Biology Course Descriptions

Trinity College

Fall Term

[105. Microbes and Society]—A lecture course to examine the structure and function of micoorganisms as well as a survey of the variety of microorganisms that shape our world. Topics include disease-producing microbes, microbes necessary for food production, microbial ecology, microorganisms that are useful for research, and an introduction to the usefulness of biotechnology to our society. Not creditable to the biology major. Enrollment limited. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

 

107. Plants and People—This course is an introduction to plant biology, with a special emphasis on how plants are used by people around the world. We will examine how plants are constructed, how they grow, how they respond to the environment, and how they have adapted to a variety of habitats. As we cover the fundamentals of botany, we will see the biological reasons why plants are good for making paper, medicine, cloth, dyes, construction materials and food. Not creditable to the biology majors. Enrollment limited. (1 course credit)—Archer

 

[114. Marine Biology]—This course begins with a brief introduction to the physical, chemical, and geological processes that affect the major features of the ocean. Such topics may include plate tectonics, ocean circulation, tidal cycles and shoreline processes. This provides a general background for understanding the biology of marine organisms, preparing the way for discussion on the adaptions of animals and plants to a saltwater existence, the different kinds of marine habitats and the diversity, abundance and distribution of organisms associated with them, as well as selected examples of population and community ecology of marine ecosystems and their productivity. In addition, various aspects of applied ecology, which may include commercial fisheries, mariculture, and marine pollution, will be considered. Not creditable to the biology major. Enrollment limited. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

 

141. Global Perspectives on Biodiversity and Conservation—This lecture/discussion course focuses on the current biodiversity crisis. We will discuss what is biological diversity, where it is found and how it is monitored, direct and indirect values of biodiversity, and consequences of biodiversity loss.  Topics of discussion will also include the problems of declining and small populations, the population biology and politics of endangered species, species invasions and extinctions and the role of humans in these processes, design and establishment of reserves, captive breeding, and  the role that local people, the general public, and governments play in conserving biological diversity.  Case studies of selected species and conservation strategies will be reviewed. Not creditable to the biology major. Enrollment limited.—Morrison

 

152L. Organisms and Populations—An introduction to the biology of plants and animals including diversity, structural and physiological adaptations, and patterns of inheritance. The expression of these attributes in population growth, species interactions, community organization, and ecosystem function will also be considered. The laboratory provides the opportunity to explore biological concepts through observation, experimental design and analysis, using classical and modern techniques and instrumentation. Prerequisite: permission of O’Donnell. (1 1/4 course credits)—Staff

 

NESC 201. Principles of Neuroscience: Neurobiology—An introductory course in neuroscience that will examine the neuron and its biological interactions in animal nervous systems.  Topics will include the anatomy, development, chemistry and physiology of nervous systems.  Prerequisites: Biology 152L and 153L, or permission of the instructor. (1 course credit)—Kehoe

 

215L. Botany—An introductory study of the structure and function, development, metabolism, reproduction, dispersal, ecology and evolution of plants. Plant/animal interactions and co-evolution will be considered. Laboratory exercises and field work are designed to involve students with important concepts discussed in lecture. Prerequisites: Biology 152L and 153L and permission of the instructor. (With special permission, may be taken without prerequisite course.) (1 1/4 course credits)—Schneider

 

221L. Genetics—A study of the basic principles of genetics including the transmission and organization of the genetic material in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, the molecular biology of nucleic acids and information transfer, mutation and mutagenesis, and gene regulation. Laboratory will include techniques of genetic analysis in plants, fungi, and Drosophila. Selected experiments in cytogenetics, molecular genetics, and the genetics of bacteria and bacteria phage. Prerequisites: Biology 152L and 153L. (1 1/4 course credits) (This course may be taken without laboratory by registering for Biology 221. (1 course credit)—Galbraith

 

226L. Recombinant DNA Technology—Human gene therapy, genetically-engineered crop plants and transgenic mice are all possible because of the powerful techniques developed to manipulate nucleic acids and proteins. This course will introduce you to the fundamental methods at the heart of this technology: DNA isolation, restriction digestion, DNA recombination, Southern blotting and DNA library screening. The emphasis will be on the laboratory experience, with lectures covering current examples of research using the techniques described. Prerequisites: Biology 152L and 153L, and permission of the instructor (formerly Biology 326L). Enrollment limited. (1 1/4  course credits)—Archer

