Biological Sciences

Rachel Fink, Chair

Sue LaBarre, Academic Department Coordinator


106 Carr Laboratory
413-538-2149
https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/biologicalsciences

Overview and Contact Information

Our major provides many ways of looking at living things. Core courses introduce complementary perspectives on life. Advanced courses bring students to the edge of what we know, and provide a foundation for original work.

Research interests of the faculty include animal behavior, anatomy, biomechanics, cell biology, development, ecology, evolution, gene regulation, history of biology, human physiology, invasion biology, invertebrates, microbiology, molecular ecology, neurobiology, plant diversity, plant genetics, and symbiosis.

The department’s facilities include transmission electron, scanning electron, and fluorescence microscopes, image capture and processing equipment, a tissue culture room, a greenhouse, controlled environment chambers, molecular biology equipment, and several computer-equipped teaching laboratories.

See Also

Faculty

This area of study is administered by the Department of Biological Sciences:

Renae Brodie, Professor of Biological Sciences

Rachel Fink, Ida and Marion Van Natta Professor of Biological Sciences

Amy Frary, Professor of Biological Sciences

Gary Gillis, Professor of Biological Sciences; Associate Dean of Faculty; Director of the Science Center

Martha Hoopes, Professor of Biological Sciences

Stan Rachootin, David and Lucy Stewart Professor of Biological Sciences, Teaching Spring Only

Craig Woodard, Christianna Smith Professor of Biological Sciences

Sarah Bacon, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Teaching Fall Only

Jason Andras, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, On Leave 2018-2019

Patricia Brennan, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Amy Camp, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Rebeccah Lijek, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

André White, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Teaching Fall Only

Shannon Compton, Visiting Lecturer in Biological Sciences

Bill DeLuca, Visiting Lecturer in Biological Sciences

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 44 credits1:

Biological Sciences:
BIOL-145Introductory Biology 24
or BIOL-160 Integrated Introduction to Biology and Chemistry
or NEURO-100 Introduction to Neuroscience and Behavior
BIOL-200Introductory Biology II: How Organisms Develop4
BIOL-230Cell and Molecular Biology4
BIOL-223Ecology4
or BIOL-226 Evolution
12 additional credits at the 300-level in biology. 312
One additional course in Biological Sciences at any level4
Required Courses Outside of Biological Sciences:
CHEM-101General Chemistry I4
CHEM-201General Chemistry II4
One course in either calculus or statistics (e.g. MATH-101, MATH-102, MATH-203, STAT-140, STAT-240, etc.)4
Total Credits44

Additional Specifications

  • A total of five courses at the 200 and 300 levels are required to be taken with labs.
  • BIOL-295 and BIOL-395 do not count toward the minimum 32 credits in Biological Sciences, nor towards the five courses required to be taken with labs.

Requirements for the Minor

A minimum of 16 credits:

16 credits in Biological Sciences at the 200 and/or 300 level 116
Total Credits16

Students interested in pursuing licensure in the field of biological sciences can combine their course work in biological sciences with a minor in education. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requires specific subject matter knowledge within the biological sciences. In some instances course work in the major coincides with course work required for licensure, in other cases it does not. For specific course requirements for licensure within the major of Biology, please consult the Chair of the Biological Sciences department and your advisor. CHEM-312 is one of the recommended courses. For further information, also read the sections on the minor in education and Teacher Licensure.

Admission to the Licensure Program requires a formal application, as well as passing scores on the Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure (MTEL) in both the literacy component and the subject matter component. Interested students should schedule an initial advising appointment with Sarah Frenette in the Department of Psychology and Education, preferably by the middle of the sophomore year, to review program requirements and assist in planning course work.

