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1.4.18.22: Levels of Ecological Research - Biology


Learning Objectives

  • Define ecology and the four levels of ecological research

When a discipline such as biology is studied, it is often helpful to subdivide it into smaller, related areas. For instance, cell biologists interested in cell signaling need to understand the chemistry of the signal molecules (which are usually proteins) as well as the result of cell signaling. The same subdivisions occur in ecology. Ecologists interested in the factors that influence the survival of an endangered species might use mathematical models to predict how current conservation efforts affect endangered organisms. To produce a sound set of management options, a conservation biologist needs to collect accurate data, including current population size, factors affecting reproduction (like physiology and behavior), habitat requirements (such as plants and soils), and potential human influences on the endangered population and its habitat (which might be derived through studies in sociology and urban ecology). Within the discipline of ecology, researchers work at four specific levels, sometimes discretely and sometimes with overlap: organism, population, community, and ecosystem (Figure 1).

Organismal Ecology

Researchers studying ecology at the organismal level are interested in the adaptations that enable individuals to live in specific habitats. These adaptations can be morphological, physiological, and behavioral. For instance, the Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) is a rare butterfly that lives only in open areas with few trees or shrubs, such as pine barrens and oak savannas. It is considered a specialist because the females preferentially oviposit (that is, lay eggs) on wild lupine (Figure 2). This preferential adaptation means that the Karner blue butterfly is highly dependent on the presence of wild lupine plants for its continued survival.

After hatching, the larval caterpillars emerge and spend four to six weeks feeding solely on wild lupine. The caterpillars pupate (undergo metamorphosis) and emerge as butterflies after about four weeks. The adult butterflies feed on the nectar of flowers of wild lupine and other plant species. A researcher interested in studying Karner blue butterflies at the organismal level might, in addition to asking questions about egg laying, ask questions about the butterflies’ preferred temperature (a physiological question) or the behavior of the caterpillars when they are at different larval stages (a behavioral question).

Population Ecology

A population is a group of interbreeding organisms that are members of the same species living in the same area at the same time. (Organisms that are all members of the same species are called conspecifics.) A population is identified, in part, by where it lives, and its area of population may have natural or artificial boundaries: natural boundaries might be rivers, mountains, or deserts, while examples of artificial boundaries include mowed grass, manmade structures, or roads. The study of population ecology focuses on the number of individuals in an area and how and why population size changes over time. Population ecologists are particularly interested in counting the Karner blue butterfly, for example, because it is classified as federally endangered. However, the distribution and density of this species is highly influenced by the distribution and abundance of wild lupine. Researchers might ask questions about the factors leading to the decline of wild lupine and how these affect Karner blue butterflies. For example, ecologists know that wild lupine thrives in open areas where trees and shrubs are largely absent. In natural settings, intermittent wildfires regularly remove trees and shrubs, helping to maintain the open areas that wild lupine requires. Mathematical models can be used to understand how wildfire suppression by humans has led to the decline of this important plant for the Karner blue butterfly.

Community Ecology

A biological community consists of the different species within an area, typically a three-dimensional space, and the interactions within and among these species. Community ecologists are interested in the processes driving these interactions and their consequences. Questions about conspecific interactions often focus on competition among members of the same species for a limited resource. Ecologists also study interactions among various species; members of different species are called heterospecifics. Examples of heterospecific interactions include predation, parasitism, herbivory, competition, and pollination. These interactions can have regulating effects on population sizes and can impact ecological and evolutionary processes affecting diversity.

For example, Karner blue butterfly larvae form mutualistic relationships with ants. Mutualism is a form of a long-term relationship that has coevolved between two species and from which each species benefits. For mutualism to exist between individual organisms, each species must receive some benefit from the other as a consequence of the relationship. Researchers have shown that there is an increase in the probability of survival when Karner blue butterfly larvae (caterpillars) are tended by ants. This might be because the larvae spend less time in each life stage when tended by ants, which provides an advantage for the larvae. Meanwhile, the Karner blue butterfly larvae secrete a carbohydrate-rich substance that is an important energy source for the ants. Both the Karner blue larvae and the ants benefit from their interaction.

Ecosystem Ecology

Ecosystem ecology is an extension of organismal, population, and community ecology. The ecosystem is composed of all the biotic components (living things) in an area along with the abiotic components (non-living things) of that area. Some of the abiotic components include air, water, and soil. Ecosystem biologists ask questions about how nutrients and energy are stored and how they move among organisms and the surrounding atmosphere, soil, and water.