 

227L. Cell Biology—A study of cell structure and function, emphasizing the molecular components, metabolism, organelles, motility, and growth and division. The molecular biology of cells and the regulation of cellular processes are emphasized. Laboratory exercises will include light microscopy, molecular cellular experiments, and other experiments in cell biology (formerly Biology 307L). Prerequisites: Biology 152L and 153L. (1 1/4 course credits)—Foster

 

233L. Conservation Biology—This lecture/discussion/lab course focuses on the science and theory of this interdisciplinary field.  Biological concepts examined will include biodiversity and the definition of species, patterns of species vulnerability, population dynamics of declining and small populations, extinctions and invasions, rarity, metapopulations, conservation genetics, reserve design, captive breeding, endangered species, choice and monitoring of indicator species, habitat fragmentation and degradation, and population recovery programs.  Interactions between biology, human concerns regarding resource management, and the political process will also be considered.  Case studies of selected species and conservation strategies will be reviewed.  Field trips and laboratory exercises will touch on issues such as species diversity, population viability analysis, habitat fragmentation, ecological monitoring, species invasions, and conservation genetics. Prerequisites: Biology 152 and permission of the instructor. (1 1/4 course credits)—Morrison

 

[244. Biology of Infectious Disease]—This course will examine the basic microbiological and immunological principles which underlie human disease processes. AIDS, cholera, Lyme disease, malaria, plague, rabies and tuberculosis will be studied. Evaluation will be based on two written examinations and a paper. Prerequisites: Biology 152L and 153L. Enrollment limited.

 

317L. Biochemistry—The goal of this course is to provide an introduction to the chemical and molecular reactions that sustain life. Topics include: biomolecule structure and function, bioenergetic principles that rule the synthesis and degradation of biological macromolecules, and integration and regulation of metabolic pathways. We will also discuss the regulated biosynthesis and processing of large macromolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids. As a consequence of its interdisciplinary nature, this course should be rewarding to students with a variety of interests. This is a lecture and discussion-based course with an instructional laboratory. The final grade earned will be determined by performance on examinations, quizzes, written assignments, laboratory reports, group activities, attendance and participation. Prerequisites: Biology 152 and 153, Chemistry 211 and 212, and permission of the instructor. (1 1/4  course credits)—Guardiola-Diaz

 

319L. Animal Physiology—This course examines the physiological mechanisms underlying four fundamental functions: movement, sensation, feeding, and reproduction. How do physiological systems operate to enable organisms to live in drastically different habitats? What are the common cellular and molecular mechanisms that are shared by diverse animals? The laboratory will consist of several preparations examining developmental, sensory, endocrine, and muscle physiology, followed by more-detailed, independent investigations of one of these preparations. Prerequisites: 152L and 153L, and permission of the instructor. (1 1 /4 course credits)—Dunlap

 

[333L. Ecology]—A study of the adaptions of organisms to their environment and of the interrelationships among organisms which determine the structure and attributes of natural populations and biological communities. Field trips and laboratory exercises use sampling methods and statistical techniques in the analysis of the response of organisms to their physical environment, of selected population phenomena, and of different natural communities. Several field trips are required during the term. Prerequisites: Biology 152L and 153L, and permission of the instructor. Biology 222L and 215L are recommended, but are not prerequisites.

 

350L. Biological Electron Microscopy—Electron microscopes are valuable research tools that have provided a wealth of information about cell structure and function. Using the transmission electron microscopy (TEM) laboratory in the Life Sciences Center, this course provides an introduction to cellular ultrastructure and to techniques through which it can be studied. Students will learn techniques of tissue fixation, embedding, sectioning (ultramicrotomy), and staining, as well as use of the TEM to visualize and photograph specimens. Microscopic structure of cells and tissues also will be studied using prepared specimens. This course is primarily designed for students interested in doing research in biology or neuroscience. In addition to the formal laboratory period, students will need to arrange blocks of time to practice the techniques. Because of the nature of the course, enrollment is limited, and students contemplating registration should contact the instructor in advance to discuss their interests. Prerequisites: Biology 152L and 153L, and permission of the instructor. (1 1/4 course credits)—Lehman

 

