Biology (BS)

Ecology

Ecology is the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. The option consists of fundamental courses in biology and related sciences, mid-level study in genetics, evolution, and statistics, and an array of upper-division electives that emphasize fieldwork, data analysis, and writing. Many students collaborate with faculty in their research or conduct independent research projects. Career titles available with this option include ecologist, naturalist, wildlife biologist, natural resource manager, fish biologist, marine biologist, conservational training or graduate school. For more information about the option and the ecology faculty, select “ecology” at the department page (see www.mnsu.edu/dept/biology). All emphases require BIOL 105, 106, 211, CHEM 201, and ENG 271W.

Program Requirements

Required General Education

Study of biological processes at the suborganismal level including cell chemistry, metabolism, reproduction, genetics, and complex tissue physiology. Laboratory and discussion sessions stress problem solving and experimental design.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03

Introduction to the basic principles of chemistry including atomic and molecular structure, bonding, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, thermodynamics and states of matter. Laboratory will reinforce lecture concepts. Prereq: C or higher in MATH 112 or the equivalent; high school chemistry or C or higher in CHEM 104

Prerequisites: “C” (2.0) or higher in MATH 112 or the equivalent; high school chemistry or “C” (2.0) or higher in CHEM 104.

Goal Areas: GE-02, GE-03

Introduction to learning the written and oral communication of technical information. Assignments include writing and presenting proposals, reports, and documentation. Emphasis on use of rhetorical analysis, computer applications, collaborative writing, and usability testing to complete technical communication tasks in the workplace.

Prerequisites: ENG 101 

Goal Areas: GE-02, GE-13

Major Common Core

Study of biological processes at the organismal level including a survey of life forms (viruses, bacteria, protists, fungi, plants, and animals), their evolution, and ecology. Laboratory and discussion sessions stress problem solving and experimental design.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105 

Introduction to genetic analysis. Topics covered will include those of both classical and modern genetics: population genetics, molecular genetics, genetic manipulation of organisms and selection. Central to this course will be the primacy of the trait as the object of genetics and the development/refinement of the concept of the gene. Lab included.Fall, Spring, Summer

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, and MATH 112 

Emphasis Common Core

Principles of the study of relationships between organisms and the environment. Topics include flow of energy and materials, organism-level interactions, growth and evolution of populations, and community ecology. Field trips to prairie, lake, stream, and forest communities, training in data collection and analysis, use of equipment, and report writing. Lab included.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105 and BIOL 106 or consent 

Evolution is a unifying theory of biology. Students are provided the history of evolutionary thought and the Darwinian revolution, evidence for evolution, mechanics of evolution, and an array of special topics such as speciation, molecular evolution, conservation, and extinction. Readings will include book chapters and journal articles. Lecture/discussion.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 211

A field course in the ecology of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fishes. Students are trained in sampling techniques such as mark-and-recapture, population size estimation and monitoring, and species identification of live and preserved specimens. Lectures encompass evolution and adoption, origins, energetics, mating systems, morphology, geographical distributions, and population-level phenomena. Lecture and Laboratory.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 215 or consent 

Expands upon general principles of ecology to focus on the factors that regulate the distribution and abundance of plants, analysis of plant populations, and dynamics of plant communities. Lecture and lab (fieldwork) included. (Taking BIOL 217 is strongly recommended before taking this class.)

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 215 or consent. BIOL 217 strongly recommended. 

Introduction to statistical analysis as applied to the health sciences. Examines concepts and methods of statistical procedures applied to health problems and issues.

Prerequisites: MATH 110, STAT 154, Or any other mathematics course higher than MATH 110.

Emphasis Restricted Electives

Chemistry Requirement - Choose 5 Credit(s).

This course is an introduction to organic chemistry and biological chemistry. The laboratory will reinforce lecture.

Prerequisites: CHEM 106 or high school chemistry 

Goal Areas: GE-02, GE-03

Continuation of the basic principles of chemistry including properties of solutions, kinetics, acids and bases, equilibria, buffers, precipitation reactions, electron transfer reactions, electrochemistry, entropy and free energy. Laboratory will reinforce lecture concepts.

Prerequisites: “C” (2.0) or higher in CHEM 201 

Math Requirement - Choose 3 - 4 Credit(s).

