Biology Courses

The courses listed below count toward the biology major or minors unless otherwise noted. Some courses in the department are offered in alternate years and are so designated below. Please consult with the instructor or with the Class Schedule, available online or at the Registrar's Office, to determine when a course will next be offered.

111 First-Year Colloquium in Biology (1/4)
Prerequisites: First-year standing and invitation of instructor.
Seminar in which selected topics and research papers are reviewed and discussed. Offered on credit/no credit basis. Does not count toward the biology major or minors. Two-hour discussion. Staff.

187, 188, 189 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

195 Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity (1)
Focuses on whole organisms and their evolutionary and ecological relationships. Evolutionary processes, biological diversity, conservation biology and human impacts on ecology and biodiversity are major themes. Skills introduced are hypothesis testing, experimental design, use of primary literature in writing assignments and basic statistics. Lecture and laboratory. Staff.

206 Tropical Forest and Reef Biology (1)
Prerequisites: Biology 195 and permission of instructors.
An introduction to rain forests, mangrove islands and coral reefs of the neotropics. Students meet weekly throughout the semester and must spend spring break in Belize, Central America, where intensive field trips and individual projects are conducted. Counts as an elective toward the biology major, but does not satisfy the field work or seminar requirements. Lecture/discussion. Offered in alternate years. Team-taught.

207 Biology of Subtropical Florida (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 195 and permission of instructors.
An introduction to the ecosystems of subtropical Florida. Students meet weekly throughout the semester and must spend spring break in Florida, where intensive field trips and individual projects are conducted. Counts as an elective toward the biology major, but does not satisfy the field work or seminar requirements. Lecture/discussion. Offered in alternate years. Team-taught.

210 Cell and Molecular Biology (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 195. Prerequisite or corequisite: Chemistry 121.
Focuses on organisms at the cellular and molecular levels, including biological chemistry, bioenergetics and metabolism, Mendelian and molecular genetics, cellular communication and the molecular control of the cell cycle. Builds upon skills from Biology 195 to expand abilities in hypothesis testing and experimental design to produce an individual research paper, and to carry out more advanced statistical analyses. Lecture and laboratory. Staff.

211 Sophomore Research (1/2)
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing and invitation of instructor.
Independent research projects for invited sophomores. Staff.

215 Aquatic Botany (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 195.
A study of representative algae, aquatic fungi and bryophytes, emphasizing the relationships of structure and function. Reproductive strategies and environmental physiology are discussed. Taxonomy is based upon current hypotheses of evolutionary relationships. Lecture and laboratory. Offered in alternate years. Schmitter.

216 Vascular Plants (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 195.
Morphology, taxonomy and distribution of vascular plants. Representatives of local flora receive special attention in laboratory and field studies. Lecture and laboratory. Skean.

225 Invertebrate Zoology (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 195.
Field-oriented course emphasizing evolution, classification, ecology, behavior and natural history of invertebrate animals. Class involves field trips and use of the Whitehouse Nature Center. Lecture and laboratory. McCurdy.

227 Vertebrate Zoology (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 195.
Classification, behavior, ecology and evolution of the vertebrates. Mammals and birds are emphasized more than other groups. Lecture and laboratory. Kennedy.

236 Ecology for K-8 Pre-service Teachers (1)
Prerequisite: Admission to the elementary teacher certification program.
A field-based ecology course on topics including ecosystems, energy flow, evolution, population dynamics, community ecology and human impacts on the environment. Specific focus on the Michigan Science Curriculum Standards and Benchmarks. Taught at the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute near Hastings, Michigan. Lecture/discussion and laboratory. Skean.

237 Ecology (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 195.
A study of interactions between organisms and their environment including adaptation, competition, parasitism, population and community dynamics and the ecosystem concept. Class involves field trips and use of the Whitehouse Nature Center. Lecture and laboratory. Lyons-Sobaski.

240 Conservation Biology (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 195.
Presents concepts and issues concerning the causes and consequences of the loss of biodiversity. Emphasizes the science of conservation biology including the evolutionary potential of populations and species, as well as the history of the field, international efforts to conserve species, and the current status of policies such as the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Includes a conservation-related outreach project. Lyons-Sobaski.

248 Ornithology (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 195.
The biology of birds with emphasis on evolution, behavior, ecology and conservation. Field experience in identification, population studies, bird banding, song recording and analysis, and carrying out a research project. Students will learn to critically evaluate the ornithological literature. Lecture and laboratory. Kennedy.

