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Biology

Students may complete a major or minor in biology. Within the major, students may complete a minor in computational methods, or a concentration in environmental studies or neural and behavioral sciences.

Faculty

Peter D. Brodfuehrer, Professor and Chair
Tamara L. Davis, Associate Professor (on leave 2005-06)
Wilfred A. Franklin, Laboratory Instructor
Stephen L. Gardiner, Senior Lecturer
Sarah Gibbs, Lecturer
Karen F. Greif, Professor
Paul Grobstein, Professor
Margaret A. Hollyday, Professor
John-David Swanson, Lecturer
Lauren J. Sweeney, Lecturer
Neal M. Williams, Assistant Professor
Theodore G. Wong, Assistant Professor

The programs of the department are designed to introduce students to unifying concepts and broad issues in biology, and to provide the opportunity for in-depth inquiry into topics of particular interest through coursework and independent study. Introductory- and intermediate-level courses examine the structures and functions of living systems at all levels of organization, from molecules, cells and organisms to populations. Advanced courses encourage the student to gain proficiency in the critical reading of research literature, leading to the development, defense and presentation of a senior paper. In addition, there are opportunities for independent research projects with faculty.

Major Requirements

Course requirements for a major in biology include two semesters of introductory biology, 101 and 102 (or 103 plus either 101 or 102, with the department’s permission); six courses at the 200 and 300 level (excluding 390-398), of which at least three must be laboratory courses; and one senior seminar course (390-395, or 398). Two semesters of supervised laboratory research, 403, may be substituted for one of the required laboratory courses. In addition, two semester courses in general chemistry and three additional semester courses in physics, chemistry, geology, mathematics, computer science, psychology (courses that satisfy the Division II requirement) or statistics are required for all majors. Selection of these three science courses needs to be done in consultation with the student’s major adviser and be approved by the department. Students interested in pursuing graduate studies or medical school are encouraged to take two semesters each of physics and organic chemistry.

Students with a score of 4 or 5 on their Advanced Placement examinations, or equivalent International Baccalaureate scores, will receive divisional credit only; they may not be used for the major in biology. A student wishing to enter biology courses at the 200 level without having taken Biology 101 and 102 must take and pass the departmental placement exam. Courses in other departments may be substituted for major requirements with the department’s permission.

Honors

The honors distinction requires maintaining a course average of 3.7 in the major and participating in departmental activities and events. Final selection for honors is made by the biology faculty from the list of eligible students.

Minor Requirements

A minor in biology consists of six semester courses in biology. Courses in other departments may be substituted for minor requirements with the department’s permission.

Minor in Computational Methods; Concentrations in Environmental Studies and Neural and Behavioral Sciences

The Department of Biology participates with other departments in offering two concentrations within the major: environmental studies and neural and behavioral sciences. A minor in computational methods is available for students interested in computational methods and their applications to biology.

Teacher Certification

The College offers a certification program in secondary teacher education.

Animal Experimentation Policy

Students who object to participating directly in laboratory activities involving the use of animals are required to notify the faculty member of her or his objections at the beginning of the course. If alternative activities are available and deemed consistent with the pedagogical objectives of the course by the faculty member, then a student will be allowed to pursue alternative laboratory activities without penalty.

BIOL B101 Introduction to Biology I: Molecules to Cells

A comprehensive examination of topics in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, genetics and development. Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours a week. (Greif, Hollyday, Gardiner, Franklin, Swanson, Division IIL)

BIOL B102 Introduction to Biology II: Organisms to Populations

A comprehensive examination of topics in organismal diversity, physiology, ecology and evolution. Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours a week. Biology 101 is strongly recommended. (Brodfuehrer, Williams, Gardiner, Franklin, Division IIL)

BIOL B103 Biology: Basic Concepts

An introduction to the major concepts of modern biology that both underlie and emerge from exploration of living systems at levels of organization ranging from the molecular and biochemical through the cellular and organismal to the ecological. Emphasis is placed on the observational and experimental bases for ideas that are both common to diverse areas of biology and represent important contributions of biology to more general intellectual and social discourse. Topics include the chemical and physical bases of life, cell theory, energetics, genetics, development, physiology, behavior, ecology and evolution. Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours a week. (Grobstein, Division IIL)

