to embarking on a 10-day vertebrate fossil expedition in central Florida. The students then curate, catalog and interpret their data, using a large museum reference collection. Open only to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Offered periodically during Interim.
Water in Morocco: Precious, Precarious, and Problematic – Bio 253
This is a beautifully simple molecule that is essential for survival (precious). Rivers have run dry, aquifers are overdrawn, pollution is widespread, and, with climate change, desert is encroaching and rains are hard to predict (precarious). In Morocco, like much of the world, safe drinking water, water for basic sanitation, or water for agriculture, is in short supply and sometimes not available at all (problematic). Students examine water from a scientific perspective — chemical, physiological, ecological — and delve into the historical, political, economic, and social implications in Morocco — a country of diverse cultures and biotic zones from two oceans, mountain ranges, and the driest of dry deserts. Students learn through readings, lectures, student presentations, and field trips. This class is suitable for any student with sophomore standing. First-year students having completed Bio 150, or ES 137 may be considered. Counts toward biology major, environmental studies major (natural science elective), and Middle Eastern studies concentration.
Peruvian Medical Experience - Bio 284
This course is a service/learning experience. Week one is spent on campus learning basic clinical techniques, examining emerging disease, and studying existing health care issues. Students spend three weeks in Cuzco, Peru, assessing patient needs in a public hospital, a homeless shelter, orphanages, and a small village. Week four involves discussion and writing reflective journals. Prerequisites: BIO 150 or BIO 126 or BIO 231, and BIO 291. Apply through the Office of International and Off-Campus Studies. Offered during Interim (for students through class of 2016).
Tropical Ecology - Bi/ES 286
This course offers students the opportunity to study first-hand the most diverse ecosystems on earth. In this field-oriented course students explore lowland rain forest, montane forest, dry forest, and coastal and agricultural ecosystems through projects and field trips. Students read and discuss texts and primary literature specific to ecology, evolution, conservation, and agricultural practices of each area, and keep reflective journals. Prerequisite: one science course. Offered in alternate years during Interim.
Island Biology in the Bahamas – Bio 287
Intensive study of the biology that created the Bahamas and that 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: BIO 150, or BIO 126, or permission of instructor. Offered during Interim.
Equatorial Biology – Bio 288
This course offers intensive field-biology experiences within three equatorial New World environments: the Amazon rainforest, the Andes cloud forests, and the Galapagos Islands. Students 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: BIO 150, or BIO 126, or permission of instructor. Offered during Interim.
Environmental Science in Australia and New Zealand
The flora, fauna, ecological habitats, human history and geology of Australia offer opportunities for study that are unique on our planet for their diversity. This program starts in Melbourne during heir late summer and moves northward into the warmer latitudes during the semester as their autumn season progresses. The program is on the move throughout the semester with stays ranging from two days to two weeks in a wide variety of places. Accommodations include university dormatories, hotels/motels, field stations and tent camping up to five days at two remote sites. All travel is in the eastern half of the country where the greatest diversity of natural habitats and human activity occur.The contrasting countryside ranges from white sandy beaches to dry bush inland to the tropical rainforests. The primitive mammalian fauna, over 600 species of Eucalyptus and the Great Barrier Reef provide outstanding examples of how biological organisms have adapted to this isolated continent and its seacoast.

The human history is no less fascinating. The aboriginal Australians have inhabited the countryside for the past 60,000 – 100,000 years and represent the oldest continuous culture still surviving in the world today. Students learn how their unique adaptations to a mostly harsh environment show remarkable innovation. They also study how the recent European invasion has significantly altered their lifestyle as well as affecting many environmental parameters. Australia, like all other continents on our planet, has serious environmental policy issues to face.

This site covers all the information you will need to know about the Environmental Science in Australia Program. It includes the official information from the booklet provided by the Office for International and Off-Campus Studies and a host of photographs from previous trips.


Non St. Olaf Biology Programs