Basic concepts of trigonometry as preparation for college level mathematics and science course work. Topics include concepts of algebra (real numbers, functions, graphs of functions, exponential and logarithmic functions), trigonometric functions, analytic trigonometry, applications of trigonometry, and analytic geometry.

Prerequisites: Satisfy Placement Table in this section, or MATH 112 with “C” (2.0) or better. 

Goal Areas: GE-04

This course will cover topics of precalculus mathematics. Topics covered will include functions, graphs of functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, conic sections, systems of equations and inequalities, matrices, trigonometric functions, circular functions, vectors and complex numbers, induction, series and probability.

Prerequisites: Satisfy Math Placement Table in this section, or grade of P in MATH 098.

Goal Areas: GE-04

Limits, continuity, the derivative and applications, transcendental functions, L'Hopital's Rule, and development of the Riemann integral.

Prerequisites: Satisfy Placement Table in this section, MATH 115 or both MATH 112 and MATH 113 with “C” (2.0) or better.

Goal Areas: GE-04

Physics Requirement -

General background in physical concepts for those who do not plan advanced study in physics or engineering. Topics include mechanics, fluids, heat and thermodynamics. Lecture and laboratory.

Prerequisites: Either MATH 112 and MATH 113, or MATH 115

Goal Areas: GE-02, GE-03

Physiology Requirement - Complete one option.

Animal Physiology Option -

A comprehensive phylogenetic survey of both invertebrate and vertebrate animals. Emphasis on evolutionary relationships among phyla, the evolution of organ systems, animal organization and function, animal adaptations, and zoogeographical considerations. Research and inquiry of animal unity and diversity will include using the Internet. Lab included.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105 and BIOL 106 

A comparison of adaptation mechanisms, from cell to organ-system, used by animals in response to changes in environmental conditions such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, food availability, temperature, water, solutes, pressure and buoyancy.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106 or consent 

Microbial Physiology Option -

An introduction to the general principles and methods used in the study of microorganisms. Lab included. Prereq: One BIOL course and one semester of chemistry from among CHEM 104, CHEM 106, CHEM 111, or CHEM 201. Fall, Spring, Summer

Prerequisites: One BIOL course and one semester of chemistry from among CHEM 104, CHEM 106, CHEM 111, or CHEM 201 

Goal Areas: GE-03

This course presents the physiology and genetics of microorganisms emphasizing those aspects unique to bacteria and archea. Topics include: energy production; biosynthesis of small molecules and DNA, RNA, and proteins; the formation of cell walls and membranes; microbial differentiation and behavior; and the genetic and biochemical regulation of these processes. Lab included.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 270 

Plant Physiology Option -

Biology of plants including unique features of plant cells, life histories, metabolism, anatomy, physiology, and ecology. The course empathizes plants' remarkable adaptations to their environments, their diversity, and the vital roles they play in ecological interactions. For biology and environmental science majors and minors. Lab included.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105 and BIOL 106 or consent 

Plant functions such as water relations, mineral nutrition, translocation, metabolisms, photosynthesis, photorespiration, fat and protein metabolism, respiration, growth and development, phytohormones, reproduction and environmental physiology. Lab included. (One semester organic chemistry is recommended.)

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 217, one semester organic chemistry recommended. 

Emphasis Unrestricted Electives

* Choose 6 to 8 credits to total 40 credits in biology.
* Courses other than those listed are allowed with consent of your advisor.
* A limit of 4 total credits is allowed from BIOL 497 and BIOL 499 combined.

Choose 6 - 8 Credit(s).

An examination of eukaryotic cellular structure, organization and physiology. Lab included.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105 and BIOL 106, BIOL 211 

Applications of principles from ecology, genetics, behavior, demography, economics, philosophy, and other fields to the conservation and sustainable use of natural populations of plants and animals. Lectures and discussions address topics such as habitat fragmentation, parks and reserves, genetic diversity, population viability, and extinction.

