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Natural Science Field of Study Courses

All of these courses are designed for students fulfilling the natural science field of study requirement. Each course has a lecture and laboratory component. These courses will not serve as a basis for further work in science nor meet entrance requirements for any health profession. 

BIOL 108:  Environmental Biology

Environmental Biology is an ecosystem-based course. Basic ecological concepts will be covered. One or more environmental issues will be covered each semester -- climate change, biodiversity, water quality/quantity, or ecological restoration. Computer simulations and models (indirect experimentation) will be used to explore these issues in lab. Lecture will include a combination of background lecture and case studies. This course will count toward the Environmental Studies major or minor as an elective only. 

BIOL 109: Introduction to Ecology

Introduction to causes and consequences of ecological patterns at all scales:  individuals, species, communities and ecosystems.  Terrestrial, aquatic, and marine systems are studied, as well as theories and the mathematical and graphical models used to understand them.  Some labs require work outside. 

BIOL 111: Marine Biology of the Chesapeake Bay

Introduction to the ecology and biological diversity of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.  Environmental issues facing the bay will be explored through direct data collection, observation, and hands-on activities.  This is a service-learning course and students will join local 5th grade classrooms to help teach elementary students about the bay. 

Biology 120 courses: Modern Concepts in Biology

Insects and People

Insects and humans have a long and complex relationship. They infect us with disease, attack our crops, infest our food stores, pester our animals, and damage or destroy our belongings. But they have also inspired artisans, architects, cartoonists, engineers, gourmands, religious thinkers, engineers, and scientists. Lectures examine the science of entomology and the influence of insects on art, history, literature, medicine and technology, and popular culture. Laboratories provide hands-on activities indoors and out that focus on insect classification and morphology.

Biology of Plants

Holistic overview of plant biology, including elements of cell biology, biochemistry, biodiversity, morphology, growth and development, physiology and ecology.  Emphasizes direct interaction with live plants in the laboratory, field, and greenhouse integrated with understanding of cellular structures and processes and practice of the scientific method.

Principles of Evolution

Examines fundamentals of the theory of evolution as an example of how science works and progresses. Consists of three modules. The first module will focus on importance of genetic variation and principles of the evolutionary theory; the second will focus on illustrating how evolutionary theory and evolutionary trees serve as guides in biological research; and the third will focus on principles of human evolution. 

Exploring Human Biology

Examination of human biology from the perspective of cellular processes, genetics, structure and function of organ systems, and evolution. Laboratory will include hands-on activities, as well as experimentation. Lecture will include a combination of background lecture and case studies.

Biology in Popular Culture

Current topics in contemporary biology will be used to introduce students to genetic engineering, stem cells, and the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria.  These issues and the impact of this technology will be explored examining their various roles in the medical community and popular culture. Laboratory investigations will emphasize the scientific method allowing for student hypothesis-driven experimentation.

Biology of Human Development

This course focuses on human development from fertilization to birth. Additional topics include abnormal development, cancer and regenerative medicine (stem cells) as they are all developmental events. As a non-majors course the lecture and lab highlights those aspects of scientific thinking that may be applicable to a broad spectrum of people. The development of creativity and critical thinking are emphasized as science and technology relevant to everyday life is presented.

Microbiology – Unseen Life

Introduction to basic concepts needed to understand microorganisms and their impact on our world. Questions addressed include: What is microbial diversity? How do microbes grow? How can we control microbial growth? How can we harness the power of microbial genetics? How do microbes help in food production? What roles do microbes play in the biosphere? How do microbes interact with the human body? Laboratory investigations will utilize the scientific method to allow students to gain insight as to how scientific experiments are performed.

Human Genetics

Introduction to basic concepts in human genetics and how advances in the field impact health care, biotechnology, public policy and the law. Topics such as the Human Genome Project, gene therapy and prenatal testing for genetic disorders will be discussed. Students will gain working knowledge of how scientists think and how they approach research problems

Emerging Infectious Diseases

Examination of microbes responsible for emerging infectious diseases (and perspective of diseases with significant impact on history) will be used to introduce biological principles evaluating the structure/function of these microbes as well as discussing the role of genetics. The impact of these events as well as the public policy response will be explored. Examples of microbes to be studied include HIV, Ebola virus, Escherichia coli, Treponema palladium and Staphylococcus aureus.  Laboratory investigations will utilize the scientific method to allow students to gain insight as to how scientific experiments are performed.