MaconCatalog : College of Liberal Arts and Sciences : ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS : BIOLOGY (BIO)
 
BIOLOGY (BIO)
Linda L. Hensel, Chair/Professor of Biology
Amy M. Wiles, Assistant Chair/Associate Professor of Biology
Heather Bowman Cutway, Professor
Craig D. Byron, Professor
Sahar Hasim, Assistant Professor
Thomas A. Huber, Professor
Mary C. Kot, Professor
Michael K. Moore, Professor
Troy Nash, Senior Lecturer
Katharine Northcutt, Associate Professor
Megan Pannell, Assistant Professor
Alan F. Smith, Professor
John Stanga, Assistant Professor
Barry P. Stephenson, Associate Professor
Virginia A. Young, Associate Professor
 
The curriculum of the Biology Department is designed: (1) to increase the student’s understanding of the unifying principles and subject content of biology; (2) to develop the student’s basic skills in critical thinking, problem solving, communication, computer use, and library and laboratory research; (3) to introduce students to the personal, social, and ethical aspects of biology; (4) to emphasize the role of liberal education in enhancing personal and professional development; and (5) to assure that students have the background experiences necessary to pursue graduate education, professional studies, or employment.
The Department of Biology offers two majors that lead to the Bachelor of Science degree. One contributes to the major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (for details see the BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY heading preceding this section) and the other contributes to the major in Biology. The Department of Biology also offers one major that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree and minors in Biology and Environmental Biology. For the description of the Environmental Biology minor, please see the ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY section of this catalog.
 
Major in Biology: B.S. degree
59 semester credit hours minimum
BIO 211. Introduction to Biology I
BIO 212. Introduction to Biology II
BIO 310. Genetics
BIO 370. Ecology
One course from:
BIO 300. Invertebrate Biology
BIO 301. Vertebrate Biology
BIO 302. Plant Biology
At least one 400-level BIO lecture and laboratory course (4 credit hours). Students may use BMB 465 and 465L to satisfy all or part of this requirement or 2 hours of BIO 499 plus a 3 credit-hour, 400-level BIO course.
Ten additional hours in BIO or BMB, at least 7 of which must come from BIO or BMB courses numbered 300 or above. No more than a combined total of 4 credit hours from BIO 299, 398, and 499 may count towards the major. Courses will be selected in consultation with the major advisor and directed toward the student's educational and professional goals.
CHM 111. General Chemistry I
CHM 112. General Chemistry II
CHM 221. Organic Chemistry I
CHM 222. Organic Chemistry II
MAT 133. Precalculus (may be exempted by achieving a specific score on the Math Index or Math Placement Test)
One course from:
MAT 191. Calculus I
STA 126. Introductory Statistics
One course from:
PHY 141. Introductory Physics I
PHY 161. General Physics I
Successful completion of a senior comprehensive examination is required. Currently, the department uses the Major Field Achievement Test in Biology for this purpose.
 
Major in Biology: B.A. degree
47 semester credit hours minimum
BIO 211. Introduction to Biology I
BIO 212. Introduction to Biology II
BIO 310. Genetics
BIO 370. Ecology
One course from:
BIO 300. Invertebrate Biology
BIO 301. Vertebrate Biology
BIO 302. Plant Biology
At least one 400-level course BIO lecture and laboratory course (4 credit hours). Students may use BMB 465 and 465L to satisfy all or part this requirement or 2 hours of BIO 499 plus a 3 credit-hour, 400-level BIO course.
Ten additional hours in BIO or BMB, at least 7 of which must come from BIO or BMB courses numbered 300 or above. No more than a combined total of 4 credit hours from BIO 299, 398, and 499 may count toward the major. Courses will be selected in consultation with the major advisor and directed toward the student's educational and professional goals.
CHM 111. General Chemistry I
CHM 112. General Chemistry II
MAT 133. Precalculus (may be exempted by achieving a specific score on the Math Index or Math Placement Test)
One course from:
MAT 191. Calculus I
STA 126. Introductory Statistics
Successful completion of a senior comprehensive examination is required. Currently, the Department uses the Major Field Achievement Test in Biology for this purpose.
Students are advised that a Bachelor of Arts major in biology is usually not appropriate for those interested in graduate work in biology, professional school, or industry positions.
 
Additional courses in mathematics (MAT 141 or 191), chemistry, physics, or computer science are often strongly recommended or necessary for students wishing to pursue graduate work in biology or for preparation for professional study, such as medical school. Students interested in graduate work or professional school should seek appropriate advisement early in their careers to plan carefully for these additional courses.