BIOL B201 Genetics

An introduction to heredity and variation, focusing on topics such as classical Mendelian genetics, linkage and recombination, chromosome abnormalities, population genetics and molecular genetics. Examples of genetic analyses are drawn from a variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses, Drosophila and humans. Lecture three hours, laboratory three scheduled hours a week; some weeks require additional hours outside of the regularly scheduled lab. Prerequisites: Biology 101, 102 and Chemistry 103, 104. (Swanson, Division IIL)

BIOL B202 Neurobiology and Behavior

An introduction to the attempt to understand behavior in terms of the nervous system. A brief overview of fundamental principles of nervous system structure is followed by consideration of several topics chosen to illustrate how studies of the nervous system illuminate behavior and how studies of behavior contribute to better understanding of the nervous system. Examples cover a wide variety of invertebrate and vertebrate species, including humans. Lecture three hours a week. Prerequisites: Biology 101, 102 or permission of instructor. (Grobstein, Division II)

BIOL B204 Histology

A lecture and laboratory course examining the cellular structure of tissues and the ways in which those tissues are combined to form the major organs of the body. The focus on tissue structure is used as a springboard throughout the course for discussing how structure provides the basis for understanding function. Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours a week. Prerequisites: Biology 101 and 102, or permission of instructor. (Sweeney, Division IIL)

BIOL B209 Environmental Toxicology

An introduction to natural and man-made toxins and the impact they have on ecosystems. Effects on animal and plant systems are emphasized, but effects on humans are also considered. Risk analysis is presented and reference is made to their economic impact and the efforts to eliminate or control their presence in the ecosystem. Policy development and the factors - political, economic, ethical and public health - that play a role in policy development are analyzed. Lecture three hours a week. A required two-day field trip is taken in late spring; an extra fee is collected for this trip. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. (Prescott, Division II)

BIOL B210 Biology and Public Policy

A lecture/discussion course on major issues and advances in biology and their implications for public-policy decisions. Topics discussed include reproductive technologies, genetic screening and gene therapy, environmental health hazards, and euthanasia and organ transplantation. Readings include scientific articles, public-policy and ethical considerations, and lay publications. Lecture three hours a week. Prerequisite: one semester of introductory biology or equivalent, or permission of instructor. (Greif, Division II)

BIOL B215 Experimental Design and Statistics

An introductory course in designing experiments and analyzing data. This course is structured to develop students' understanding of when and how to use different quantitative methods rather than the theory of specific tests. Topics include summary statistics, sampling distributions, randomization, replication, parametric and nonparametric tests, and introductory topics in spatial statistics. The course is geared around weekly problem sets and interactive learning. Three hours of lecture/laboratory a week. Prerequisites: introductory biology, geology or permission of instructor. (Williams, Division II and Quantitative Skills)

BIOL B220 Ecology

A study of the interactions between organisms and their environments. Current environmental issues and how human activities influence the biota are also discussed. Students become familiar with ecological principles and with methods ecologists use to address tricky ecological issues. Because sound ecological theory rests on a good understanding of natural history, students learn to develop their natural-history intuition by making weekly field observations and keeping a field journal. Lecture three hours a week, laboratory/field investigation three hours a week. There will be one field trip early in the semester lasting beyond regular lab hours. Prerequisite: introductory biology or Geology 103. (Williams, Division IIL)

BIOL B223 The Story of Evolution and the Evolution of Stories

(Dalke, Grobstein, Division II or III; cross-listed as ENGL B223) Not offered in 2005-06.