Additional information about the Licensure Program, including application materials, can be found on the Teacher Licensure Program website

Course Advice

Credit in Biology towards the Science and Mathematics II Distribution Requirement

Departmental courses with laboratories satisfy the science and mathematics distribution requirement. Any off-campus biology course taken to satisfy the science and mathematics distribution requirement requirement must have a laboratory component. Courses that are introductions to professional specialties dependent on biology (e.g., nutrition or horticulture), or are addressed to technical certification (e.g., emergency medical technician), do not satisfy the science and mathematics distribution requirement.

Introductory Biology

The department offers introductory biology in two different forms. The BIOL-145 courses (e.g. BIOL-145AB, BIOL-145GW, etc.) are a liberal arts introduction to biology in a small-class atmosphere. Different sections emphasize different topics. BIOL-160, which must be taken concurrently with CHEM-160, offers an integrated introduction to biology and chemistry. Either one is an appropriate choice for students who are considering a major in biology, biochemistry, or environmental studies. Completion of any of these courses will allow a student to enroll in BIOL-200. Students are welcome to email the instructors to find out more about any of the introductory courses.

Course Advice for Majors

Majors are strongly encouraged to complete the following course work outside of biological sciences: Organic Chemistry (CHEM-202 and CHEM-302), as well as additional coursework in Physics and Computer Science

It is not difficult to major in Biological Sciences and go off-campus for one or two semesters. For instance, other places are better situated to study tropical rain forests, deserts, or the ocean. Students have also received credit toward the biology major for course work done in French at partner universities in Montpellier. Mount Holyoke College has special relationships with several other programs abroad. It is not safe to assume, however, that biology courses taken through any program off-campus will count toward requirements of the Biology major. Before enrolling in study away from the College, it is essential to talk about your goals and specific plans with the Chair of Biology or a designated faculty member.

Course Offerings

BIOL-145 Introductory Biology

BIOL-145AB Introductory Biology: 'Animal Bodies, Animal Functions'

Fall. Credits: 4

How are animal bodies built to deal with living on earth? In this course we will study the function of cells, organs, and organ systems that have evolved to help animals make their way through the physical and chemical environment. In lecture and in lab, we will consider the common needs of animals -- needs such as feeding, breathing, and reproducing -- and the diverse solutions they have devised. A range of life, from unicellular organisms to animals with backbones (including mammals), will be considered.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
S. Bacon
Restrictions: This course is limited to first-year students.
Coreq: BIOL-145ABL.

BIOL-145BN Introductory Biology: 'Introduction to Biological Inquiry'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

In this course students will explore the biological world from evolution to physiology to cellular dynamics, developing a basic understanding of how knowledge is generated. Laboratory experiences will help students acquire the skills necessary to conduct their own research and understand basic data analysis. Socially relevant science issues will generate discussion on the intersection of science and current events.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
The department
Restrictions: This course is limited to First-year and Sophomore students.
Coreq: BIOL-145BNL.

BIOL-145GW Introductory Biology: 'A Green World'

Fall. Credits: 4

This course examines the plant life in the woods and fields around us, the exotic plants in our greenhouses, and the plants we depend on for food. We will study plants living in surprising circumstances, settling into winter, escaping from gardens, reclaiming farmland, cooperating with fungi and insects, and fighting for their lives. We will find that plants challenge some conventional, animal-based assumptions about what matters to living things. In labs, students will seek to answer their questions about how plants grow in nature, by studying plant structure and function, ecology, and evolution.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
A. Frary
Restrictions: This course is limited to first-year students.
Coreq: BIOL-145GWL.

BIOL-145HG Introductory Biology: 'Biology in the Genomic Era'

Fall. Credits: 4

Genome projects are leading to great advances in our understanding of biology and in our ability to manipulate the genetic information of organisms, including humans. We will focus on the science behind genome projects, and the ways in which the resulting knowledge and technology affect our lives. In lab we will examine and analyze a variety of organisms such as microbes, plants and humans. This class will also serve as a general introductory biology course for biology majors as well as non-majors.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
C. Woodard
Restrictions: This course is limited to first-year students.
Coreq: BIOL-145HGL.