287, 288, 289 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Biology 195.
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

300 Genetics (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 210. Not open to students who have completed Biology 317.
Mechanisms of inheritance and of gene structure and function in living organisms. Both classical and molecular genetics are considered as they relate to function. Staff.

301 Cell Biology (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 300 or permission of instructor.
An in-depth investigation of biological systems at the cellular, subcellular and molecular levels. Studies of a variety of cell types and energy relations within cells. Lecture emphasizes metabolism, metabolic regulation and cellular diversity. Laboratory emphasizes measurement and analysis of subcellular features. Offered in alternate years. Schmitter.

309 Vertebrate Paleontology (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 103 or Biology 195.
Must be taken as Biology 309 for credit toward the major. Lecture and laboratory.
Same as Geology 309. Bartels.

310 Evolution (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 300 or permission of instructor.
A study of the course and processes of organic evolution. Topics include the history of ideas of evolution, population genetics, population ecology, speciation, adaptation, coevolution, evolutionary rates, evolutionary convergences, mass extinctions and biogeography. Lecture and laboratory. Offered in alternate years. McCurdy.

312 Advanced Genetics Laboratory (1/2)
Prerequisite: Biology 300 or permission of instructor; Chemistry 211 recommended. Not open to students who have completed Biology 317.
Project-based laboratory course that will introduce students to general techniques in genetics. Under faculty guidance, students will design and carry out their own experiments, read primary literature, and present results in written and oral format. Staff.

314 Comparative Anatomy (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 300 or permission of instructor.
Comparative anatomical study of vertebrate organ systems, their development and evolution. Lecture and laboratory. Kennedy.

321 Medical Microanatomy (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 300 or permission of instructor.
Microanatomy of primate cells and tissues as depicted by light and electron microscopy. Relationships of structure and function are stressed, as are medical conditions resulting from cell or tissue damage. Lecture and laboratory. Schmitter.

324 Developmental Biology (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 300 or permission of instructor.
The genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying early development of multicellular organisms. Potential topics include fertilization and early development, gene regulation during development, neural pathfinding, cell signaling, cell division and growth, organogenesis, limb development, metamorphosis, regeneration, sex determination, the evolution of development, genomics, and stem cell research. Lecture and laboratory. Albertson.

332 Microbiology (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 300 or permission of instructor; Chemistry 211 recommended.
Introduction to the microbial world. Explores the morphology, physiology, genetics and diversity of microorganisms. Stresses the relationships among microbes and other organisms, including humans. Lecture and laboratory. Olapade.

337 Biochemistry (1)
Prerequisites: Chemistry 211; and Biology 300 or Chemistry 212; or permission of instructor.
Same as Chemistry 337. Must be taken as Biology 337 for credit toward the major. Lecture. Rohlman.

341 Physiology (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 300 or permission of instructor; Chemistry 211 recommended.
A study of the function of living organisms. Each physiological system is examined at the molecular, cellular, and tissue level. Particular focus is given to how each system is regulated and the interplay between systems. Lecture and laboratory. Rabquer.

362 Molecular Biology (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 300 or permission of instructor; Chemistry 211 recommended.
The theory and practice of modern molecular genetics will be explored. Techniques potentially considered include: DNA cloning, DNA hybridization, the polymerase chain reaction, DNA sequencing, and the expression of cloned genes in bacteria. Lecture/discussion and laboratory. Offered in alternate years. Saville.

365 Environmental Microbiology (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 300 or permission of instructor.
Microbes in action: bioremediation, biodegradation, cycling of nutrients and energy flow, biopesticides and phytopathogens, spread of antibiotic resistance, molecular ecology of infectious diseases, microbial symbionts and extremophiles. Explores these and other topics through discussions, field trips and experimental work. Lecture and laboratory. Offered in alternate years. Olapade.

366 Medical Endocrinology (1)
Prerequisites: Biology 300 or permission of instructor, Chemistry 211; Biology 341 or Chemistry 337 strongly recommended.
Examination of the evolution of endocrinological systems, and the modes of action, mechanisms of control, and interactions of selected human hormonal systems under normal and compromised (disease) states. Offered in alternate years. Staff.