403. Research Seminar—Students engaged in laboratory research, as well as honors candidates conducting library research, will meet with the Biology faculty for oral presentations and critical discussions of journal papers, research-plans, and research progress. Prerequisites: simultaneous enrollment in Biology 419 or 425, and permission of the staff. (1/2 course credit)—Galbraith

 

419. Research in Biology (Library)—Students will conduct library research projects under the direction of an individual staff member. Students electing this type of independent study should plan on a full semester culminating with the completion of a final formal paper. Seniors and those using library research to satisfy the Group III requirement must simultaneously enroll in the Research Seminar (Biology 403). Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and Chair are required for enrollment. (1/2 course credit per semester) (See paragraph on Research in Biology in the description of the major.)—Staff

 

425. Research in Biology (Laboratory)—Students will conduct original laboratory research projects under the direction of an individual staff member. Students electing to pursue independent study of this type should plan on initiating the work no later than the fall of the senior year, and should also plan on no less than two semesters of study with a final formal report to be submitted to the staff. Seniors and those using laboratory research to satisfy the Group III requirement must simultaneously enroll in the Research Seminar (Biology 403). Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and Chair are required for enrollment. (1/2 course credit per semester) (See paragraph on Research in Biology in the description of the major.)—Staff

 

[458L. Immunology]—A laboratory course that examines the immune system, both innate and acquired, in mammals. Special emphasis includes the genetics, molecular genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology that allows the immune system to function. The generation of diversity with respect to immunological specificity and the recognition of self and non-self are examined as well (formerly Biology 358L). Prerequisites: Biology 152L, Biology 153L, Biology 221, and one of the following: Biology 307L, Biology 308L, or Biology 317L and permission of the instructor.

 

463L. Ecological Concepts and Methods—This advanced-level course, utilizing both lectures and student-led seminars, provides a detailed exploration of a variety of ecological topics, ranging from the level of the individual organism to the biosphere. Readings are drawn predominantly from the primary literature. Laboratories, mostly field-based, introduce methodology and emphasize the design of observational and experimental studies. There will likely be one or two mandatory weekend-long lab sessions at a field station (formerly Biology 363L). Prerequisites: Biology 333L and permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 12. (With special permission, may be taken without the prerequisite.) (1 1/4 course credits)—Smedley

 

466. Teaching Assistantship—Students who have been invited to function as teaching assistants will register for this course. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and Chair are required for enrollment. (1/2 course credit) (See paragraph on Teaching Assistants in the description of the major. Not creditable to the major.)—Staff

 

[475. Symbiosis]—The word “symbiosis” was coined to describe an arrangement in which organisms of different species live closely together. The relationship may be of mutual benefit (mutualism), may be of benefit to one member while harmful to the other (parasitism), or may be beneficial to one and of neutral effect on the other (commensalism). Examples of the incredible variety of relationships include the commensalism between remoras and sharks, the parasitism of mistletoes on trees, and the mutualism of ants and acacia plants. Some of the most important events in the history of life—origin of eukaryotic cells, for example—are the result of ancient symbiotic interactions. We will examine the natural history, physiology and evolution of these remarkable associations (formerly Biology 375). Prerequisites: Biology 152L and 153L. Enrollment limited.

 

601. IDP Study Unit— Independent study guide available only to students in the Individualized Degree Program. Permission of the instructor and a signed permission slip are required for registration. See the IDP Catalogue for a full listing.

 

602. IDP Project— Limited to students in the Individualized Degree Program. Requires submission of a special proposal form which is available in the IDP Office. (0-5 course credits)

 

Spring Term

[116. Biogeography]—All species have been distributed to certain environments on planet earth, some survived, others did not. This course will study the historical and recent dispersal mechanisms as well as environmental pressures which allow for plants and animal distribution patterns. Evolutionary mechanisms leading to adaptation will be emphasized, as well as recent alien invasions into susceptible environments. Grades based upon several exams, short papers, a term paper and classroom discussions. Not creditable to the biology major. Enrollment limited. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

 

[118. Human Biology]—A study of basic human structure and function. The course will consider the structure of cells, tissues, and organs and how these function to meet human biological requirements. Emphasis will be placed upon practical aspects of human biology such as nutrition, exercise, reproduction technology, and the role of the immune system and its relation to HIV/AIDS. Other topics and issues that arise from class discussion or in the news media will also be included. Readings will be from a text and supplemental sources. Evaluation will be based on examinations, short writing assignments, and a longer research/writing activity. Not creditable to the biology major. Enrollment limited. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

