110 Supplemental Biology
This biology course emphasizes learning strategies and critical thinking skills as applied to the curriculum of Biology 150. Objectives of the course are met through additional readings, problem sets, brief written assignments, introduction of discipline-specific writing styles, projects (including individual and/or group oral presentation), and library research. Assignments include new content that complements introductory biology. Offered annually. Prerequisites: concurrent enrollment in BIO 150 and permission of instructor.
This course explores contemporary biological issues related to health and the environment, with the goal of fostering informed citizens prepared for current biological debates. Students learn the relevant biological principles in lecture and lab followed by appropriate lab or field research. Specific topics vary from year to year and may include emerging diseases, cardiovascular health, genetics, specific groups of organisms, behavior, and environmental dynamics. The course includes lectures plus one two-hour laboratory per week.
This course focuses on the wonderous actions of the human body. Students learn how several vital body functions occur subconsciously, such as the rhythmic beating of the heart or the digestion of nutrients after a meal. Topics include how the brain works, how muscles contract, and how kidneys produce urine, and the remarkable biology associated with reproduction. Students use this understanding to elucidate diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Students attend class plus one two-hour laboratory per week. Offered annually.
Issues of women’s biology including views of the evolving female and biological determinism are examined. Core material covers anatomy, development, the biological basis of gender, reproduction, sexual response, the menstrual cycle and aging, and aspects of women’s health such as eating disorders, cancers, and hormonal treatments. Students participate in significant amounts of group work and oral presentation. The course is open to both men and women. Offered during Interim. Counts toward women’s and gender studies major and concentration.
Integrated Chem/Bio I (CH/BI) 125 : Chemical Concepts with Biological Applications
This course introduces chemical concepts that are important for students pursuing a study of chemistry or biology. Topics include atomic structure, the periodic table, bonding interactions within and between particles, water and its solutions, biological membranes, chemical reaction types, chemical stoichiometry, equilibrium systems, acids and bases, introduction to protein structure. Examples are often pulled from the realm of biological molecules and processes. Students attend three classes and one three-hour laboratory each week. Prerequisites: high school biology, chemistry and physics. Placement via online placement exam is required. Concurrent registration in Mathematics 120 or 121 is recommended. Offered annually in the fall semester.
Integrated Chem/Bio II (CH/BI) 126: Thermodynamics and Kinetics with Bio Relevance
This course introduces physical chemistry with an emphasis on thermodynamics and kinetics of biologically relevant systems. Topics include probability as the driving force for chemical reactions; the relationship between chemical bonding energetics, entropy, and equilibria; oxidation-reduction reactions and electrochemistry; and rates of reactions, including enzyme-catalyzed reactions. Laboratory experiments and activities illustrate lecture topics and introduce new concepts. Prerequisites: CH/BI 125 and Mathematics 120 or 121. Offered during Interim.
In this course, designed as an introduction to genetics and molecular biology for non-biology majors, students learn about molecular biology techniques and the use of molecular biology in medicine, forensics and agriculture. Students discuss topics such as human genetic diseases, mutations, DNA cloning, DNA fingerprinting, eugenics, gene therapy, stem cell research, and genetic privacy. Each issue is addressed on scientific and ethical levels. Offered during Interim.
Water is a beautifully simple molecule that is essential to survival (precious). Rivers have run dry, aquifers are overdrawn, and pollution is widespread (precarious). Much of the world lacks access to safe drinking water or water for basic sanitation, and water wars have been predicted (problematic). Students examine water from a scientific perspective – chemical, physiological, ecological – and delve into the political, economic, and societal implications of water. Offered occasionally during Interim.
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 occasionally during Interim. Not open to first-year students. Counts toward biology major.
Why do biologists do what they do? How is biology actually done? Students investigate the reasons biological science is done the way it is today. Students have the opportunity to design and perform their own experiments while learning the process of scientific investigation. Designed primarily for non-majors. Offered during Interim.
The study of the anatomy and physiology of the human body is founded on a thorough understanding of the structure and function of cells and tissues. Students attend lectures plus one 3-hour lab per week. Nursing and kinesiology majors may pre-register for this course. This course may not be taken after completion of CH/BI 227 or BIO 227, both of which serve as a prerequisite for BIO 243: Human Anatomy and Physiology. Offered in the fall semester.
