Department Head: Dr. Lori Hensley
242 Martin Hall
The Department of Biology offers a diverse spectrum of undergraduate courses in the biological sciences that enable a student to develop an understanding and appreciation of life, from molecular to ecological, and to develop the strong academic background necessary for pursuing graduate study or a career in biology or the health professions. The department recognizes the importance of both content and process in science education and thus offers the opportunity to develop communication skills and engage in undergraduate research in the biological sciences.
The Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science degrees with a major in Biology require an overall minimum of 120 hours with a minimum of 36 hours of 300/400 level courses. At least 12 hours of the 300/400 level courses must be taken in residence at JSU. Students must earn a “C” or better in biology coursework and maintain a 2.00 GPA overall and in the courses taken on campus. Once the student has met the requirements for the major, the hours remaining to complete the 120 hours overall will be classified as electives.
The Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology is for those who intend to pursue careers in:
- health professions (medicine, dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, physician assistant, etc.)
- graduate programs (MS, PhD), biological education, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, conservation biology, environmental biology, organismal biology, marine biology, industrial professions (lab managers, consulting, etc.)
- governmental professions (research scientist, NOAA, NMFS, etc.)
After completing a common core of biology courses, the Biology major may choose a concentration from the listing below. Students pursuing a BS degree in Biology are not required to have a minor in another academic discipline.
- Cellular and Molecular Biology
- Ecology and Environmental Biology
- Marine Biology
- Organismal Biology
- Pre-Health Professional Biology
Advising—Students who plan to earn the BS degree in Biology should consult with the Department of Biology for advisement early in their plan of study and every semester thereafter. To complete the Biology degree program, the students majoring in Biology must plan carefully, since science laboratories can cause scheduling conflicts. An advisor can alert students to potential problems and assist in minimizing such conflicts. It is recommended that the Biology major complete the biology core of two semesters of introductory biology, genetics, cell biology, and ecology early in the course of study. Careful planning will facilitate the opportunity for undergraduate research.
Additional departmental, program, advising, and career information is available at www.jsu.edu/biology.
- Biology (Bachelor of Arts)
- Biology - Cellular and Molecular Biology (Bachelor of Science)
- Biology - Ecology and Environmental Biology (Bachelor of Science)
- Biology - Marine Biology (Bachelor of Science)
- Biology - Organismal Biology (Bachelor of Science)
- Biology - Pre-Health Professional Biology (Bachelor of Science)
- Biology Minor
An introduction to the concepts of biology, including cellular structure and function, bioenergetics, patterns and mechanisms of inheritance, the processes of evolution, and ecology. Intended for biology majors and minors and pre-nursing students.
An introduction to biodiversity, from bacteria through plants and animals, with an emphasis on their structure, function, and ecological interactions. Intended for biology majors and minors.
One two-hour laboratory per week. This course provides an authentic research experience for students with student-designed experiments in basic cell biology. Students will engage in all aspects of the scientific process: asking questions; stating and testing hypotheses; collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data; and communicating results in varied formats. Intended for majors and non-majors.
One two-hour laboratory per week. This course provides an authentic research experience for students with student-designed experiments in ecology and biodiversity. Students will engage in all aspects of the scientific process: asking questions; stating and testing hypotheses; collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data; and communicating results in varied formats. Intended for majors and non-majors.
Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Honors Program or approval of instructor.
Corequisite(s): BY 107.
Substitutes for BY 101. An advanced introduction to the concepts of biology, including chemistry as related to biology, cell structure and function, energy pathways, cellular reproduction, genetics, genetic techniques, evolution and ecology. For majors and non-majors.
Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of BY 105 or approval of instructor.
Corequisite(s): BY 108.
Substitutes for BY 102. An advanced introduction to diversity in the living world. Emphasis is on structure, function, and ecological interactions of living organisms beginning with bacteria and viruses and progressing through plants and animals. For majors and non-majors.