A biology major may earn Departmental Honors by fulfilling the following requirements: (1) graduate with a B.S. or a B.A. in Biology with a grade point average of at least 3.50 in Biology and 3.25 overall; (2) in consultation with a Biology faculty member, devise and carry out a field or laboratory research project; (3) present the research results to an appropriate audience of an approved public presentation; and (4) apply to the department for honor recognition by the deadline for graduation application.
Secondary Teacher Certification Program in Biology
Additional courses in mathematics (MAT 141 or 191), chemistry, physics, or computer science are often strongly recommended or necessary for students wishing to pursue graduate work in biology or for preparation for professional study, such as medical school. Students interested in graduate work or professional school should seek appropriate advisement early in their careers to plan carefully for these additional courses.
A biology major may earn Departmental Honors by fulfilling the following requirements: (1) graduate with a B.S. or a B.A. in Biology with a grade point average of at least 3.50 in Biology and 3.25 overall; (2) in consultation with a Biology faculty member, devise and carry out a field or laboratory research project; (3) present the research results to an appropriate audience of an approved public presentation; and (4) apply to the department for honor recognition by the deadline for graduation application.
 
Minor in Biology
25 semester credit hours minimum
17 semester credit hours in Biology minimum
CHM 111. General Chemistry I
CHM 112. General Chemistry II
BIO 211. Introduction to Biology I
BIO 212. Introduction to Biology II
Seven BIO or BMB hours in courses numbered 300 or above. Only one non-laboratory course may count in the minor.
MAT 133. Precalculus (may be exempted by achieving a specific score on the Math Index or Math Placement Test)
 
Several biology courses are offered in alternate years or less often, so careful planning is important.
BIO 102. Elements of Microbiology (4 hours)
Course content focuses on the principles of microbiology and associated human diseases. Topics covered include prokaryotic cell structure and function, biochemical and metabolic requirements, fundamental mechanisms of pathogenesis, environmental and chemotherapeutic control measures and basic concepts of immunology. Students will gain exposure to some of the techniques used in a clinical laboratory setting: aseptic technique, methods of culture, staining and microscopy, antibiotic resistance testing, and biochemical assays. This course may not be used for a biology major or minor. It is not recommended for pre-medical students. A lecture and laboratory course. Laboratory fee. (Every year)
BIO 110. General Concepts of Biology (4 hours)
An introduction to general concepts in biology. Subjects include the structure and function of the cell, reproduction and genetics, biological diversity, and ecology. A lecture and laboratory course. This course is intended for non-majors; it will not satisfy course requirements for Biology majors nor serve as a prerequisite for upper-division Biology courses. (Occasionally)
BIO 198. Special Introductory Topics in Biology: (Subtitle) (1-4 hours)
Study of an introductory topic in Biology not covered in any of the departmental offerings. Students must engage in projects or assignments requiring at least one contact hour, or equivalent, per week for every hour of credit. This course may not be applied to the Biology major or minor. (Occasionally)
BIO 202. Human Anatomy and Physiology I (4 hours)
This course represents an introduction to the structure and function of the human body from the cellular to the organismal levels. Subjects include tissue and integumentary, skeletal muscular and nervous body systems. This course may not be used for the biology major or minor. It is not recommended for pre-medical students. A lecture and laboratory course. (Every year)
BIO 203. Human Anatomy and Physiology II (4 hours)
Prerequisite: BIO 202.
This course continues the introduction to the structure and function of the human body from the cellular to the organismal levels. Subjects include the endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, immune, respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive systems. This course may not be used toward a biology minor. Only three hours of this course may be counted toward the biology major. It is not recommended for pre-medical students. A lecture and laboratory course. (Every year)
BIO 205. Introduction to Biology for Biomedical Engineers (4 hours)
Prerequisites: MAT 133 and CHM 112 or CHM 115.
An introduction to selected principles of the biological sciences for biomedical engineering students. Subjects include bioenergetics, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, cell biology, and physiology and homeostasis. The course may not be used for the biology major or minor. This course is not recommended for pre-medical students. A lecture and laboratory course. (Every year)
BIO 211. Introduction to Biology I (5 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in CHM 111 or CHM 115.
An introduction to the unifying principles of the biological sciences. Subjects include evolution, systematics, biodiversity, animal form and function, homeostasis, and ecology. A lecture, recitation, and laboratory course. (Every year)
BIO 212. Introduction to Biology II (5 hours)
Prerequisites: a grade of C or better in BIO 211 and a grade of C or better in CHM 112 or CHM 115; or CHM 222.