The Karner blue butterflies and the wild lupine live in an oak-pine barren habitat. This habitat is characterized by natural disturbance and nutrient-poor soils that are low in nitrogen. The availability of nutrients is an important factor in the distribution of the plants that live in this habitat. Researchers interested in ecosystem ecology could ask questions about the importance of limited resources and the movement of resources, such as nutrients, though the biotic and abiotic portions of the ecosystem.

Watch this video for another introduction to ecology:

A YouTube element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here: pb.libretexts.org/bionm2/?p=536

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Ecology can also be classified on the basis of:

  • the primary kinds of organism under study (e.g. animal ecology, plant ecology, insect ecology)
  • the biomes principally studied (e.g. forest ecology, grassland ecology, desert ecology, benthic ecology, marine ecology, urban ecology)
  • the geographic or climatic area (e.g. arctic ecology, tropical ecology)
  • the spatial scale under consideration (e.g. macroecology, landscape ecology)
  • the philosophical approach (e.g. systems ecology which adopts a holistic approach)
  • the methods used (e.g. molecular ecology)

Ecological Levels of Organisation | Environment

The following points highlight the seven major ecological levels of organisations. The ecological levels are: 1. Organisms 2. Population 3. Biological Community 4. Ecosystem 5. Landscape 6. Biome 7. Biosphere.

Ecological Level # 1. Organisms:

They make the basic unit of study in ecology. At each level, the biological unit has a specific structure and function. At this level, the form, physiology, behaviour, distribution and adptations in relation to the environmental conditions are studied.

The organisms of the similar type have the potential for interbreeding, and produce fertile offspring, which are called species.

The organism performs all the life processes independently. However, parts of organism cannot exist independently of one another.

An organism is fully adapted to its environment. It has a definite life span including definite series of stages like birth, hatching, growth, maturity, senescence, aging and death.

Competition, mutualism and predation are various types of interaction between organisms.

Ecological Level # 2. Population:

In ecology, a population is a group of individuals of the same species, inhabiting the same area, and functioning as a unit of biotic community.

For example, all individuals of the common grass, Cynodon, in a given area constitute its population. Similarly, the individuals of elephants or tigers in an area constitute their population.

The interaction between populations is generally studied. These interactions may be a predator and its prey, or a parasite with its host. Competition, mutualism, commensalism, parasitism, and predation are various types of interactions.

Ecological Level # 3. Biological Community:

Biotic community organisation results from interdependence and interactions amongst population of different species in a habitat. This is an assemblage of populations of plants, animals, bacteria and fungi that live in an area and interact with each other.

A biotic community is a higher ecological category next to population. These are three types of biotic community, they are: animals, plants and decomposers (i.e., bacteria and fungi). A biotic community has a distinct species composition and structure.

Ecological Level # 4. Ecosystem:

The ecosystems are parts of nature where living organisms interact amongst themselves and with their physical environment. An ecosystem in composed of a biotic community, integrated with its physical environment through the exchange of energy and recycling of the nutrients. The term ecosystem was coined by Sir Arthur Tansley in 1935.

Ecosystems can be recognised as self- regulating and self-sustaining units of landscape, e.g., a pond or a forest.

An ecosystem has two basic components:

(ii) Biotic (living organisms).

Abiotic components comprise inorganic materials, such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, CO2, water etc., while biotic components include producers, consumers and decomposers.

Ecological Level # 5. Landscape:

A landscape is a unit of land with a natural boundary having a mosaic of patches, which generally represent different ecosystems.

Ecological Level # 6. Biome:

This is a large regional unit characterised by a major vegetation type and associated fauna found in a specific climate zone. The biome includes all associated developing and modified communities occurring within the same climatic region, e.g., forest biomes, grassland and savanna biomes, desert biome, etc.

On a global scale, all the earth’s terrestrial biomes and aquatic systems constitute the biosphere.

Ecological Level # 7. Biosphere:

The entire inhabited part of the earth and its atmosphere including the living components is called the biosphere.

The global environment consists of three main sub-divisions:

(i) The hydrosphere which includes all the water components,

(ii) The lithosphere comprises the solid components of the earth’s crust, and

(iii) The atmosphere formed of the gaseous envelope of the earth. The biosphere consists of the lower atmosphere, the land and the oceans, rivers and lakes, where living beings are found.