An introduction to biology in the context of every day life, exploring cell biology, genetics, evolution, and ecology as they inform our world. Designed for non-science majors and cannot be used for credit toward biology major or minor or pre-nursing. This course meets a JSU university core curriculum natural science requirement when taken with BY 103 or BY 104. This course may not fulfill some program requirements. Please check with your academic advisor.
Topic-centered approach to introduce fundamental biological principles in the context of the physiology of organisms with an emphasis on human physiology under different states of health and disease. Basic biology including metabolism, bacteria and viruses, DNA, genetics, human organ systems, cell cycle, and human evolution and ecology will be discussed in the context of historical, current, and emerging diseases. Designed for non-science majors and cannot be used for credit toward biology major or minor or pre-nursing. This course meets a JSU university core curriculum natural science requirement when taken with BY 103 or BY 104. This course may not fulfill some program requirements. Please check with your advisor.
An introduction to the ecological relationship between humans and the natural world, with an emphasis on scientific literacy, current events, global and international issues, and historical context. Designed for non-science majors and cannot be used for credit toward biology major or minor or pre-nursing. This course meets a JSU university core curriculum natural science requirement when taken with BY 103 or BY 104. This course may not fulfill some program requirements. Please check with your advisor.
This course is a one-semester course that serves as an introduction to the gross and microscopic anatomy and physiology of the major organ systems in humans and the importance of the relationship between structure and function. This class focuses on the organization, homeostasis and control mechanisms of the body, as well as basic chemistry and cell biology necessary for understanding human physiology. Three hours class and two hours lab per week. Intended for secondary education majors in general science. No credit allowed towards Biology major or minor or pre-nursing.
Lecture and laboratory. The first of a two-course sequence of human anatomy and physiology, with an emphasis on the skeletal, muscular, respiratory and circulatory systems. For students in health-related majors; no credit allowed toward Biology major or minor.
Prerequisite(s): BY 263.
Lecture and laboratory. The second of a two-course sequence of human anatomy and physiology, with an emphasis on the digestive, urinary, reproductive and endocrine systems. For students in health-related majors; no credit allowed towards Biology major or minor.
A contemporary and historical study of biological conservation in America. Topics include national and global biodiversity, threats to biodiversity, conservation ethics and economics, habitat loss and degradation, habitat fragmentation, overexploitation, invasive species, conservation genetics, and conservation policy. Also addressed are the management of species and population dynamics, ecosystem conservation, restoration of degraded ecosystems, and sustainable development.
This course is designed for students planning on teaching in the traditional classroom, as well as those planning on informal education careers with groups such as the National Park Service, Forest Service, State Extension, and State Parks. An overview of the history, philosophy, principles, and approaches used in environmental education (EE) and outreach will be discussed. EE curricula in non-formal and in-school contexts will be studied and analyzed. Students will produce activity plans appropriate for their current or future educational programming.
Recommended: BY 370. May be duplicated for credit for a total of three (3) semester hours, but only 1 hour may be applied to the major. A laboratory, field or library research investigation dealing with an aspect of the biological sciences. Biology sponsor required for topic approval and supervision. Grades: Pass/Fail.
Prerequisite(s): BY 101.
The course provides fundamental background in bioinformatics, both theoretical (bioinformatics algorithms) and practical (databases and web-based tools used to study problems in biology), to students in computer science or in biological sciences. Introduction to the biological problems addressed in this course will be provided, as well as a formal definition of the computational problems and a deep exploration of the algorithms for solving these problems. Practical use of topics introduced in class is demonstrated by laboratory exercises and homework problems. Students are grouped for class projects such that each group contains at least one life scientist and one computer scientist. BY 340 is cross-listed with CS 340, but only one course can be counted for credit.
May be duplicated for credit for a total of three (3) semester hours, but only 1 hour may be applied to the major. The student will spend a minimum of 25 hours gaining practical experience at a public or private institution or business. Grade: Pass/Fail.