BIOL-145RG Introductory Biology: 'Organismal Biology'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course encompasses a broad range of concepts central to our understanding of how organisms function and evolve. We will investigate important biological processes, such as photosynthesis and metabolism, and systems, such as the cardiovascular and immune systems. We will also take a holistic view of biology and use our newly acquired knowledge to explore such diverse topics as: the evolution of infectious diseases, the consequences of development and design on the evolution of organisms, and how the physiology and behavior of animals might affect their responses to global climate change.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
R. Brodie
Restrictions: This course is limited to first-year students.
Coreq: BIOL-145RGL.
Notes: Registration in one of the two corequisite labs is also required.

BIOL-145WN Introductory Biology: 'Life on the Wing'

Fall. Credits: 4

Did you know a tiny bird that weighs only as much as two nickels (U.S. 5-cent coins) can fly without stopping for three straight days and cover a distance equal to that from Mount Holyoke College to South America? For this class we will explore foundational biological concepts by examining the wonderful world of birds. This course will take advantage of the diverse bird communities in our own back yard and will meet outside as much as possible for labs examining topics such as biodiversity, structure and function, ecology, evolution, hypothesis testing, and observation.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
W. DeLuca
Restrictions: This course is limited to first-year students.
Coreq: BIOL-145WNL.

BIOL-160 Integrated Introduction to Biology and Chemistry

Fall. Credits: 4

This 8-credit course serves as a gateway to both the biology and chemistry core curricula. The course introduces and develops fundamental concepts in chemistry while also exploring the diverse range of strategies adopted by living systems to survive in different environments. This course prepares students for further study in chemistry (Chemistry 201) and/or biology (Biology 200). Students must register for both Biology 160 and Chemistry 160 as well as a single lab section (listed under Chemistry 160L). Recommended for students interested in completing pre-health requirements or advanced study in biochemistry or neuroscience.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
K. Broaders, R. Brodie
Restrictions: This course is limited to first-year students.
Coreq: CHEM-160 and CHEM-160L.
Notes: Students must co-enroll in Biology 160 and Chemistry 160 for a total of 8 credits; three 50 minute lectures, three 75 minute lectures, and one three-hour laboratory per week.

BIOL-200 Introductory Biology II: How Organisms Develop

Spring. Credits: 4

An overview of cells to tissues to organisms. Cellular components, the role of the nucleus, cell reproduction, and meiosis will be examined as part of our study of gamete production, fertilization, embryology, and development in an invertebrate (sea urchins), a vertebrate (chick), a fern, and a flowering plant. The basic molecular biology of DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis will be presented and examined in the context of building a fly embryo and a flower.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
R. Fink, A. Frary
Prereq: BIOL-145 or BIOL-160, or NEURO-100. Coreq: BIOL-200L.

BIOL-203 Teaching Children Science: College Students in the Elementary Classroom

Fall. Credits: 4

This course is designed for science students with interests in teaching and learning with children. It will focus on research, theory and practice pertinent to science education, linking scientific information gained in college classes to children's learning of scientific phenomena. Weekly class meetings (from 1-3 hours) will include laboratory and off-site field investigations. Each student will also become a 'Science Buddy' at a local elementary school, assisting children with hands-on science experiences for at least 1 hour each week.

Crosslisted as: EDUST-203
Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Community-Based Learning
R. Fink
Instructor permission required.
Prereq: One year of any college science (in any discipline), at least one lab course.

BIOL-206 Local Flora

Spring. Credits: 4

This course offers plant identification and natural history, emphasizing native and introduced trees and wildflowers. On- and off-campus field trips.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
A. Frary
Prereq: 4 credits in the department.

BIOL-223 Ecology

Fall. Credits: 4

This course will cover the fundamental factors controlling the distribution and abundance of organisms, including interactions with the abiotic environment, fitness and natural selection, population growth and dynamics, species interactions, community dynamics, and diversity. We will address variation across space and time. The course will combine observational, experimental, and mathematical approaches to some of the applications of ecological theory, including conservation, disease dynamics, and biological control.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
M. Hoopes
Prereq: BIOL-145 or BIOL-160 and at least one semester of Calculus or Statistics. Coreq: BIOL-223L.
Notes: Biology 223 and/or Biology 226 must be taken for the Biology major.