BIOL B225 Biology of Plants

In-depth examination of the structures and processes underlying survival, growth, reproduction, competition and diversity in plants. Three hours of lecture a week. Prerequisites: Biology 101 and 102. (Wong, Division II and Quantitative Skills)

BIOL B233 Psychobiology of Sex Differences

The goal of this course is to survey and review research and theory regarding biological, psychological, social and cultural determinants of sex differences. This course will follow a lecture/discussion format with weekly lab meetings. Over the semester we will examine sex differences in behavior. Specifically, we will explore the role that sex chromosomes and hormones, developmental processes, cultural socialization, and gender-role stereotypes play in the creation of sex differences in brain and behavior. Prerequisites: a course in biology or psychology, or permission of the instructors. (Hollyday, Thapar, Division IIL)

BIOL B236 Evolution

A lecture/discussion course on the development of evolutionary thought, generally regarded as the most profound scientific event of the 19th century; its foundations in biology and geology; and the extent of its implications to many disciplines. Emphasis is placed on the nature of evolution in terms of process, product, patterns, historical development of the theory, and its applications to interpretations of organic history. Lecture three hours a week. Prerequisite: a 100-level science course or permission of instructors. (Davis, Gardiner, Saunders, Division II; cross-listed as ANTH B236 and GEOL B236)

BIOL B250 Computational Models in the Sciences

The course is directed toward students of all disciplines interested in learning flexible, ready-to-work recipes for computational modeling. Topics will include the theory and role of computational models in data analysis, the design and evaluation of simulation studies, and an introduction to stochastic simulation (mathematical models of systems characterized by discrete random events). Illustrative examples will be drawn from disciplines across the natural and social sciences. Two lectures and one two-hour problem session a week. Prerequisites: two courses at any level in a single Division I or Division II department or permission of instructor. (Allen, Division II and Quantitative Skills; cross-listed as CMSC B250 and GEOL B250)

BIOL B271 Developmental Biology

An introduction to animal embryology and the concepts of developmental biology. Concepts are illustrated by analyzing the experimental observations that support them. Topics include gametogenesis and fertilization, morphogenesis, cell fate specification and differentiation, pattern formation, regulation of gene expression, neural and behavioral development, and sex determination. The laboratory focuses on vertebrate embryology and involves study of prepared slides and observations and experiments on living embryos. Lecture three hours, laboratory three scheduled hours a week; most weeks require additional hours outside of the regularly scheduled lab. Prerequisites: Biology 101, 102 or permission of instructor. (Hollyday, Division IIL)

BIOL B301 Organismal Biology: Vertebrate Structure

A comparative study of major organ systems in different vertebrate groups. Similarities and differences are considered in relation to organ system function and in connection with evolutionary relationships among vertebrate classes. Laboratory activities emphasize dissection of several vertebrate representatives, but also include examination of prepared microscope slides and demonstrations. Two three-hour lecture/laboratory meetings a week. Prerequisites: Biology 101, 102 or equivalent, one 200-level Biology course, and permission of instructor. (Gardiner) Not offered in 2005-06.

BIOL B303 Animal Physiology

A comprehensive study of the physical and chemical processes in tissues, organs and organ systems that form the basis of animal function. Homeostasis, control systems and the structural bases of function are emphasized. Laboratories are designed to introduce basic physiological techniques and the practice of scientific inquiry. Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours a week. Prerequisites: Biology 101, 102, Chemistry 103, 104 and one 200-level Biology course (Histology recommended). (Brodfuehrer) Not offered in 2005-06.

BIOL B304 Cell and Molecular Neurobiology

A problem-based laboratory course in which students investigate cellular and molecular properties of neurons and small networks of neurons using neuron simulations and animal experiments, and through critical reading of the primary literature. Two four-hour laboratory sessions per week. Prerequisites: Biology 101, 102, 202, Psychology 218 or Psychology 217 at Haverford. (Brodfuehrer) Not offered in 2005-06.

BIOL B308 Field Ecology

An examination of the tools that ecologists use to discover how natural systems function. Class meetings are conducted indoors and outdoors, either on campus or in surrounding natural areas. In many labs, experiments are designed to address particular ecological questions. Students are expected to keep a field journal in which they record their observations and thoughts during field excursions. Each student also conducts an independent research project, which includes writing a short paper and giving an oral presentation describing the study. One two-hour lecture/laboratory, one four-hour lecture/laboratory a week. Prerequisites: Biology 220 and permission of instructor. (Williams) Not offered in 2005-06.