Topics, excursions, and requirements determined by department. May be duplicated for credit; however, only three (3) credits may be applied toward any major or minor. Infrequently scheduled and subject to minimum and maximum numbers. Advance deposit required.
Study of immunity and how the immune system responds to specific infectious and non-infectious agents; comparative immunology of invertebrate and vertebrate animals, immunological disorders, and application of immunological techniques; lecture and laboratory.
Prerequisite(s): BY 332.
Genetic and anatomical bases of behavior; impact of behavior on the ecology of animals emphasized; lecture, discussion, demonstration and library studies.
Prerequisite(s): BY 332.
History, classification, anatomy, physiology, ecology, and distribution of birds; laboratory emphasis on field identification and ecology; lecture, laboratory, and field studies.
Prerequisite(s): BY 332.
Aspects of the biology, ecology, taxonomy, and distribution of southeastern mammals; lecture, laboratory, and field studies.
Prerequisite(s): BY 332.
Lecture, laboratory and field study. The course will address the history, evolution, and recent developments in natural resource policy and how it influences ecosystem structure and function. Topics will include fish and wildlife conservation, forest planning and management, agricultural policies, public lands (Bureau of Land Management lands, national forests, national wildlife refuges, national parks, and wilderness areas), endangered species, and policies that influence private lands. The relationship between policies and ecosystem structure and function will be addressed in class and in labs by debates and field exercises.
An introduction into statistics for biology majors. This course will introduce students to appropriate statistics for analyzing biological data including how to select random samples, use basic statistical packages, post-hoc statistical testing and the use of linear regression and will use real-world examples of statistics in ecological, toxicological, and physiological research; lecture and laboratory.
An introduction to the role of plants in human health and medicine, with an emphasis on their biologically active compounds. Includes a survey of traditional medicines around the world (e.g., Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine) and contemporary clinical methods at the forefront of medical research. Lecture and laboratory.
Laboratory or field research investigation dealing with an aspect of biological sciences; biology sponsor required for topic approval and supervision. Grade: Pass/Fail
Undergraduate Prerequisite: BY 322. Graduate Lecture, laboratory, and field study. Emphasis will be on the role of spatial heterogeneity in terrestrial systems; its detection and description, analysis of pattern formation, landscape dynamics and models, human interactions with heterogeneity, and the implications of heterogeneity of populations, communities, and ecosystems. Landscape ecology provides approaches to fundamental research questions in ecology, as well as new approaches to forest and resource management that consider ecosystem processes at larger spatial and temporal scales.
Prerequisite(s): BY 332.
Analysis of the unique ecology and biology of the freshwater environment; extensive field work; research project; lecture, laboratory, and field studies.
Prerequisite(s): BY 322.
Study of the processes and mechanisms which lead to evolutionary change in the biota; lecture, laboratory and field studies.
Prerequisite(s): BY 332.
Lecture, laboratory, and field study of insects and other arthropods, with an emphasis on the taxonomy, morphology, physiology, and ecology of the insects.
Prerequisite(s): BY 332.
Arthropods of medical and veterinary importance, how they affect their hosts and transmit disease.
Recommended: BY 322. This course is a survey of ecotoxicology. The study of the integration of the major processes involved with transport, exposure and response of biological systems to xenobiotics, how toxicants mediate interactions between organisms and their biotic and abiotic environments and, the impact and toxic effects of pollutants on diversity, growth and metabolism of living organisms, populations, communities, and the ecosystem; lecture, laboratory and field study.
Prerequisite(s): BY 322 or approval of instructor.
Study of the processes involved in the expression of biological information at the molecular level; lecture and laboratory.
Prerequisite(s): BY 373.
Study of the comparative structural organization of the vegetative and reproductive parts of seed plants, from cells to tissues to systems; lecture and laboratory.
Prerequisite(s): BY 332.
Lecture, laboratory, and field study. The identification, taxonomy, ecological characteristics, distribution, and economic importance of trees native to North America and ornamentals.