This course is the gateway for the biology major, guiding students as they develop the context, skills, and modern framework on which to continue their study of biology. Students explore the history, evolution, and diversity of life in the context of genetics and comparative genomics. The laboratory emphasizes question-asking, problem-solving, and exploring biodiversity, and students have multiple opportunities to practice and communicate their science. Students attend lectures plus one 3-hour laboratory/discussion per week. Offered each semester.
Biology/Environmental Studies 226: Conservation Biology
Conservation biology focuses on the study of biological diversity. Students examine why we should be concerned about the number and types of species on earth, what factors threaten the survival of species and how we can conserve them. Using principles of ecology and evolution, with input from other disciplines, students gain a better understanding of the impact of humans on biodiversity and the importance of responsible environmental decision-making. Offered annually.
This course provides a comprehensive overview of cellular structure and function including cellular compartments, macromolecular structures, and life processes such as energy and material flux, cell division, and control mechanisms. Students learn current and/or historical evidence and methodology (e.g., microscopy, isolation procedures, and probes). Laboratory experiences provide opportunities for qualitative and quantitative observations of cellular structure and function. Students place their work in the context of current research through examination of relevant literature and formal presentations. Prerequisites: CHEM 125 or CHEM 121/CHEM 123 or CH/BI 125; BIO 150 is strongly preferred. Offered each semester. Counts toward biomolecular science concentration (for students through class of 2016).
Integrated Chem/Bio III (CH/BI) 227: Molecular and Cellular Biology
This course builds on the principles learned in CH/BI 125/126 and explores how chemistry informs major principles of cellular and molecular biology. Topics include cell structure, metabolism, movement, signaling, and division. The course emphasizes problem-solving, quantitative reasoning, the scientific method, and scientific writing through lectures, discussions, readings, writing assignments, and lab work. Students attend three classes and one three-hour laboratory each week. Prerequisite: CH/BI 126. Counts toward “Cell Biology” core category. Offered annually in the spring semester.
Biology/Environmental Studies 228: Environmental Health
Human health is affected by the biological environment, a teeming world of parasites and diseases, and the physical environment — the water, air, and landscapes that we inhabit. Human interactions with the environment have changed rapidly, as human populations grow, travel increases, and ecosystems are altered. This course touches upon traditional environmental topics such as air and water quality, and integrates newer public health challenges such as emerging diseases and food-borne illnesses. Prerequisite: an introductory science course.
Microbiology examines the morphology, composition, metabolism, and genetics of microorganisms with emphasis on bacteria and viruses. Students examine the dynamic impact of microbes on humans, the immune response, and the role of microbes in the environment. Students attend lectures plus one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIO 143 or BIO 150, and one Chemistry course. Offered annually.
Genetics examines relationships between genotype and phenotype in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms from classical and molecular perspectives. Lectures in this core course cover ideas and technologies contributing to understanding mechanisms of gene transmission and regulation. Laboratories utilize model organisms to investigate classical and molecular modes of inheritance. Students attend lectures plus one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIO 150, and CHEM 125 or CHEM 121/CHEM 123 or CH/BI 125. Counts as “genetics” core category. Offered each semester. Counts toward neuroscience concentration.
Students focus on the natural history of Upper Midwest vertebrates and phylogenetic, morphological, and functional relationships of these animals. Laboratories include identification, and morphology. During field trips, students document bird migrations, amphibian chorusing, and other animal activities. Independent projects explore topics ranging from bluebird nesting behavior to thermal conductivity and insulation in animals. Students attend lectures plus one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIO 150. Counts as “comparative organismal biology” core category.
Students journey toward greater understanding of the human body through an integrated study of the structure of the body (anatomy) and how organs such as the brain, heart, and kidney perform their remarkable functions (physiology). The course is designed primarily for students intending careers in the health sciences. Students attend lectures plus one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: BIO 143, or BIO 150 and BIO 227, or CH/BI 227. Offered annually. Counts towards kinesiology major and neuroscience concentration.
How do animals do what they need to do to survive in all sorts of environments? Why are others able to exist in only very particular conditions? These are the sorts of questions students explore as they navigate the basic systems that provide circulation, ventilation, movement, digestion, and waste removal. Students look at how these processes are coordinated by the nervous and endocrine systems and how they vary across the animal kingdom to help organisms survive in dry, hot deserts, in dark, deep oceans, and places in between. In the weekly three-hour lab, they conduct quantitative physiological measurements to assess functions such as temperature control, respiration rates, and salt and water balance. Prerequisites: BIO 150 and BIO 227 or CH/BI 227 recommeded . Counts as “comparative organismal biology” core category. Counts toward neuroscience concentration (for students through class of 2016).