1.4.18.22: Levels of Ecological Research - Biology

Ecology is the study of the interactions of living organisms with their environment. One core goal of ecology is to understand the distribution and abundance of living things in the physical environment. Attainment of this goal requires the integration of scientific disciplines inside and outside of biology, such as biochemistry, physiology, evolution, biodiversity, molecular biology, geology, and climatology. Some ecological research also applies aspects of chemistry and physics, and it frequently uses mathematical models.

Climate change can alter where organisms live, which can sometimes directly affect human health. Watch the PBS video “Feeling the Effects of Climate Change” in which researchers discover a pathogenic organism living far outside of its normal range.

Levels of Ecological Study

When a discipline such as biology is studied, it is often helpful to subdivide it into smaller, related areas. For instance, cell biologists interested in cell signaling need to understand the chemistry of the signal molecules (which are usually proteins) as well as the result of cell signaling. Ecologists interested in the factors that influence the survival of an endangered species might use mathematical models to predict how current conservation efforts affect endangered organisms. To produce a sound set of management options, a conservation biologist needs to collect accurate data, including current population size, factors affecting reproduction (like physiology and behavior), habitat requirements (such as plants and soils), and potential human influences on the endangered population and its habitat (which might be derived through studies in sociology and urban ecology). Within the discipline of ecology, researchers work at four specific levels, sometimes discretely and sometimes with overlap: organism, population, community, and ecosystem ([link]).

Ecologists study within several biological levels of organization. (credit “organisms”: modification of work by "Crystl"/Flickr credit “ecosystems”: modification of work by Tom Carlisle, US Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters credit “biosphere”: NASA)

Organismal Ecology

Researchers studying ecology at the organismal level are interested in the adaptations that enable individuals to live in specific habitats. These adaptations can be morphological, physiological, and behavioral. For instance, the Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) ([link]) is considered a specialist because the females preferentially oviposit (that is, lay eggs) on wild lupine. This preferential adaptation means that the Karner blue butterfly is highly dependent on the presence of wild lupine plants for its continued survival.

The Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) is a rare butterfly that lives only in open areas with few trees or shrubs, such as pine barrens and oak savannas. It can only lay its eggs on lupine plants. (credit: modification of work by J & K Hollingsworth, USFWS)

After hatching, the larval caterpillars emerge and spend four to six weeks feeding solely on wild lupine ([link]). The caterpillars pupate (undergo metamorphosis) and emerge as butterflies after about four weeks. The adult butterflies feed on the nectar of flowers of wild lupine and other plant species. A researcher interested in studying Karner blue butterflies at the organismal level might, in addition to asking questions about egg laying, ask questions about the butterflies’ preferred temperature (a physiological question) or the behavior of the caterpillars when they are at different larval stages (a behavioral question).

The wild lupine (Lupinus perennis) is the host plant for the Karner blue butterfly.

Population Ecology

A population is a group of interbreeding organisms that are members of the same species living in the same area at the same time. A population is identified, in part, by where it lives, and its area of population may have natural or artificial boundaries: natural boundaries might be rivers, mountains, or deserts, while examples of artificial boundaries include mowed grass, manmade structures, or roads. The study of population ecology focuses on the number of individuals in an area and how and why population size changes over time. Population ecologists are particularly interested in counting the Karner blue butterfly, for example, because it is classified as federally endangered. However, the distribution and density of this species is highly influenced by the distribution and abundance of wild lupine. Researchers might ask questions about the factors leading to the decline of wild lupine and how these affect Karner blue butterflies. For example, ecologists know that wild lupine thrives in open areas where trees and shrubs are largely absent. In natural settings, intermittent wildfires regularly remove trees and shrubs, helping to maintain the open areas that wild lupine requires. Mathematical models can be used to understand how wildfire suppression by humans has led to the decline of this important plant for the Karner blue butterfly.

Community Ecology

A biological community consists of the different species within an area, typically a three-dimensional space, and the interactions within and among these species. Community ecologists are interested in the processes driving these interactions and their consequences. Questions about interactions between members of the same species often focus on competition a limited resource. Ecologists also study interactions that happen between different species. Examples of these types of interactions include predation, parasitism, herbivory, competition, and pollination. These interactions can have regulating effects on population sizes and can impact ecological and evolutionary processes affecting diversity.

For example, Karner blue butterfly larvae form mutualistic relationships with ants. Mutualism is a form of a long-term relationship that has coevolved between two species and from which each species benefits. For mutualism to exist between individual organisms, each species must receive some benefit from the other as a consequence of the relationship. Researchers have shown that there is an increase in the probability of survival when Karner blue butterfly larvae (caterpillars) are tended by ants. This might be because the larvae spend less time in each life stage when tended by ants, which provides an advantage for the larvae. Meanwhile, the Karner blue butterfly larvae secrete a carbohydrate-rich substance that is an important energy source for the ants. Both the Karner blue larvae and the ants benefit from their interaction.