BIOL B309 Biological Oceanography

A comprehensive examination of the principal ecosystems of the world's oceans, emphasizing the biotic and abiotic factors that contribute to the distribution of marine organisms. A variety of marine ecosystems are examined, including rocky intertidal, and hydrocarbon seeps, with an emphasis on the distinctive characteristics of each system and the assemblage of organisms associated with each system. Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours a week. One required three-day field trip, for which an extra fee is collected, and other occasional field trips as allowed for by scheduling. Prerequisites: Biology 101, 102 and one 200-level science course, or permission of instructor. (Gardiner) Not offered in 2005-06.

BIOL B313 Integrative Organismal Biology I

The first semester of a two-semester course focusing on how organisms cope with environmental challenges by investigating the requirements for life at the level of individual cells and multi-cellular organisms. Three hours of lecture and one hour discussion per week. Prerequisites: two semesters of introductory biology and general chemistry. (Brodfuehrer, Gardiner, Greif)

BIOL B314 Integrative Organismal Biology II

The second semester of Integrative Organismal Biology. Laboratory-based course in which students investigate the anatomical and physiological properties of cells, tissues and organ systems, and how these properties allow organisms to interact successfully with their environment. Prerequisite: Biology 313 or permission of instructor. (Brodfuehrer, Gardiner, Greif)

BIOL B321 Neuroethology

This course provides an opportunity for students to understand the neuronal basis of behavior through the examination of how particular animals have evolved neural solutions to specific problems posed to them by their environments. The topics will be covered from a research perspective using a combination of lectures, discussions and student presentations. Prerequisite: Biology 202, Psychology 218 or Pscyhology 217 at Haverford. (Brodfuehrer)

BIOL B326 From Channels to Behavior

Introduces the principles, research approaches, and methodologies of cellular and behavioral neuroscience. The first half of the course will cover the cellular properties of neurons using current and voltage clamp techniques along with neuron simulations. The second half of the course will introduce students to state-of-the-art techniques for acquiring and analyzing data in a variety of rodent models linking brain and behavior. Prerequisites: Biology 101 and one of the following: Psychology 218, Psychology 217 (Haverford) or Biology 202. (Brodfuehrer, Thomas; cross-listed as PSYC B326). Not offered in 2005-06.

BIOL B328 Analysis of Geospatial Data Using GIS

(Compton; cross-listed as ARCH B328 and GEOL B328)

BIOL B336 Evolutionary Biology: Advanced Topics

A seminar course on current issues in evolution. Discussion based on readings from the primary literature. Topics vary from year to year. One three-hour discussion a week. Prerequisite: Biology 236 or permission of instructor. (Gardiner, Saunders, Murphy; cross-listed as ANTH B336 and GEOL B336) Not offered in 2005-06.

BIOL B340 Cell Biology

A lecture course with laboratory emphasizing current knowledge in cell biology. Among topics discussed are cell membranes, cell surface specializations, cell motility and the cytoskeleton, regulation of cell activity, energy generation and protein synthesis. Laboratory experiments are focused on studies of cell structure, making use of techniques in cell culture and immunocytochemistry. Lecture three hours, laboratory four hours a week. Prerequisites: Biology 201 or 271, Chemistry 211, 212 (may be taken concurrently), or permission of instructor. One semester of biochemistry is recommended. (Greif) Not offered in 2005-06.