This course traces the path of invertebrate evolution from single-celled protozoans to the most primitive chordates. Emphasis is placed upon major breakthroughs in design that enable organisms to exploit new ecological habitats. Laboratories are designed to introduce students to the major invertebrate groups via observation of living animals and through dissection. Students attend lectures plus one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIO 150. Offered alternate years. Counts as “comparative organismal biology” core category. Counts toward neuroscience concentration.
This course begins with an in-depth look at a plant cell and its physiology, followed by a discussion of whole plant physiology as it relates to cellular functions. Students attend lectures plus one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Bio 150, and CHEM 125 and CHEM 126. BIO 227 or CH/BI 227 recommended. Counts as “comparative organismal biology” core category.
Plants are a diverse and important group of organisms. This course considers their evolution, emphasizing the morphology and anatomy of flowering plants. Students learn about basic techniques of data collection and analysis to investigate plant evolution: identifying plants, dissecting and staining plant structures, and using computer-based taxonomic statistics programs. Students attend lectures plus one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIO 150. Counts as “comparative organismal biology” core category.
Ecology focuses on the study of the interrelationships that determine the distribution and abundance of organisms. This core course examines organism-environment interactions and the study of populations, communities and ecosystems. Consideration is given to use of ecological studies in ecosystem management. Students attend lectures plus one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIO 150. Counts as “ecology” core category. Offered each semester. Counts toward environmental studies major (all tracks) and concentration.
What happened to the dinosaurs? Can some human congenital heart defects be explained by reference to cardiovascular systems of diving turtles? Examining the origin and evolution of vertebrates, comparing morphology across vertebrate taxa and examining selective factors leading to modern forms is of value to health science students, graduate studies in biology, and people who like dinosaurs. Students attend lectures plus one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIO 150. Counts as “comparative organismal biology” core category.
The ability to reproduce is one of the key features of a living organism. Studying the biology of reproduction requires a synthesis of information and concepts from a wide range of fields within biology. This course addresses reproduction at the genetic, organismal, and population levels. Laboratory work adds a valuable investigative component to the course, and social/psychological issues are addresssed throughout. Prerequisites: BIO 150, or permission of instructor. Counts as “comparative organismal biology” core category. Counts toward women’s and gender studies major and concentration if approved by petition.
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 permission of instructor. Offered during Interim.
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 231, and BIO 291. Apply through the Office of International and Off-Campus Studies. Offered during Interim.
Biology/Environmental Studies 286: Tropical Ecology in Costa Rica (abroad)
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.
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 permission of instructor. Offered during Interim.
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 permission of instructor. Offered during Interim.
For science majors, learning to read the primary literature and other professional sources is an important transition from classroom learning to post-graduate endeavors. Students read, present, and discuss scientific literature in a field selected by participating faculty. The goal is to garner sufficient expertise to allow critical analysis of the particular field. Requires permission of instructor. May be repeated if topics are different.
Internships are designed to provide career-testing opportunities. Students interested in an internship should consult with the Piper Center for Vocation and Career, enlist a faculty supervisor, and complete an internship application. Internships do not count toward the biology major requirements.
Independent study allows students to study in an area not covered in the regular biology course offerings. The student undertakes substantial independent study in a defined biological field, meets regularly with faculty supervisor, and prepares some form of presentation of the material learned. The student must obtain permission of supervisor and complete an independent study form available from the Office of the Registrar and Academic Advising or its Web site.
Students apply computational techniques and tools to the analysis of biological data. From mining large genetic sequence databases to simulating population dynamics, computer programming is rapidly becoming essential to the study of a broad range of biological systems. This course introduces computer programming to biologists and allows for the creative application of this skill to an array of biological questions, with an emphasis on advanced genetics topics. Prerequisite: BIO 233.
The cell is the fundamental unit of life, capable of growth, motility, signal transduction, and functional specialization. Students study features common to cells: their macromolecular components, metabolism, membrane transport, motility, signal mechanisms, and intracellular trafficking, seeing how these are elaborated in cells with particular specializations. Research techniques suitable for cell biology are emphasized. Students attend lectures plus one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIO 227 and BIO 233, or permission of instructor. Counts toward neuroscience concentration.
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: three courses in biology or consent of instructor. Offered occasionally during Interim.