Ecosystem Ecology

Ecosystem ecology is an extension of organismal, population, and community ecology. The ecosystem is composed of all the biotic components (living things) in an area along with the abiotic components (non-living things) of that area. Some of the abiotic components include air, water, and soil. Ecosystem biologists ask questions about how nutrients and energy are stored and how they move among organisms and the surrounding atmosphere, soil, and water.

The Karner blue butterflies and the wild lupine live in an oak-pine barren habitat. This habitat is characterized by natural disturbance and nutrient-poor soils that are low in nitrogen. The availability of nutrients is an important factor in the distribution of the plants that live in this habitat. Researchers interested in ecosystem ecology could ask questions about the importance of limited resources and the movement of resources, such as nutrients, though the biotic and abiotic portions of the ecosystem.

Ecologist A career in ecology contributes to many facets of human society. Understanding ecological issues can help society meet the basic human needs of food, shelter, and health care. Ecologists can conduct their research in the laboratory and outside in natural environments ([link]). These natural environments can be as close to home as the stream running through your campus or as far away as the hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Ecologists manage natural resources such as white-tailed deer populations (Odocoileus virginianus) for hunting or aspen (Populus spp.) timber stands for paper production. Ecologists also work as educators who teach children and adults at various institutions including universities, high schools, museums, and nature centers. Ecologists may also work in advisory positions assisting local, state, and federal policymakers to develop laws that are ecologically sound, or they may develop those policies and legislation themselves. To become an ecologist requires an undergraduate degree, usually in a natural science. The undergraduate degree is often followed by specialized training or an advanced degree, depending on the area of ecology selected. Ecologists should also have a broad background in the physical sciences, as well as a sound foundation in mathematics and statistics.

This landscape ecologist is releasing a black-footed ferret into its native habitat as part of a study. (credit: USFWS Mountain Prairie Region, NPS)

Visit this site to see Stephen Wing, a marine ecologist from the University of Otago, discuss the role of an ecologist and the types of issues ecologists explore.

Section Summary

Ecology is the study of the interactions of living things with their environment. Ecologists ask questions across four levels of biological organization—organismal, population, community, and ecosystem. At the organismal level, ecologists study individual organisms and how they interact with their environments. At the population and community levels, ecologists explore, respectively, how a population of organisms changes over time and the ways in which that population interacts with other species in the community. Ecologists studying an ecosystem examine the living species (the biotic components) of the ecosystem as well as the nonliving portions (the abiotic components), such as air, water, and soil, of the environment.


BIOLOGY (BIOL)

Restricted to first-year students. Introduction, in a first-year seminar, to recent advances in genetics and cell biology, and discussion and debate concerning how these advances are changing medicine, agriculture, and other aspects of our lives.
Gen Ed: PL.
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BIOL 55. First-Year Seminar: The Roots and Flowering of Civilization: A Seminar on Plants and People. 3 Credits.

Restricted to first-year students. The focus of this first-year seminar will be on the transition from hunter-gatherer, the interchange of crops, medicinal and psychoactive plants, and organic vs. industrial farming methods.
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BIOL 57. First-Year Seminar: Detecting the Future: Human Diseases and Genetic Tests. 3 Credits.

Restricted to first-year students. A first-year seminar focusing on the future of human diseases and genetic tests.
Gen Ed: PL.
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BIOL 61. First-Year Seminar: Sea Turtles: A Case Study in the Biology of Conservation. 3 Credits.

Restricted to first-year students. An examination of the biology and conservation of sea turtles, with an emphasis on how current scientific research informs conservation practices.
Gen Ed: PL.
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BIOL 62. First-Year Seminar: Mountains Beyond Mountains: Infectious Disease in the Developing World. 3 Credits.

Restricted to first-year students. In this course we will examine the challenges of treating infectious disease in the developing world, and explore the root causes of global health care inequity. Honors version available
Gen Ed: PL, GL.
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BIOL 64. First-Year Seminar: Modeling Fluid Flow through and around Organs and Organisms. 3 Credits.

The focus of this FYS will be on organisms living within moving fluids. The natural world is replete with examples of animals and plants whose shape influences flow to their benefit. For example, the shape of a maple seed generates lift to allow for long distance dispersal. The structure of a pinecone helps it to filter pollen from the air. A falcon's form during a dive reduces drag and allows it to reach greater speeds.
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BIOL 65. First-Year Seminar: Pneumonia. 3 Credits.