Prerequisite(s): BY 332.
An overview of the evolution, ecology, behavior, physiology, and conservations of fishes. Preparation and presentation of an original library or lab/field research project required. Lecture, laboratory, and field study.
Prerequisite(s): BY 332.
Systematics, ecology, physiology, and phylogenic relationships of invertebrate animals; lecture, laboratory, and field studies.
Recommended: BY 322, 412, 431 and CY 231. Cell and Tissue Culture is an advanced biology course dealing with in vitro manipulation of cells, organs, and tissues; both solid and suspension culture and their application to biotechnology. Lecture and laboratory.
General introduction to vertebrate endocrine systems and the variety of chemical messengers involved in the regulation of physiological processes. Topics will include discussions of the history and methodologies of endocrinology, hormone synthesis, physiological effects of hormones, and the mechanisms of actions for various hormones.
Prerequisite(s): Senior Standing.
The capstone course in biology includes a written report, an oral presentation in a symposium format, satisfactory completion of a comprehensive exam for the major, and participation in departmental assessment. Required for Biology major. (Writing Intensive Course)
A general survey of the invertebrates, vertebrates, and marine plants as communities with emphasis on local examples of these principal groups. Students will have an opportunity to examine marshland, estuarine, beach, dune, inlet and neritic habitats, and niches. Lecture, laboratory, and field work will be included
Prerequisites for Undergraduate: BY 101, 102, 103, 104, one year of general chemistry, and one semester of general physics. Prerequisites for Graduate: Graduate standing in biology; marine invertebrate zoology or marine biology (one semester of physics recommended). Bioenergetics, community structure, population dynamics, predation, competition, and speciation in marine ecosystems will be studied; lecture and laboratory work will be included, although considerable time will be spent in field work; individual species will be studied as they relate to ecological principles which they exemplify, thus providing both a taxonomic and ecologic background.
Prerequisites for Undergraduate: BY 101, 102, 103, and 104. Prerequisite for Graduate: Graduate standing in biology. Study of coastal and pelagic birds with emphasis on ecology, taxonomy, and distribution; identification, population dynamics, and behavior of coastal birds; lecture, laboratory, and overnight trips to offshore islands.
Prerequisite(s): General biology required; ichthyology, limnology, and invertebrate zoology suggested, but not required.
This course will introduce students to techniques in marine aquaculture with emphasis in the areas of nutrition and feeding, reproductive biology, production techniques, water quality requirements, processing, marketing, and economics of commercially important marine aquaculture species. This course is also designed to assist students in developing their problem solving and communication skills.
Prerequisites for Undergraduate: BY 101, 102, 103, and 104. Prerequisite for Graduate: Graduate standing in biology. General study of coastal and marine flora with emphasis on taxonomy, morphology, physiology, ecology, and distribution; community structure in various ecosystems will be studied; students will have an opportunity to examine pelagic, marshland, estuarine, beach, sand dune, and inlet niches.
Prerequisite(s): One year of general biology or one year of general zoology and one year of general botany; one year of general chemistry; one semester of physics; and one semester of college algebra.
An introduction to biological, chemical, geological, and physical aspects of the sea.
Examines the ecology and evolution of coral reef communities, seagrass beds, and mangrove swamps with exploration of such issues as the degradation of reef-building corals by macroalgae, hurricanes, coral bleaching, diseases of corals and sea urchins, over-fishing and pollution. Students will participate in lectures and field exercises in the vicinity of Dauphin Island, and will take a one-week field trip to Andros Island, Bahamas.
Intended to develop a student's understanding of conservation biology by building upon the foundations of ecology; lectures and field exercises; requires students to develop a topical term paper and give a presentation.
Prerequisite for Undergraduate: Advanced undergraduate standing. Prerequisite for Graduate: Graduate standing in biology. Study of floral and faunal elements of various marine marsh communities; interaction of physical and biological factors will be emphasized; structured to provide field experience in addition to lecture material; trips will be scheduled to acquaint students with regional examples of marsh types.