367 Virology (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 300 or permission of instructor.
Are viruses living organisms or not? Addresses this and many more questions in molecular architecture, replication strategies, transmission modes, pathogenicity, carcinogenicity and usefulness of viruses. Lecture and discussion. lecture and laboratory. Offered in alternate years. Olapade.

368 Behavioral Ecology (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 300 or permission of instructor.
Patterns and functions of behavior examined from an ecological-evolutionary perspective. Topics include history of animal behavior, behavioral genetics, habitat selection, foraging, antipredator behavior, cooperation and altruism, communication, sexual selection, mating systems, parental behavior and optimality models. Independent field studies of living animals. Lecture and laboratory. Offered in alternate years. McCurdy.

369 Population Genetics (1)
Prerequisite: Biology 300 or permission of instructor.
An introduction to population genetics, the study of gene frequencies and selection pressures within natural or managed populations. Topics include understanding concepts of genetic variation, recombination, linkage disequilibrium, selection, gene flow, genetic drift and mutation, as well as quantitative genetics. Lyons-Sobaski.

371 Pathophysiology (1)
Prerequisites: Biology 210, Chemistry 121; Chemistry 211 recommended.
Develops an understanding of the physiological basis of disease. Relates changes in function that contribute to disease states in otherwise normally functioning physiological systems. Presents the functional anatomy and physiological basis of "healthy" human systems in a normal state, and then examines compromises that result from disease states. Intended for students planning to pursue post-graduate studies in programs such as nursing, physician assistant, physical therapy and medicine. Rabquer.

387, 388, 389 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Biology 300 or permission of instructor.
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

391, 392 Internships (1/2, 1)
Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing and permission of department.
No more than one unit may be counted toward the major. Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

401, 402 Seminar (1/2, 1)
Prerequisites: Biology 300 and junior or senior standing, or permission of instructor.
Topics in diverse areas of biology. Recent topics have included genes and cancer, literature and medicine, conservation biology, and biology of sharks and their relatives. Discussion. Staff.

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)
Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing and approval by both the faculty sponsor and department chair of a research proposal prior to registration.
Independent research by an individual student under the direction of a staff member. A detailed summary research paper or other appropriate evidence is required at the end of the work. Normally offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

Majors and Minors

Requirements for Major

  • Eight units in biology, including at least six courses with laboratory.
    Biol 195: Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity
    Biol 210: Cell and Molecular Biology (requires Chemistry 121 as a prerequisite or corequisite).
    Biol 300: Genetics.

    At least one course from each of the following three lists:

List 1
Biol 206: Tropical Forest and Reef Biology
Biol 215: Aquatic Botany
Biol 216: Vascular Plants
Biol 225: Invertebrate Zoology
Biol 227: Vertebrate Zoology
Biol 237: Ecology
Biol 248: Ornithology

List 2
Biol 301: Cell Biology
Biol 310: Evolution
Biol 312: Advanced Genetics Laboratory (1/2 unit)
Biol 314: Comparative Anatomy
Biol 321: Medical Microanatomy
Biol 324: Developmental Biology
Biol 332: Microbiology
Biol 341: General Physiology

List 3
Biol 362: Molecular Biology
Biol 365: Environmental Microbiology
Biol 366: Medical Endocrinology
Biol 367: Virology
Biol 368: Behavioral Ecology
Biol 369: Population Genetics
Biol 371: Pathophysiology
Biol 401 or 402: Seminar
Biol 411 or 412: Directed Study
Note: Requirement is for one course.

  • Two units of chemistry unless a substitution is approved in advance by the staff. The biology faculty strongly recommends that Chemistry 121 and Chemistry 211 be taken to satisfy this requirement. Chemistry 101, 107 and 200 do not fulfill this requirement.
    Further study in chemistry, physics, geology and mathematics is recommended and encouraged.
  • All biology courses and cognate courses must be taken for a numerical grade, except those offered only on a credit/no credit basis.
  • No more than one unit of internship credit (391, 392) can count toward the major. No more than one unit of seminar (401, 402) and no more than one unit of directed study (411, 412) credit can count toward the major.
  • Neither Biology 111 nor Biology 190 (given only for AP credit) can count toward the major.
  • A senior examination must be taken for assessment purposes.
  • It is expected that six of the eight units in biology be taken at Albion College. Other arrangements will be made for bona fide transfer students and students in approved off-campus programs.