Prerequisites: BIOL 215 or consent 

To provide students the values and functions of wetlands and to use wetlands as an example of the relationship of ecology to management, and the impact that classification systems have politically. Lab (fieldwork) included.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 215, or consent 

An introduction to fish biology and fisheries management, diversity, form, and function in the aquatic environment, functional physiology, evolution and speciation, identification and use of keys, ecology, and management topics.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 215, or consent of instructor

A field course focused on the function and dynamics of various North American ecosystems. Emphases will be on natural history, critical thought, and experimental design. Students will be trained in a variety of soil, plant, and animal sampling techniques. Depending on enrollment, there may be additional costs (e.g., camping fees) for the course.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 215 or consent 

This class examines the effects of natural and human-induced changes in climate on terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The course focuses on the science behind global change issues that have biological, social, and economic implicatons.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 215 or consent 

Soil ecology will focus on the genesis and classification of soils, the physical properties of soil as they relate to habitat formation, niches, interactions that exist among soil organisms, human impact on soil systems relative to population pressures and management practices. Lab included.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 215, or consent 

A comparison of adaptation mechanisms, from cell to organ-system, used by animals in response to changes in environmental conditions such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, food availability, temperature, water, solutes, pressure and buoyancy.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106 or consent 

This course is an introduction to the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics and interactions of inland freshwater lakes. Labs will emphasize field work, including data collection from five local lakes, analysis, and discussion.

Prerequisites: none

An exploration of behavioral strategy, communication, learning, and social systems of animals, with emphases placed on the causes, evolution, ecological implications, and function of behavior at the individual and population level. Lab included.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 215 

Plant functions such as water relations, mineral nutrition, translocation, metabolisms, photosynthesis, photorespiration, fat and protein metabolism, respiration, growth and development, phytohormones, reproduction and environmental physiology. Lab included. (One semester organic chemistry is recommended.)

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 217, one semester organic chemistry recommended. 

Field identification of plants with emphasis on local flora. History systematic, techniques, plant biogeography, methods of plant collection, preservation, preparation of herbarium specimens are covered. Lab and field trips included.

Prerequisites: none

Lecture/laboratory course that presents an integrated view of plant biology, crop science, ecology, sustainability and current issues in biotechnology. Course focuses on issues of global concern such as sustainable food production, cropping techniques, climate change responses, pest management and herbicides, resistance, biofuels, genetically modified crops, molecular pharming, and tissue culture. Fall.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106

A lecture course covering basic principles of toxicity evaluation in living organisms, mechanisms of responses to chemicals or physical agents within an overview of practical medical, environmental and science policy implications. Presentation of comparisons of specific organ and tissue reactions to toxins in a variety of species follow these introductory concepts. Prereq: BIOL 105W, 106, and 1 year of General Chemistry

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, and 1 year of General Chemistry 

Role of microorganisms in soil, air, water, sewage processes as well as methods of measurement and detection. Special emphasis on the role of microorganisms in bioremediation. Lab included.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, and BIOL 270 

This course will cover both eukaryotic and prokaryotic molecular biology including: DNA and RNA structure, transcription, regulation of gene expression, RNA processing, protein synthesis, DNA replication, mutagenesis and repair, recombination, and insertion elements. A number of important techniques used in recombinant DNA technology will be discussed and practiced.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 211

Experience in applied biology according to a prearranged training program for a minimum of five 40-hour weeks.

Prerequisites: Consent 

Individual Study

Prerequisites: none

4-Year Plan

The 4-Year Plan is a model for completing your degree in a timely manner. Your individual 4-Year plan may change based on a number of variables including transfer courses and the semester/year you start your major. Carefully work with your academic advisors to devise your own unique plan.
* Please meet with your advisor on appropriate course selection to meet your educational and degree goals.

First Year

Fall - 15 Credits

Study of biological processes at the suborganismal level including cell chemistry, metabolism, reproduction, genetics, and complex tissue physiology. Laboratory and discussion sessions stress problem solving and experimental design.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03

Concepts of algebra (real numbers, exponents, polynomials, rational expressions), equations and inequalities, functions and graphs, polynomial and rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, systems of equations and inequalities, matrices and determinants, conic sections, sequences and series, probability, and binomial theorem.

Prerequisites: Satisfy Placement Table in this section, or MATH 098 with grade of P. 

Goal Areas: GE-04

General Education Course * 4 credits

General Education Course * 3 credits

Spring - 16 Credits

This course helps students develop a flexible writing process, practice rhetorical awareness, read critically to support their writing, research effectively, represent others ideas in multiple ways, reflect on their writing practices, and polish their work.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-1A

Study of biological processes at the organismal level including a survey of life forms (viruses, bacteria, protists, fungi, plants, and animals), their evolution, and ecology. Laboratory and discussion sessions stress problem solving and experimental design.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105 

Basic concepts of trigonometry as preparation for college level mathematics and science course work. Topics include concepts of algebra (real numbers, functions, graphs of functions, exponential and logarithmic functions), trigonometric functions, analytic trigonometry, applications of trigonometry, and analytic geometry.