Continues the introduction to the unifying principles of the biological sciences. Subjects include basic biochemistry, energy transfer, cell biology, physiology, genetics, and the vertebrate immune system. A lecture, recitation, and laboratory course. (Every year)
BIO 250. Current Issues in Biology (1 hour)
Pre- or co-requisite: BIO 211.
A seminar focusing on current research problems in all disciplines of the biological sciences. Student analysis, discussion, and presentation of primary literature are required. This course may be repeated for a maximum of three semester credit hours; however, no more than two credit hours may be counted as part of the biology major. (Occasionally)
BIO 299. Research in Biology (1-2 hours)
Prerequisite: approval of biology undergraduate research coordinator or instructor.
Participation in research directed by a Mercer faculty member. One credit-hour will be awarded for a minimum of three hours of work per week, or 45 hours total per semester. May be repeated, but no more than three credit hours may count toward the major. Graded S/U. (Every semester)
BIO 300. Invertebrate Zoology (4 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212.
A systematic study of vertebrate organisms with emphasis on comparative morphology, behavior, ecology, and phylogeny. A library research paper is required. A lecture and laboratory course. (Every two years)
BIO 301. Vertebrate Zoology (4 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212.
A systematic study of vertebrate organisms with emphasis on comparative morphology, behavior, ecology, and phylogeny. A library research paper is required. A lecture and laboratory course. (Every year)
BIO 302. Plant Biology (4 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212.
A systematic study of photosynthetic organisms, including unicellular and multicellular protistans, bryophytes, seedless vascular plants, and seed plants. May include study of fungi. Emphasis is placed on anatomy, morphology, physiology, and evolutionary relationships. A library research paper is required. A lecture and laboratory course. (Every two years)
BIO 303. Microbiology (4 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212. Organic chemistry recommended.
A course in general microbiology covering activities and distinguishing characteristics of microorganisms, including viruses. Laboratory work deals with isolation, identification and cultivation of microorganisms, their metabolic activities, and responses to environmental factors. A lecture and laboratory course. (Every year)
BIO 310. Genetics (4 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212.
A study of the mechanics of heredity considering molecular, cellular, organismal, and population phenomena. Formal laboratory writing is required. A lecture and laboratory course. (Every semester)
BIO 315. Field Studies in Biology (3 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212 or consent of instructor.
The biological study of a given region of the world through travel, field work, reading, and lecture. Specific topics (e.g., ecology, animal behavior, zoology, botany, and/or environmental issues) will reflect the expertise of the instructor and the characteristics of the region. As appropriate, field experience will be supplemented by informal lectures, seminars, demonstrations, discussions, experimentation, and directed study. A library research paper as well as other forms of writing will be required. A lecture and field course. (Occasionally)
BIO 322. Identification of Vascular Plants (4 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212.
A study of the families, genera, and species of vascular plants represented in the flora of Georgia and the southeastern United States. Independent work in the field is required. A field, laboratory, and lecture course. (Occasionally)
BIO 325. Comparative Animal Physiology (4 hours)
Prerequisite: BIO 205 or a grade of C or better in BIO 212. Organic chemistry strongly recommended.
A study of the diverse ways in which different kinds of animals meet their functional requirements. Attention will be paid to the evolutionary relationships of animals by comparing physiological and biochemical characteristics. Formal laboratory writing may be required. A lecture and laboratory course. (Every semester)
BIO 330. Vertebrate Histology (4 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212.
An observation and discussion of the structure and function of vertebrate cells and tissues. The course involves microscopic examination of selected tissues and the preparation of microscope slides. A lecture and laboratory course. (Every two years)
BIO 340. Parasitology (3 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212.
An introduction to the ecology and evolution of parasitic and mutualistic relationships. Emphasis is placed on the core principles of how symbiotic interactions between species influence life in the natural world. A lecture course. (Every two years)
BIO 361. The Biology of Sex and Gender (3 hours)
(Same as WGS 361)
Prerequisites: WGS 180 and a grade of C or better in BIO 212.
The student will gain a knowledge base of the biology of sex, as well as, exposure to material that inspires one to study science with a critical eye, in particular, from a feminist framework. Topics covered may include the evolution of meiotic sex, human reproductive biology, environmental influences on reproductive biological development, socio-biological theories and sexual behavior in animals, and feminist analyses of the biological sciences. Pedagogy may include collaborative group work. (Occasionally)
BIO 370. Principles of Ecology (4 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212; or ENB 150 and a grade of C or better in BIO 211.