BIOL-226 Evolution

Spring. Credits: 4

The mechanisms of evolutionary change within populations and between species; patterns of change in space, time and form; and the origin of adaptations. These approaches make sense of the diversity of life. Then we turn to the evolution of developmental pathways, as a way of approaching the unity of life.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
S. Rachootin
Prereq: BIOL-200 or BIOL-223 or BIOL-230. Coreq: BIOL-226L.

BIOL-230 Cell and Molecular Biology

Fall. Credits: 4

Cells are the smallest common denominator of life: the simplest organisms are single cells, while others like ourselves are composed of vast communities of cells. In this course, we will learn how cellular structure and function is orchestrated by biological molecules, most notably the genome and the proteins it encodes. Topics will include genetic inheritance, gene and protein regulation, cellular processes including transport, energy capture, and signaling, the cellular and molecular basis for disease, and modern techniques including genomics, bioinformatics, and microscopy. The laboratory component will illustrate and analyze these topics through selected experimental approaches.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
A. Camp, R. Lijek
Prereq: BIOL-200 and CHEM-201. Coreq: BIOL-230L.
Advisory: Students who have completed BIOL-210 or BIOL-220 should not take BIOL-230.

BIOL-236 Topics in Biological Sciences

BIOL-236TA Topics in Biological Sciences: 'Biology of Terrestrial Arthropods'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Evolutionary history of the terrestrial arthropods (body plans, relationships, fossil history); physiology (the implications of cuticle, thermoregulation, flight); reproduction (life cycles, metamorphosis, mating systems); behavior (communication, sociality); ecology (parasitism, mutualism, predator-prey and plant-insect interactions). Each student will collect, mount, and identify specimens for her own collection.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
S. Rachootin
Instructor permission required.
Coreq: BIOL-236TAL.

BIOL-295 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 4

The department
Instructor permission required.
Notes: Note: Any student conducting an independent laboratory research project for course credit in a department, program, or laboratory covered by the College's chemical hygiene plan must participate in a safety training session before beginning research.

BIOL-301 Regenerative Medicine: Biology and Bioethics

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

What is regenerative medicine? What is the science that drives new medical therapies using stem cells? We will study the biology of adult, embryonic, and induced pluripotent stem cells, as well as the legal, ethical, and moral implications of using these cells in medical therapies. Each member of the class will participate in a staged debate on these issues for an introductory biology class. Pending funding, we may travel to Washington, D.C.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
R. Fink
Instructor permission required.
Prereq: BIOL-220 or BIOL-230 and instructor permission.

BIOL-302 Molecular Evolution

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course examines the dynamics of evolutionary change at the molecular level, the effects of various molecular mechanisms on the structure and function of genes and genomes, and the methodology involved in dealing with molecular data from an evolutionary perspective. Lab work will be devoted to learning ways to analyze DNA sequence data and to create and evaluate trees that use molecular data.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
A. Frary
Prereq: BIOL-230 (or BIOL-210) and BIOL-226. Coreq: BIOL-302L.

BIOL-305 Cellular and Molecular Aspects of Development

Fall. Credits: 4

Examines the roles of cellular movement and cellular interaction in the development of multicellular organisms. Topics include cell recognition and adhesion during morphogenesis, the importance of extracellular matrices, and current theories of embryonic pattern formation. Self-designed laboratories include techniques such as microsurgery and time-lapse recording, using a wide variety of embryos and cell types.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
R. Fink
Prereq: BIOL-200 and BIOL-230 (or BIOL-210 and BIOL-220).