Prerequisites: Satisfy Placement Table in this section, or MATH 112 with “C” (2.0) or better. 

Goal Areas: GE-04

Introduction to the basic principles of chemistry including atomic and molecular structure, bonding, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, thermodynamics and states of matter. Laboratory will reinforce lecture concepts. Prereq: C or higher in MATH 112 or the equivalent; high school chemistry or C or higher in CHEM 104

Prerequisites: “C” (2.0) or higher in MATH 112 or the equivalent; high school chemistry or “C” (2.0) or higher in CHEM 104.

Goal Areas: GE-02, GE-03

Second Year

Fall - 16 Credits

Continuation of the basic principles of chemistry including properties of solutions, kinetics, acids and bases, equilibria, buffers, precipitation reactions, electron transfer reactions, electrochemistry, entropy and free energy. Laboratory will reinforce lecture concepts.

Prerequisites: “C” (2.0) or higher in CHEM 201 

Introduction to genetic analysis. Topics covered will include those of both classical and modern genetics: population genetics, molecular genetics, genetic manipulation of organisms and selection. Central to this course will be the primacy of the trait as the object of genetics and the development/refinement of the concept of the gene. Lab included.Fall, Spring, Summer

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, and MATH 112 

Principles of the study of relationships between organisms and the environment. Topics include flow of energy and materials, organism-level interactions, growth and evolution of populations, and community ecology. Field trips to prairie, lake, stream, and forest communities, training in data collection and analysis, use of equipment, and report writing. Lab included.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105 and BIOL 106 or consent 

Writing Intensive Course * 3 credits

Spring - 16 Credits

General background in physical concepts for those who do not plan advanced study in physics or engineering. Topics include mechanics, fluids, heat and thermodynamics. Lecture and laboratory.

Prerequisites: Either MATH 112 and MATH 113, or MATH 115

Goal Areas: GE-02, GE-03

Evolution is a unifying theory of biology. Students are provided the history of evolutionary thought and the Darwinian revolution, evidence for evolution, mechanics of evolution, and an array of special topics such as speciation, molecular evolution, conservation, and extinction. Readings will include book chapters and journal articles. Lecture/discussion.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 211

Introduction to statistical analysis as applied to the health sciences. Examines concepts and methods of statistical procedures applied to health problems and issues.

Prerequisites: MATH 110, STAT 154, Or any other mathematics course higher than MATH 110.

Elective Course in Major * 4 credits

General Education Course * 3 credits

Third Year

Fall - 15 Credits

Introduction to learning the written and oral communication of technical information. Assignments include writing and presenting proposals, reports, and documentation. Emphasis on use of rhetorical analysis, computer applications, collaborative writing, and usability testing to complete technical communication tasks in the workplace.

Prerequisites: ENG 101 

Goal Areas: GE-02, GE-13

Expands upon general principles of ecology to focus on the factors that regulate the distribution and abundance of plants, analysis of plant populations, and dynamics of plant communities. Lecture and lab (fieldwork) included. (Taking BIOL 217 is strongly recommended before taking this class.)

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 215 or consent. BIOL 217 strongly recommended. 

Elective Course in Major * 4 credits

General Education Course * 3 credits

Spring - 14 Credits

Elective Course in Major * 4 credits

General Elective Course * 3 credits

General Education Course * 4 credits

Diverse Cultures Course * 3 credits

Fourth Year

Fall - 14 Credits

A field course in the ecology of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fishes. Students are trained in sampling techniques such as mark-and-recapture, population size estimation and monitoring, and species identification of live and preserved specimens. Lectures encompass evolution and adoption, origins, energetics, mating systems, morphology, geographical distributions, and population-level phenomena. Lecture and Laboratory.

Prerequisites: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, BIOL 215 or consent 

Elective Course in Major * 3 credits

General Education Course * 3 credits

Diverse Cultures Course * 4 credits

Spring - 14 Credits

Elective Course in Major * 4 credits

General Education Course * 4 credits

General Education Course * 3 credits

General Elective Course * 3 credits