Information on Minors

  • The minor in cell and molecular biology and the minor in environmental biology are not open to biology majors.
  • Students may not choose more than one minor in the Biology Department.
  • All courses for a biology minor must be taken for a numerical grade, except those offered only on a credit/no credit basis.
  • Neither Biology 111 nor Biology 190 (given only for AP credit) can count toward any minor in biology.
  • A senior examination must be taken for assessment purposes.

Requirements for Minor in Cell and Molecular Biology

  • Five units in biology, including the following: Biology 195, 210 (requires Chemistry 121 as prerequisite or co-requisite), 300. Any two of the following, of which at least one must include a laboratory: 301, 321, 324, 332, 337 (may be taken as Chemistry 337), 341, 362, 365, 367

Requirements for Minor in Environmental Biology

  • Five units in biology, including the following:
    Biology 195
    Four of the following, including:
    At least two from 215, 216, 225, 227, 248
    At least one from 206, 210 (requires Chemistry 121 as prerequisite or co-
    requisite), 237, 365, 368 (365 and 368 require Biology 300 or permission of the instructor as prerequisite)

Requirements for Major with Secondary Education Certification

  • Eight units in biology, including the following: 195, 210, 300; one unit (200-level or higher) "animal" course; one unit (200-level or higher) "plant" course. Of the latter two courses, one must be from List I. In addition, one unit in the major must be from List II. At least six of these courses must include a laboratory.
  • Two units in chemistry unless a substitution is approved in advance by the staff. The biology faculty strongly recommends that Chemistry 121 and Chemistry 211 be taken to satisfy this requirement. Chemistry 101, 107, and 200 do not fulfill this requirement.
  • One unit chosen from the following laboratory cognates: Geology 101 (lab required), 103 (lab required), Physics 115 (lab required).
  • Completion of all other requirements for teacher certification. Students will design their program of study in consultation with the biology faculty and must obtain written approval of the Biology Department chair, preferably no later than the beginning of the second semester of the junior year.

Requirements for Minor with Secondary Education Certification

  • Five units in biology, including the following:
    Biology 195, 210 (requires Chemistry 121 as prerequisite), 300
    One of the following: 215, 216
    One of the following: 225, 227, 248, 314
  • Completion of all other requirements for teacher certification.

Requirements for Interdisciplinary Major in Integrated Science with Elementary Education Certification

Students interested in pursuing elementary education certification may wish to consider an interdisciplinary major in integrated science. The integrated science major is primarily intended for students seeking a broad, cross-disciplinary understanding of the natural sciences. Students completing a major in integrated science are required to take courses in all the natural sciences and also to choose a minor in biology, chemistry, geology or physics. The detailed requirements for the major are provided in this catalog or are available from the Education Department.

Career Opportunities

Albion's biology program prepares students for employment or advanced studies in the health sciences (medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, etc.), environmental fields, biotechnology, teaching and many areas of research (academic, governmental, industrial, medical, etc.). Biology majors can also pursue an environmental sciences concentration or a neuroscience concentration.

Research Opportunities

Students have numerous opportunities for individual research projects. Many of these projects result in honors theses, publications in professional journals and in presentations at professional meetings. Some projects are in collaboration with faculty; others are more independent. Courses in the Biology Department equip students with scientific skills and materials they need to do research. Outstanding students participate in nationally competitive summer research programs at major universities and research institutes.

Special Features

The department also invites outstanding students to serve as laboratory teaching assistants. Advanced equipment in the biology facilities of Kresge Hall and in the Dow Analytical Laboratory in the Norris Science Center provides unique opportunities for undergraduate laboratory studies and research, just as the 144-acre Whitehouse Nature Center adjacent to the campus provides opportunity for fieldwork.

Departmental Policy on Advanced Placement Credit

Students who earn a 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in biology will receive one unit of credit for Biology 190. This unit does not count toward the biology major but does count toward the graduation requirement of 32 units.

Introduction

The Biology Department's mission is to provide students with an understanding of, and an appreciation for, the living world, including the fundamental mechanisms that underlie all life. Students should understand the ways in which they are affected by living organisms and how their lives in turn have an impact on other living organisms and the biosphere. They should become proficient in the methods of science and aware of the processes that lead to discoveries in science. In course work, they should develop observational, analytical and communication skills, regardless of their chosen career path. Ultimately, biology is best understood by active involvement with organisms and the systems of life in laboratory and field settings, and in collaborative student-faculty research.

Biology Department Website

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