BIOL-307 Vertebrate Anatomy

Spring. Credits: 4

We will study the structure, function and evolution of the diversity of structures that allow vertebrates to perform basic functions such as locomotion. We will connect the functions with day-to-day challenges for vertebrates including humans, and we will discuss functional disruption such as disease and trauma. In lab we will dissect fresh-frozen and formaline-preserved vertebrates. A willingness to work with such preserved material is critical to success in class. Students are expected to work in groups during class time, as well as read the required chapters before class. This class requires you to memorize the names of several structures in a functional context.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
P. Brennan
Prereq: BIOL-220, BIOL-230, or BIOL-226. Coreq: BIOL-307L.

BIOL-308 Darwin

Spring. Credits: 4

This course looks at the scientific content and intellectual context of Darwin's theory of evolution - his facts, metaphors, hypotheses, and philosophical assumptions. Readings from Darwin and his sources, and examination of the organisms he studied. A background in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century history or whole organism biology is recommended.

Crosslisted as: HIST-301DW
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
S. Rachootin
Prereq: BIOL-226 or HIST-248.

BIOL-310 Invertebrate Zoology

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course looks at the evolutionary relations of the profoundly different groups of animals in light of their structure, development, and fossil history. Emphasizes exceptional organisms that prove - and disprove - biological rules. Themes include coloniality, asexual reproduction, metamorphosis, and making skeletons.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
S. Rachootin
Prereq: BIOL-226. Coreq: BIOL-310L.

BIOL-311 Protein Biochemistry and Cellular Metabolism

Fall. Credits: 4

This course is a rigorous introduction to the study of protein molecules and their role as catalysts in the cell. Topics include general principles of protein folding, protein structure-function correlation, enzyme kinetics and mechanism, carbohydrate and lipid biochemistry, and metabolic pathways (catabolic and anabolic) and their interaction and cross-regulation. Biological transformation of energy is considered in light of the principles of thermodynamics.

Crosslisted as: BIOCH-311, CHEM-311
Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
K. Berry
Restrictions: This course is limited to Biochemistry majors only.
Prereq: BIOL-230 (or BIOL-210) and CHEM-302. Coreq: BIOCH-318.

BIOL-314 Nucleic Acids Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Spring. Credits: 4

This course is an in-depth examination of DNA and RNA structures and how these structures support their respective functions during replication, transcription, and translation of the genetic material. Emphasis is on the detailed mechanisms associated with each step of gene expression. Discussions incorporate many recent advances brought about by recombinant DNA technology.

Crosslisted as: BIOCH-314, CHEM-314
Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
K. Berry
Restrictions: This course is limited to Biochemistry majors only.
Prereq: BIOCH-311, BIOL-311, or CHEM-311. Coreq: BIOL-314L.
Advisory: Chemistry 302 can be taken concurrently
Notes: Please sign up for this course as Biochemistry 314

BIOL-315 Behavioral Ecology

Spring. Credits: 4

In this course, students learn to view and understand animal behavior within an evolutionary context. The mechanistic side of behavior is investigated and students explore how behavioral traits originate and evolve over time. Students will integrate their knowledge of how organisms work with an appreciation of why they work the way they do. At the end of the course, students will understand basic concepts in behavioral biology and know many of the experiments that have facilitated our understanding of this field. They will be able to construct hypotheses and design experiments that address behavioral phenomena. The laboratory portion of this course is based on individual projects.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
R. Brodie
Prereq: 8 credits of 200-level work from Biological Sciences Coreq: BIOL-315L.
Advisory: BIOL-223 or BIOL-226 strongly recommended.

BIOL-316 Scanning Electron Microscopy

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 2

Includes theory and operation of the scanning electron microscope and preparation of biological and geological materials for observation. The versatile use of the microscope will be emphasized and will include low magnification, high resolution, and back scattered (reflected) electron modes of operation as well as operation at different pressures. Energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis will be introduced.

Crosslisted as: GEOL-316
Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
The department
Prereq: 4 credits at the 200 level from Biological Sciences or Geology.