A study of relationships between organisms and their physical and biological environment. Ecological relationships will be considered from the perspectives of individuals, populations, and communities. Work in the field is required and oral presentations are emphasized. A lecture, laboratory, and field course. (Every year)
BIO 375. Organic Evolution (3 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212.
A study of the principles of evolutionary theory. The course covers the historical development of evolutionary thought, the nature of organic diversity, variation, adaptation, natural selection, and other mechanisms of evolutionary change. A lecture course. (Occasionally)
BIO 381. Urban Ecosystems (3 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212; or ENB 150 and a grade of C or better in BIO 211.
A study of the relationship between the urban environment and the associated biological, physical, social and political systems. Emphasis will be placed on ecological principles and processes as they relate to the urban ecosystem, including the impacts of urbanization on biodiversity, air and water quality, and production and management of waste, energy use and land use patterns. The historical development of cities and current urbanization trends will be considered with a focus on urban sprawl. Lecture/discussion course. (Occasionally)
BIO 382. Biological Anthropology (3 hours)
(Same as ANT 382)
Prerequisites: ANT 101, or a grade of C or better in BIO 212, or consent of instructor.
This lecture-based course represents an advanced introduction to the sub-discipline of Biological Anthropology. The discussion will focus on the biological aspects of humans and our closest living relatives, the primates. Specifically, the course will include content on biological evolution, a review of living primates, and a study of the extensive fossil evidence for human evolution. The course will conclude with a review of modern human variation and the fallibility of the human race concept. (Occasionally)
BIO 390. Special Topics in Biology: (Subtitle) (4 hours)
Prerequisite: to be specified.
Study of a topic not available through normal departmental offerings. Topics will be announced in advance. Prerequisites will be determined by the nature of the topic. No more than 4 credit hours of BIO 390/391 may be counted as part of the biology major. A lecture and laboratory course. (Occasionally)
BIO 391. Special Topics in Biology: (Subtitle) (1-3 hours)
Prerequisite: to be specified.
Study of a topic not available through normal departmental offerings. Topics will be announced in advance. Credit hours and prerequisites will be determined by the nature of the topic, with a maximum of 3 credit hours per course. No more than 4 credit hours of BIO 390/391 may be counted as part of the biology major. Students must be engaged in projects or assignments requiring at least one contact hour, or equivalent, per week for every hour of credit. No more than 4 credit hours of BIO 390/391 may be counted as part of the biology major. (Occasionally)
BIO 398. Internship in Biology (1-3 hours)
Prerequisites: junior or senior standing, and permission of department chair.
An intensive practicum experience at an approved business, organization, or academic institution. Students, under the direction of a faculty member and an on-site supervisor, must engage in projects or assignments requiring at least three on- site hours per week for every hour of credit. Students will learn through observation, regular discussions with the on-site supervisor and Mercer faculty member, and written reflection. In addition, students may be required to attend training events, workshops or weekly seminars. This course may be repeated for a total of 9 hours and does not count toward a minor in Biology. Three hours of pre-approved, biology-related hours of internship may be counted toward the major. Graded S/U. (Every semester)
BIO 410. Molecular Genetics (4 hours)
Prerequisites: BIO 310 and CHM 222.
A detailed study of the molecular aspects of gene structure, function, and evolution. Laboratory work will focus on recombinant DNA technology and other molecular tools used by modern geneticists. Experimental design and formal laboratory writing are required. A lecture and laboratory course. (Every two years)
BIO 415. Bioinformatics (4 hours)
Prerequisite: BIO 310 or consent of instructor.
An investigative, problems-based course on comparative genomics and proteomics with data retrieval from biological databases, DNA and amino acid sequence analysis, phylogenetic analysis, and data analysis and visualization. A lecture and laboratory course with computer-based techniques and an independent project. (Every two years)
BIO 421. Biostatistics and Morphology (3 hours)
Prerequisite: BIO 300, 301, or 302.
This course represents an advanced introduction to the quantitative analysis of biological data. As such, focus will be on using statistical methods to better understand morphological aspects of organismal body plans and how these relate to biological adaptation and evolution. The course will begin with an overview of central tendency and dispersion statistical theory as well as problem solving via hypothesis testing. Following this background, both univariate and multivariate quantitative techniques will be introduced and used to evaluate animal size and shape, in addition to growth and allometry. (Every two years)
BIO 430. Cancer Biology (3 hours)
Prerequisite: BIO 310.
An introduction to the concepts that govern the events underlying the development of cancer. This course will cover the underlying molecular and cellular biology involved in carcinogenesis, tumor growth, and metastasis. The implications of the biological findings on cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment may be covered. A lecture course. (Every two years)
BIO 435. Neurobiology (3 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212.