 

120. Genes, Clones, and Biotechnology—This course will focus on the fundamental concepts of genetics and human reproduction upon which current biotechnologies are based. Topics will include patterns of heredity, the molecular biology of gene structure and function, the manipulation and analysis of DNA, genes and disease, mutation, reproduction and embryonic development. The application of this knowledge as it is used in genetic screening, gene therapy, forensic medicine, embryo cloning, the production of transgenic organisms, and other biotechnologies will be discussed. In addition, the social, legal, and ethical ramifications of these technologies will be considered. Not creditable to the biology major. Enrollment limited. (1 course credit)—Galbraith

 

131. Urban Wildlife Ecology—Conservation of wildlife and natural habitats in urban, suburban, and developing areas. We will study the occurrence, adaptations, and values of wildlife in urbanized areas, with emphasis on research and agency programs. The theory and practice of applying ecological principles to the management of wildlife and wildlife habitats in metropolitan areas will be examined. Not creditable to the biology major. Enrollment limited. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. (1 course credit)—O’Donnell

 

153L. Cells, Metabolism, and Heredity—An introduction to the study of the organization and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Topics to be covered include organelle and membrane structure, biomolecules, metabolism, bioenergetics, and the molecular basis of inheritance. The laboratory offers the opportunity to explore biological concepts through observation, experimentation, and data collection and analysis, using both classical and modern techniques and instrumentation. Prerequisite: permission of O’Donnell. (1 1/4 course credits)—Staff

 

[204. Plant Diversity]—Although the earliest plants were simple cells limited to an aquatic environment, today’s plants are found in many habitats, including deserts and high altitudes. To survive in these environments, plants have evolved a remarkable variety of body forms and specialized structures. This course will survey the plant kingdom, focusing on adaptations that permitted plants to advance into new habitats. We will examine selected examples from the major groups, combining lectures, demonstrations and observations (formerly Biology 304). Prerequisites: Biology 152L and 153L. Enrollment limited.

 

[222L. Invertebrate Zoology]—An introductory study of the variety, morphology, functional attributes, development, ecology and evolution of the major groups of invertebrate animals. The laboratory includes demonstrations, dissections, and experimental observation which relate adaptations in structural patterns and physiological processes of organisms to their marine, freshwater, or terrestrial environments. Prerequisite: Biology 152L. (With special permission, may be taken without prerequisite course.)

 

228L. Microbiology—A study of microorganisms that include bacteria, viruses, and eukaryotic microbes. Structure, genetics, metabolism, growth and division, and prokaryotic experimental systems are examined. In addition, mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis and human and viral pathogens are explored. Laboratory exercises will consist of sterile techniques, culture, microscopy, and identification of bacterial specimens. Other exercises will involve experiments in genetic exchange (formerly Biology 308L). Prerequisites: Biology 152L, 153L, and Chemistry 211L. (1 1/4 course credits)—Foster

 

310L. Developmental Biology—A study of the developmental processes in animals with emphasis on vertebrates. Modern theories of development are emphasized. Laboratory exercise will include studies of the developmental anatomy of several animals with emphasis on the early embryology of the chick. In addition, experiments dealing with several aspects of animal morphogenesis will be pursued and selected techniques used in experimental studies of animal development will be introduced. Prerequisites: Biology 152L and 153L. Biology 221 or 307L is recommended. (1 1/4 course credits)—Galbraith

 

315L. Vertebrate Zoology—A broad-based survey of the biological diversity and evolution of the vertebrates. Special emphasis will be placed on functional morphology, physiology, paleontology, and ecology, as related to evolutionary history. The laboratory will introduce the student to the fundamentals of vertebrate anatomy through the dissection of such animals as the dogfish shark, the cat, and the rabbit. Other lab exercises will deal with functional analysis and reconstruction of phylogenetic relationships. Prerequisites: Biology 152L and permission of the instructor. (1 1/4 course credits)—Blackburn

 

323L. Plant Metabolism and Behavior—This course is a study of how plants function. Like animals, plants must have food and water, protect themselves from predators and accommodate changes in their environment. However, plants have evolved very different solutions to these common problems. We will examine the mechanism of plant movements, how plants detect changes in the world around them, how they transport water great distances without a pump, and how they feed themselves. Special topics include the physiology of parasitic plants, the mechanisms by which plants withstand freezing and drought, and how plants combat insects and disease. Prerequisites: Biology 152L and 153L. (1 1/4 course credits)—Archer