BIOL-319 Immunology with Laboratory

Spring. Credits: 4

The immune system protects the sterile interior of our bodies from the vast diversity of microbes in the outside world, adapting and improving from each encounter. How does it achieve this remarkable feat? This course will investigate the cells, organs, and biochemical signals that comprise innate and adaptive immune systems, as well as how they interact to identify and remove foreign pathogens. Emphasis will be placed on the human immune response to infectious diseases, with examples from clinical case studies and experimental models. The laboratory portion will provide hands-on experience with the foundational techniques of immunology research. Additional topics may include: autoimmunity, allergy, vaccination, transplantation, cancer, immune deficiency, and pathogen evasion strategies.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
R. Lijek
Prereq: BIOL-210 and BIOL-220, or BIOL-230. Coreq: BIOL-319L.

BIOL-320 Introduction to Transmission Electron Microscopy

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 2

Basic principles of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and potential uses in biological studies. Each student selects a project and learns the fundamentals of specimen preparation, operation of the TEM, and image acquisition. Preparation, assessment and interpretation of the resulting electron micrographs culminate in an individual portfolio.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
The department
Instructor permission required.
Prereq: BIOL-220 or BIOL-230.
Notes: There will be an additional self-scheduled, weekly 1-2 hour lab during which students will receive microscope training.

BIOL-321 Conference Course

Selected topics from areas emphasized in the department according to needs of particular students. Study in small groups or by individuals.

BIOL-321AD Conference Course: 'Addiction, Superior Memory, and Diseases of the Brain'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

In this course, we will explore diseases of memory as well as extreme instances of phenomenal memory. We will review primary research literature and case studies to explore the changes that underlie addiction and memory. After reviewing the scientific literature, we will manipulate memory-related pathways in the brain of mice then evaluate the resulting changes in memory formation and behavior. This course will enable students to relate behavioral changes to changes in brain function.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
A. White
Prereq: BIOL-200 or BIOL-220 or BIOL-230. Coreq: BIOL-321ADL.

BIOL-321EL Conference Course: 'Extreme Life'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course will focus on biological systems that push the limits of structural and physiological possibility. For example, midges flap their wings at up to 1000 Hz; bar-headed geese migrate over Mount Everest; deep-sea fish withstand pressures near 300 atmospheres; certain frogs can allow their body temperatures to drop below 0 degrees Celsius. Through readings and discussions we will explore the diverse mechanisms that underlie how organisms reach extreme levels of performance and survive in extreme environments.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
G. Gillis
Prereq: BIOL-230 and plus one additional Biological Sciences course above 200.

BIOL-321GD Conference Course: 'Genetics of Disease'

Fall. Credits: 4

In this course we will explore the genetic basis for disease susceptibility using models from cancer and other diseases. Discussion will focus on how the environment and genetics interact on an individual level, which leads to a "susceptibility profile" for each person. We will also delve into the primary literature to evaluate strategies aimed at preventing disease, treatments and future therapeutic possibilities.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
S. Compton
Prereq: BIOL-230 (or BIOL-210 and BIOL-220).

BIOL-321ME Conference Course: 'Molecular Ecology'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Over the past quarter century, molecular genetic methods have become increasingly important in ecological research. In this course, we will examine contemporary molecular genetic tools and learn how they can be used to answer ecological questions. Topics will include: reconstruction of ancestral relationships; measuring the size, diversity, and spatial structure of populations; characterization of migration and dispersal patterns; and identification of sensitive or threatened species and populations. We will explore these themes through foundational texts and current scientific literature, and we will analyze molecular genetic datasets in class to gain familiarity with available techniques.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
J. Andras
Prereq: BIOL-230 (or BIOL-210), and BIOL-223 or BIOL-226.