BIOL B341, B343 Introduction to Biochemistry

A course on the structure, chemistry and function of amino acids, proteins, lipids, polysaccharides and nucleic acids; enzyme kinetics; metabolic relationships of carbohydrates, lipids and amino acids, and the control of various pathways; and protein synthesis. Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours a week or library project. Prerequisite: Chemistry 212. (Gibbs)

BIOL B361 Emergence

(Blank, Grobstein; cross-listed as CMSC B361)

BIOL B364 Developmental Neurobiology

A lecture/discussion course on major topics in the development of the nervous system. Some of the topics to be addressed are cell generation, cell migration, cell survival and growth, axon guidance and target specificity, synapse formation and behavioral development. Lecture three hours a week. Prerequisite: Biology 201 or 271. (Greif) Not offered in 2005-06.

BIOL B372 Molecular Biology

This course will introduce students to molecular biology as a method for scientific inquiry. In addition to learning basic techniques for manipulation and analysis of nucleic acids, students will read and critically evaluate primary literature. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the material through written work, class discussion and oral presentations. Lecture three hours a week. Prerequisites: either Biology 201, 340, 341 or permission of instructor. (Swanson)

BIOL B390 Senior Seminar in Ecology

A focus on the interactions among organisms and their environments. Students read and discuss current and classic papers from the primary literature. Topics may include biogeographic patterns, population and community dynamics, and ecosystem functioning. We may explore current issues such as global warming, habitat degradation and fragmentation, loss of biodiversity and the introduction of alien species. The effects of these human-induced changes on the biota are examined. Students write, defend and publicly present one long research paper. Three hours of class lecture and discussion a week, supplemented by frequent meetings with individual students. Prerequisite: Biology 220 or permission of instructor. (Williams)

BIOL B391 Senior Seminar in Biochemistry

Topics of current interest and significance in biochemistry are examined with critical readings and oral presentations of work from the research literature. In addition, students write, defend and publicly present one long research paper. Three hours of class lecture and discussion a week, supplemented by frequent meetings with individual students. Prerequisites: Biology 341, 343 or permission of instructor. (Gibbs)

BIOL B392 Senior Seminar in Physiology

An advanced course in the study of the organization and function of physiological systems from the molecular level to the organismal level. Specific topics related to the organization and function of physiological systems are examined in detail using the primary literature. In addition, students write, defend and publicly present one long research paper. Three hours of class lecture and discussion a week, supplemented by frequent meetings with individual students. Prerequisite: Biology 303 or 304, or permission of instructor. (Sweeney)

BIOL B393 Senior Seminar in Genetics

Topics of current interest and significance in genetics are examined with critical readings and oral presentations of work from the research literature. In addition, students write, defend and publicly present one long research paper. Three hours of class lecture and discussion a week, supplemented by frequent meetings with individual students. Prerequisite: Biology 201 or permission of instructor. (Swanson)

BIOL B394 Senior Seminar in Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Topics of current interest and significance in evolutionary developmental biology are examined with critical readings and oral presentations of work from the research literature. In addition, students write, defend and publicly present a research paper based on their readings. Three hours of class lecture and discussion a week, supplemented by frequent meetings with individual students. Prerequisite: Biology 236 or 271, or permission of instructors. (Hollyday)

BIOL B396 Topics in Neural and Behavioral Science

A seminar course dealing with current issues in the neural and behavioral sciences. It provides advanced students concentrating in neural and behavioral sciences with an opportunity to read and discuss in depth seminal papers that represent emerging thought in the field. In addition, students are expected to make presentations of their own research. Required for those with the concentration. (Hollyday, Sternberg; cross-listed as PSYC B396)

BIOL B397 Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies

(Rihiimaki; cross-listed as ANTH B397, GEOL B397 and CITY B397)

BIOL B398 Senior Seminar in Science in Society

We will examine the scientific and mainstream literatures of global climate change and analyze them from a biologist's perspective. Students will write, defend and critique position papers on climate change and its consequences for natural and agricultural ecosystems. (Wong)

BIOL B401 Supervised Research in Neural and Behavioral Sciences

Laboratory or library research under the supervision of a member of the Neural and Behavioral Sciences committee. Required for those with the concentration. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. (staff; cross-listed as PSYC B401)

BIOL B403 Supervised Laboratory Research in Biology

Laboratory research under the supervision of a member of the department. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. (staff)

 
     
 
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