A course about the nervous system that covers topics including the cellular and molecular underpinnings of neural signaling, the neuroanatomy and physiology of sensory and motor systems, the neural basis of behavior, synaptic plasticity, and the neuropathology of common diseases and disorders. A lecture course. (Every year)
BIO 440. Aquatic Biology (4 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212; or ENB 150 and a grade of C or better in BIO 211.
Aquatic ecosystems encompass a wide spectrum of habitats, ranging from the world’s major oceans and rivers down to the smallest tidal pools and mountain streams. Course content will reflect this diversity as well as the fundamental principles unifying these systems, emphasizing the adaptations of representative communities to the physicochemical characteristics of the varied habitats. The laboratory component will combine field trips to local middle Georgia aquatic environments with wet labs, where collected plant and animal samples will be identified. Experimental design and formal laboratory writing are required. A lecture, laboratory, and field course. (Every two years)
BIO 450. Development (3 hours)
Prerequisite: BIO 310.
A study of the developmental process in animals and/or plants with emphasis on the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which development is regulated. A lecture course. (Occasionally)
BIO 450L. Developmental Biology Laboratory (1 hour)
Pre- or co-requisite: BIO 450.
Investigative laboratory component to complement BIO 450. Cellular and molecular techniques to elucidate developmental processes will be used. Experimental design and a formal presentation of the independent project are required. The course includes one three-hour laboratory component each week. (Occasionally)
BIO 460. Eukaryotic Cell Biology (3 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212. Organic chemistry strongly recommended.
A study of the structure and function of eukaryotic organelles as distinct compartments. Emphasis is placed on understanding the role of each organelle in the overall functioning of the individual cell. Electron micrographs are used extensively. (Every year)
BIO 460L. Eukaryotic Cell Biology Laboratory (1 hour)
Pre- or co-requisite: BIO 430 or BIO 460.
Investigative laboratory component to complement BIO 430 or 460. Techniques include gel electrophoresis, centrifugation, cell culturing, Western blotting, chromatography, and microscopy. Experimental design and formal laboratory writing are required. The course includes one four-hour laboratory each week. (Every year)
BIO 475. Virology (4 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212.
A course covering the basic biochemistry and molecular biology of viruses along with an introduction to the epidemiology, nature, and control of viral diseases in humans. The major goal of this course is to expose students to the diversity that exists in the viral world, the mechanisms that viruses use to achieve host infection and self-replication, the impact of viruses on humankind, and the strategies available to combat and control viral infection. A lecture and laboratory course. (Occasionally)
BIO 480. Conservation Biology (4 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212; or ENB 150 and a grade of C or better in BIO 211.
This course is a study of the concepts of conservation biology and the application of ecological principles and techniques to the protection and study of biodiversity. Subjects include threats to biological diversity, conservation at the population and species level, and practical applications of conservation biology. A lecture and laboratory course. (Occasionally)
BIO 482. Immunology (3 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in BIO 212.
A detailed study of immunobiology that includes the basic components of the immune system, the development of the components including the underlying genetic mechanisms, the recognition of both foreign and self-antigens, and the outcomes from immune responses. Small group case-based learning will focus on the immune system in health and disease. Group research and formal presentations are required. This is a three-credit course without a laboratory component. (Occasionally)
BIO 490. Advanced Topics in Biology: (Subtitle) (4 hours)
Prerequisites: a grade of C or better in BIO 212 and other courses to be specified.
A detailed study of an advanced topic not available through normal offerings. Topics will be announced in advance. Additional prerequisites will be determined by the nature of the topic. May be taken more than once as part of the biology major. Can be used as the 400-level laboratory course in the major requirements only if a laboratory with experimental design and formal laboratory writing is included. A lecture and laboratory course. (Occasionally)
BIO 491. Advanced Topics in Biology: (Subtitle) (1-3 hours)
Prerequisites: BIO 212 and other courses to be specified.
A detailed study of an advanced topic not available through normal offerings. Topics will be announced in advance. Credit hours and additional prerequisites will be determined by the nature of the topic with a maximum of 3 credit hours per course. May be taken more than once as part of the biology major. A non-laboratory course. (Occasionally)
BIO 499. Independent Research in Biology (1-4 hours)
Prerequisites: BIO 299 and approval of biology undergraduate research director or instructor.
Independent research directed by a Mercer faculty member. Written or oral presentation required. One credit hour will be awarded for a minimum of three hours of work per week, or 45 hours total per semester. No more than three credit hours of BIO 499 may count toward the major. May be repeated for a total of 4 credit hours. (Every semester).