BIOL-321RB Conference Course: 'Race and Biology'

Fall. Credits: 4

In this student-centered, discussion-based seminar, we will explore current hypotheses about the evolution of human variation, trace the history of how biology has been used in the construction of racial ideologies, and delve into the impacts of racial categorization on human health. We will investigate these themes through readings, videos, class discussions, student expert panels, and research papers. Students taking this course will improve their ability to: engage constructively in scholarly discussions; use verbal and written discourse to explore themes in science; use new knowledge to understand current issues; critically evaluate media information using evidence from scientific studies; and communicate new knowledge.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
R. Brodie
Prereq: 4 credits of Biological Sciences at the 200 level.

BIOL-323 Plant Growth and Development

Fall. Credits: 4

This course is a study of the higher plant, its structure, organization, and development. We will examine the endogenous and environmental factors influencing plant growth and reproduction. Topics include anatomy, hormones and their mode of action, tropisms, photomorphogenesis, and flowering.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
A. Frary
Prereq: Two courses from BIOL-200, BIOL-223, BIOL-226, or BIOL-230.

BIOL-325 Plant Diversity and Evolution

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course explores the tremendous diversity of the plant kingdom, emphasizing the local flora. Evolutionary relationships are discussed on the basis of comparisons of reproductive biology, morphology, anatomy, cell structure, and molecular biology.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
A. Frary
Prereq: 2 courses from BIOL-200, BIOL-210, BIOL-223, BIOL-226, or BIOL-230. Coreq: BIOL-325L.
Notes: offered alternate years

BIOL-326 Ocean Blues: State of the World's Oceans

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Ocean ecosystems are of tremendous ecological importance and provide many billions of dollars worth of services annually, yet our marine systems face serious threats due to overfishing, climate change, ocean acidification, pollution, and the spread of invasive species. Conservation and management strategies aim to protect our remaining martine resources and restore those that have been lost or damage. In this course, we will study the scientific evidence documenting the most pressing threats to marine ecosystems and examine available strategies for mitigating these threats. We will also explore cultural, economic, and political issues relevant to marine conservation and management.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
J. Andras
Instructor permission required.
Prereq: Any 200-level science.
Advisory: Preference will be given to juniors and seniors who are participating in the Coastal and Marine Sciences certificate program.
Notes: Ocean Blues can be applied to any of the course categories required for the Coastal and Marine Sciences certificate.

BIOL-327 Microbiology

Spring. Credits: 4

We share planet Earth with an unimaginable number of "invisible" microbial life forms. In this course we will explore the structure, metabolism, genetics, and ecology of microbes, most prominently bacteria. Other microbes, including archaea, eukaryotic microbes, and viruses will also be considered. Whenever possible, the relationship between microbes and humans will be highlighted. Other goals will be for students to become comfortable with scientific primary literature and to hone their communication skills through discussions and written assignments. Finally, the laboratory portion of this course will highlight classic and modern techniques in microbiology.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
A. Camp
Prereq: BIOL-230 or both BIOL-210 and BIOL-220. Coreq: BIOL-327L.

BIOL-328 Human Physiology

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

A consideration of the physiological processes involved in the control of human body functions. We will study the mechanisms for regulating individual organ systems and how these mechanisms respond to changing needs of the individual. Our examination of the physiological controls will include an analysis of the underlying cellular and molecular processes that drive the mechanisms and integrate the activities of the different systems.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
S. Bacon
Prereq: BIOL-220 or BIOL-230 or BIOCH-311. Coreq: BIOL-328L.

BIOL-331 Theory and Application of Conservation Biology

Spring. Credits: 4

This course focuses on advanced ecological theory applied to conservation. Class will combine lectures and discussions of primary scientific literature. Labs will include field trips to collect observational and experimental data and indoor exercises to explore the concepts of rarity, coexistence, and population viability with mathematical models. A community-based learning aspect is possible for the final project in this class.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
M. Hoopes
Prereq: BIOL-223, BIOL-226, BIOL-315, or ENVST-200. Coreq: BIOL-331L.