Biology/Environmental Studies 350: Biogeochemistry: Theory and Application
The study of global change and human environmental impacts requires students to link concepts from biology, chemistry, and physics. Students investigate these links by exploring current theories in biogeochemistry, with an emphasis on understanding the feedback between physical and ecological processes and the coupling of multiple element cycles. Laboratory activities focus on a practical exploration of the methods biogeochemists use, including experience with a variety of instruments. Prerequisite: Any level II biology, chemistry, or physics course or permission of instructor.
Limnology is the study of inland waters and includes their physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. The course focuses on biotic processes and interactions set within the abiotic habitat of lakes and streams. Students examine current management problems facing freshwater environments by focusing on human-induced changes to aquatic habitats and their biotic consequences. Investigative laboratories introduce students to aquatic habitats and biological processes within them. Prerequisites: BIO 261, or permission of instructor.
Molecular biology techniques are bringing about a revolution in understanding living organisms. Students study the structure and function of macromolecules, methods currently used to clone and analyze genes, and new insights into basic biological processes which these methods provide. The course uses lecture and discussion topics with one project-oriented three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: BIO 233.
This course focuses on learning modern field and laboratory methods to test ecological hypotheses. Students work on group and individual projects to collect and analyze data and give oral and written presentations on projects. Class periods focus on discussion of primary literature and project results. Class trips include visits to local natural areas. Students attend lecture/discussion plus one four-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: BIO 261. Counts toward environmental studies major (natural science track).
The last decade has unveiled the mechanism by which a single cell gives rise to an embryo rich in pattern and cellular diversity. This course traces the use of surgical, genetic, and molecular techniques as they have uncovered the developmental blueprints encoding the universal body plan fundamental to all metazoan life. Students attend lectures plus one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: BIO 233. Counts toward neuroscience concentration.
Students work on special projects during one afternoon of laboratory per week. Each student must have the sponsorship of a faculty member. This course does not count toward the biology major. P/N only. Offered each semester. May be repeated if topic is different.
Immunology focuses on the structure, development and function of the immune system. The course explores the molecular and cellular basis of the immune responses. The application of immunological principles to allergy, autoimmunity, AIDS, transplantation, and cancer are included. Students attend lectures plus a two-hour discussion per week. Prerequisite: BIO 227 and BIO 233.
The idea of evolution forms the foundation for all modern biological thought. This course examines the processes of evolution in detail (selection, genetic drift, mutation, migration) and studies the methods by which biologists reconstruct the history of life on the planet. Advanced topics are explored through reading and discussion of journal articles. The social and historical context of evolutionary theory is discussed. Prerequisite: BIO 233.
From tiny ion channels to the basis for learning, neuroscience is a rapidly developing area. Using texts, reviews, and current literature, students examine in depth the fundamental unit of the nervous system, the neuron. The goals are to understand how neurons accomplish their unique functions: electrical signaling, synaptic transmission, and directed growth and remodeling. Prerequisites: BIO 227 or CH/BI 227, and progress toward a major in any of the natural sciences.
This seminar course approaches the study of animal behavior from the blended viewpoints of evolutionary behavioral ecology and comparative psychology. Mechanisms of learning, cognition, and development, as well as aggression, territoriality, and mating are examined at the organismic and cellular level. A deeper understanding of the neural and environmental determinants of behavior in a wide variety of species helps students better understand themselves and their place in nature. Prerequisite: progress toward a major in any of the natural sciences. Counts toward neuroscience concentration.
Specific topics announced prior to each term are based on student interests and available staff. Class work includes comprehensive review of literature on the specific topic. Class meetings present topics in discussion format. Prerequisites: vary. May be repeated if topics are different. Counts toward environmental studies major (all tracks) and concentration when taught with environmental science focus and approved by chair.
Biology 394 is for students who have completed one internship (BIO 294) and wish to complete a second internship. Students interested in an internship should consult with the Piper Center for Vocation and Career, locate a faculty supervisor, and complete an internship form. Internships do not count toward the biology major requirements.
This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the faculty member in charge of the course and may relate to his/her research interests. Prerequisite: Determined by individual instructor. Offer based on department decision. May be offered as a 1.00 credit course or .50 credit course.
Independent research is offered for students dedicated to an in-depth research experience. In conjunction with a faculty supervisor, a student conceives and performs a research project leading to the writing of a major research paper and a poster presentation. Independent research requires permission of a supervisor, a secondary faculty reader of the paper, and completion of an independent research form available at the Office of the Registrar and Academic Advising or its Web site.