 

336L. Marine and Freshwater Botany—A study of the life-histories and environmental strategies of aquatic algae, bryophytes, and vascular plants. The course will highlight the physiological problems and anatomical adaptations associated with life in various fluid environments. Fieldwork in a peat bog, Long Island Sound, and fresh-water environments supplements self-designed research projects on reproductive morphology, growth studies and physiology of selected aquatic plants. Prerequisite: Biology 215L. (With special permission, may be taken without the prerequisite course.) (1 1/4 course credits)—Schneider

 

404. Research Seminar—Students engaged in laboratory research, as well as honor candidates conducting library research, will meet with the Biology faculty for oral presentations and critical discussions of journal papers, research plans, and research progress. Prerequisites: simultaneous enrollment in Biology 425 or 419 and permission of the staff. (1/2 course credit)—Guardiola-Diaz

 

419. Research in Biology (Library)—Students will conduct library research projects under the direction of an individual staff member. Students electing this type of independent study should plan on a full semester culminating with the completion of a final formal paper. Seniors and those using library research to satisfy the Group III requirement must simultaneously enroll in the Research Seminar (Biology 404). Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and Chair are required for enrollment. (1/2 course credit per semester) (See paragraph on Research in Biology in the description of the major.)—Staff

 

425. Research in Biology (Laboratory)—Students will conduct original laboratory research projects under the direction of an individual staff member. Students electing to pursue independent study of this type should plan on initiating work no later than the fall of the senior year, and should also plan on no less than two semesters of study with a final formal report to be submitted to the staff. Seniors and those using laboratory research to satisfy the Group III requirement must simultaneously enroll in the Research Seminar (Biology 404). Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and Chair are required for enrollment. (1/2 course credit per semester) (See paragraph on Research in Biology in the description of the major.)—Staff

 

[443. Topics in Biochemistry]—This course is designed to familiarize students with specialized areas of biochemistry that are not covered in detail in introductory courses. Each section of the course will deal with a different topic, and the topics will be different each term the course is offered. Through careful analysis of primary literature and review articles, several current areas of research will be explored. The final grade earned will be determined by participation in discussion, oral presentations and written assignments (formerly Biology 343). Prerequisites: Biology 317L and permission of the instructor.

 

466. Teaching Assistantship—Students who have been invited to function as teaching assistants will register for this course. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and Chair are required for enrollment. (1/2 course credit) (See paragraph on Teaching Assistants in the description of the major. Not creditable to the major.)—Staff

 

[468. Marine Phytogeography]—An advanced level seminar on the historical and recent biological, physical and artificial factors controlling the distribution of marine organisms, particularly seaweeds. Class discussions focus on current phytogeographical literature. An investigative search and term paper on the known distribution of a marine alga is required (formerly Biology 368). Prerequisites: Biology 336L and permission of the instructor. (With special permission, may be taken without the prerequisite course.)

 

473L. Sensory Biology—This integrative course examines the cell biology, development, physiology and ecology of the senses (vision, audition, olfaction, taste and touch). We will discuss the complex ways humans gather, filter and process sensory information; and how animals sense the world quite differently. The laboratory section will include histological and physiological studies, and some field studies of animal communication (formerly Biology 373L). Prerequisites: 319L or 313, and permission of the instructor. (With special permission, may be taken without the prerequisite.) (1 1/4 course credits)—Dunlap

 

497. Honors Thesis—An extended paper on the subject of the student’s two-semester research project with a professor in Biology, to be read by three or more members of the Department. This course is open to only those biology majors who wish to qualify for honors (See paragraph on Honors in Biology in the description of the major). Simultaneous enrollment in Biology 419 or 425 and 404, submission of the special registration form available in the Registrar’s Office, and approval of the instructor and Chair, are required for enrollment. (1/2 course credit, one term only)—Staff

 

601. IDP Study Unit— Independent study guide available only to students in the Individualized Degree Program. Permission of the instructor and a signed permission slip are required for registration. See the IDP Catalogue for a full listing.

 

602. IDP Project— Limited to students in the Individualized Degree Program. Requires submission of a special proposal form which is available in the IDP Office. (0-5 course credit)