BIOL-332 Macroevolution

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course presents the science of biological form and its relation to adaptation, development, and the modes of evolutionary change. Emphases include primary theoretical literature, whole organisms, and the emerging field of evolutionary developmental biology.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
S. Rachootin
Prereq: BIOL-226.
Notes: Biology majors who arrange a lab project in this class can count this course as a lab course.

BIOL-333 Neurobiology

Fall. Credits: 4

We will study the electrical and chemical signals underlying the generation of the nerve impulse and synaptic transmission. We will then explore neuronal circuits underlying learning and memory, movement, and sensory perception.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
A. White
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: BIOL-200 and BIOL-220, or BIOL-230. Also take 4 credits from Chemistry or Physics. Coreq: BIOL-333L.
Notes: Preference given to seniors

BIOL-337 Symbiotic Interactions

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

From mutualism to parasitism, symbiotic interactions are a universal feature of life. In this seminar we will study the mechanisms underlying symbiotic interactions and consider their significance for the ecology and evolution of organisms. Through foundational texts and current scientific literature, we will explore some of the most spectacular and important examples of contemporary symbioses - from coral reefs, to infectious diseases, to the vast communities of microbes that live on and in our bodies - and we will learn how symbiosis is responsible for major milestones in the history of life, such as the origin of the eukaryotic cell, the emergence of land plants, and the evolution of sex.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
J. Andras
Prereq: BIOL-223 or BIOL-226.

BIOL-338 Evolution and Human Sexual Behavior

Fall. Credits: 4

We will discuss patterns and variations of human sexual behavior and the likely role that evolution has played in shaping some of these patterns. We will discuss the evolution of sex, gender differences, principles of sexual selection, physiology, cultural differences in sexual behavior, mating systems, etc. We will follow a recently published book on this topic, and add readings from the primary literature. Students are expected to write one major research paper on any aspect of human sexual behavior of their choosing and to be ready to present their findings to the class towards the end of the semester.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
P. Brennan
Prereq: BIOL-226.

BIOL-339 Mechanisms of Hormone Action

Spring. Credits: 4

What are the molecular mechanisms by which hormones direct cellular processes? In this course, we will examine the nature of chemical communication between and within cells. We will study hormones, receptors, and signal transduction pathways, and the ways in which these signaling systems regulate development, programmed cell death, inflammatory responses, and other biological processes.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
C. Woodard
Prereq: BIOL-230 or both BIOL-210 and BIOL-220. Coreq: BIOL-339L.

BIOL-340 Eukaryotic Molecular Genetics

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

In this course we will examine the role of molecular genetic analysis in the study of phenomena such as human disease (e.g., breast cancer), animal development, and gene regulation. We will also discuss new techniques for genomic analysis, including the science as well as the health, legal, ethical and moral issues involved. There will be group discussions of original research articles and review articles.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
C. Woodard
Prereq: BIOL-200 and BIOL-230 (or BIOL-210).

BIOL-395 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 8

The department
Instructor permission required.
Notes: NOTE: See safety training restrictions in description of Biological Sciences 295

BIOL-399 Journal Club / Data Hub

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 1

Reading and understanding research reports from the primary scientific literature is an essential skill for any scientist. Likewise, critiquing experimental proposals and freshly-minted data is one of the core components of the pursuit of science. Using the Biology Department Seminar series as a springboard, this course seeks to familiarize students with the process of understanding, appreciating, and critiquing scientific manuscripts. Additionally, drawing on projects being proposed and executed under the auspices of Biology 395, this course seeks to help students develop comfort discussing 'fresh' scientific data. This course will provide a valuable way to connect with active scientists, both developing and experienced, from within and beyond Mount Holyoke.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
R. Lijek, The department
Prereq: 8 credits in Biological Sciences.
Notes: Repeatable for credit. Credit/no credit grading only. Reading materials will be drawn primarily from research and review articles in the primary scientific literature. Data will be presented by students actively engaged in research projects. We will discuss data and readings as a group in class meetings.