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.

Bodies and Biomes in Arizona – Bio 130
What makes a human healthy? What makes an environment healthy? This course explores these questions in the Sonoran Desert and diverse nearby habitats. Students carry out labs and exercises on physiological challenges to and acclimation of the human body, and field research projects on ecology and adaptations of a plant or animal group of their choice. They synthesize these different activities through academic exploration of factors that influence and connect both human physiology and ecological adaption. Data for the field research projects is gathered while utilizing a wide variety of physical techniques, such as hiking, rock climbing, and caving. Offered every 2nd or 3rd Interim. Not open to first-year students. Counts toward biology major.

Adventures in Natural History – Bio 131

Winter Ecology – Bio 281
During this course offered at the University of Minnesota Biological Field Station at Itasca State Park, Minnesota, students learn through lectures, readings, laboratory work, and short field trips followed by extensive independent field research in a wide range of habitats. The first week is spent on campus and the remaining three weeks are spent at the field station. Apply through the office of International and Office-Campus Studies. Prerequisite: Biology 125 and 126, or Chemistry/Biology 125-126 and Biology 126. Offered during Interim in alternate years.
Desert Biology – Bio 282
Following introductory lectures on campus, the class travels on extended field trips to desert locations in Arizona and adjacent states. Students examine interrelationships of desert plants and animals, their adaptations to the harsh desert environment, and the role of primitive and modern humans in this ecosystem. Prerequisite: BIO 150 or BIO 126 or permission of instructor. Offered during Interim.
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.
Electron Microscopy – Bio 348
This course introduces students to intensive research at St. Olaf and the Boulder Laboratory for 3-D Electron Microscopy of Cells at the University of Colorado. In Boulder, students prepare samples for electron microscopy and immuno-gold Electron Microscopy, capture EM-images, and generate 3-D Tomograms. At St. Olaf students generate 3-D computer models of their datasets. Prerequisite: Biology 125.

Semester Long Off Campus Programs

Biology in South India
India is a vast country with tremendous opportunities to study ecology and ways in which humans practice health care and interact with the environment. This fall semester program in India offers up to 10 biology and environmental studies students a chance to work on two independent research projects at several sites in southern India . Possible topics will be in the areas of rural health care, leprosy, and TB, as well as vector-borne diseases, molecular biology, agriculture, elephant/wildlife ecology, mountain ecology, medicinal plants, and sustainable development.
The program starts with a four-week study and orientation session in Chennai and a rural setting that exposes students to India and Indian life. These class sessions and field trips introduce India’s history, philosophy, religion, music, customs and current politics, as well as the practical matters of getting around and getting along in India.
The program fulfills two biology electives, MCS-G and WRI requirements. Those students wanting Environmental Studies experiential or elective credit must request permission from the Chair of Environmental Studies in writing.
Environmental Science in Australia
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