Prerequisite for Undergraduate: Advanced undergraduate standing. Prerequisite for Graduate: Graduate standing in biology. Introduction to instruments and procedures normally utilized aboard a marine research vessel; includes physical, biological, chemical, and geological parameter measurements and sample collections; basic positioning and communication procedures included.
Prerequisite for Undergraduate: Advanced undergraduate standing. Prerequisite for Graduate: Graduate standing in biology. Introduction to the laboratory methodology associated with the usual chemical parameters of nutrient analysis; laboratory approach will be pursued; shipboard and other specific skills will be developed.
Prerequisite(s): Advanced undergraduate standing.
A review of ecological features and of management policies for coastal communities with a description of relevant federal and state programs.
This course will provide an overview of the scientific and technical principles of marine habitat restoration. We will discuss the role of key ecological concepts in restoration, and the role of restoration in science and society. Students will identify structural and functional components of marine habitats and learn how to design restoration projects and monitoring plans that capture these key components of structure and function. Students will learn to recognize when adaptive management may be needed, and how to formulate strategies to correct or maintain the desired trajectory of restored habitats. Students will also be introduced to the interdisciplinary nature of restoration science, including social, ethical, political and economic aspects. Lectures will be supplemented with reading assignments.
Prerequisite(s): Advanced undergraduate standing in Biology or Environmental Engineering.
A Basic or Fortran programming course or experience. The study of holistic characteristics, structure, function, and performance of marine and estuarine ecological systems, including interactions with systems of man. Strongly recommended: calculus background, preferably through differential equations.
This course provides an introduction to the biology of sharks and rays, with special emphasis on regional shark fauna and field techniques. Topics covered include, but not restricted to evolution and systematics of chondrichthyan fishes, physiology, reproduction and life history, diet, ecology, and conservation biology. Lecture and Lab experiences.
Prerequisite for Graduate: None.Designed to enable students to make rapid, accurate, and thoughtful use of a customized reference file and laboratory and field notes to respond to questions about the classification, anatomy, and ecology of marine mammals; lecture and laboratory. (Not open to students with credit in MBY 481.)
Prerequisite for Undergraduate: BY 332. Recommended: MS 204. Prerequisite for Graduate: None. Examines how animal behavior is influenced by and interacts with its environment, and the ecological and evolutionary significance of these behaviors in a marine setting; lectures, laboratory, and field exercises (some overnight).
Prerequisite for Undergraduate: BY 323. Prerequisite for Graduate: None. Introduction to marine animal diseases, specifically finfish and shellfish; practical microbiological techniques for isolation and identification of diseases; lecture, laboratory, and field trips.
for Undergraduate. (5). for Graduate. Prerequisite for Undergraduate: Advanced undergraduate standing. Prerequisite for Graduate: None. Introduction to the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of marine invertebrates and vertebrates; Neuroism computer package used to help illustrate the basic principles and to allow a detailed exploration of neurophysiology and neutral networks; lecture and laboratory.
Prerequisites for Undergraduate: BY 101, 102, 103, and 104. Prerequisite for Graduate: Graduate standing in biology. Study of marine fish, reptiles, and mammals, with a comprehensive treatment of their systematics, zoogeography, and ecology; lectures will encompass subject matter on a non-regional basis; field and laboratory work will stress the vertebrate fauna of the northern Gulf of Mexico; students will have the opportunity to assemble a collection of vertebrate species.
Prerequisites for Undergraduate: BY 101, 102, 103, and 104. Prerequisite for Graduate: Graduate standing in biology. Examination of the systematics, ecology, physiology, and phylogenetic relationships of locally occurring marine invertebrate taxa; lecture, laboratory, and field work required; students have an opportunity to acquire collections of local fauna.
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor.
Students may enroll by special arrangement to do research in any of the subject areas of marine science currently being offered at the Sea Laboratory.