Restricted to first-year students. Pneumonia will be a lens to examine a thread of history of biology and medicine. Current research to understand the condition, discover treatment and enact prevention options will be examined.
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BIOL 66. First-year seminar: Evolution and the Science of Life. 3 Credits.

This interdisciplinary first-year seminar examines the roots, ideas, questions and applications of evolutionary biology. What is evolution, how does it work, and how do we study it? How did modern scientific theories of evolution emerge from the traditions of natural philosophy and natural history? How does studying evolution inform us about adaptation, biological diversity, human origins, disease, aging, sex and culture? First-year seminar.
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BIOL 81. First-Year Seminar: Intuition, Initiative and Industry: Biologists as Entrepreneurs. 3 Credits.

Successful biologists are necessarily entrepreneurs. This course will explore the parallels between biology and entrepreneurship. We follow these steps: generating ideas, marketing those ideas, testing them, and producing a product.
Gen Ed: CI.
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BIOL 89. First Year Seminar: Special Topics. 3 Credits.

Restricted to first-year students. This is a special topics course content will vary.
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BIOL 101. Principles of Biology. 3 Credits.

Open to all undergraduates. This course is the prerequisite to most higher courses in biology. An introduction to the fundamental principles of biology, including cell structure, chemistry, and function genetics evolution adaptation and ecology. (See department concerning Advanced Placement credit.) Three lecture hours a week. Honors version available
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BIOL 101L. Introductory Biology Laboratory. 1 Credit.

An examination of the fundamental concepts in biology with emphasis on scientific inquiry. Biological systems will be analyzed through experimentation, dissection, and observation. Three laboratory hours a week. Students may not receive credit for both BIOL 101L and BIOL 102L.
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BIOL 102L. Introductory Biology Laboratory with Research. 1 Credit.

This Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) lab introduces students to the process of science through collaboration on a research project, learning relevant techniques and scientific skills, and presenting research results. Three laboratory hours a week. This lab can be taken in place of BIOL 101L. Students may not receive credit for both BIOL 101L and BIOL 102L.
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Gen Ed: CI, EE- Mentored Research.
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BIOL 113. Issues in Modern Biology. 3 Credits.

For students not majoring in biology. Students who have taken any other course in the Department of Biology may not register for this course. Recent advances in the understanding of major principles in biology. Emphasis on genetics and medicine. Does not count as a course in the major. Three lecture hours a week.
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BIOL 115. Reasoning with Data: Navigating a Quantitative World. 3 Credits.

Students will use mathematical and statistical methods to address societal problems, make personal decisions, and reason critically about the world. Authentic contexts may include voting, health and risk, digital humanities, finance, and human behavior. This course does not count as credit towards the psychology or neuroscience majors.
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BIOL 117. Pre-Health Thrive-1 Considering Health Professions. 1 Credit.

This course provides exposure to a variety of health professions, emphasizing ways health care teams work together (interprofessional interactions). Self-assessments will be utilized to examine articulation between strengths and interests and the skills and competencies required in healthcare careers. Throughout the course, practitioners will provide insight into their professions such as allopathic and osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, veterinary medicine, optometry, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, social work, and occupational therapy. Does not count toward major.
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BIOL 118. Pre-Health Thrive-2 Pursuing Health Professions. 1 Credit.

This course will provide guidance to plan a path toward a profession of interest by selecting appropriate course, service, and research opportunities to include in a portfolio useful in completing applications. Application preparation and interview skills will be addressed for health professions programs such as allopathic and osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, veterinary medicine, optometry, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, social work, occupational therapy, and many others. This does not count as a course in the major.
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BIOL 150. First-Year Launch: The Creativity of Science, or Scientific Thinking in Biology. 3 Credits.

This course provides an introduction to the dynamic, creative, and open-ended process that is the scientific method. Through the analysis of news reports and primary scientific literature (covering a range of socially relevant biology topics), students will learn how to understand and interpret data, gain critical analysis skills, and begin to "think like scientists." Enrollment restricted to first-years and transfer students in their first year at UNC (transfer students, email instructor to be enrolled).
Gen Ed: PL.
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BIOL 159. Prehistoric Life. 3 Credits.

Fossils and the origin and evolution of life, including micro- and macroevolution, mass extinctions, the evolution of dinosaurs and humans, and scientific perspectives on multicultural creationism.
Gen Ed: PL.
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Same as: GEOL 159.

BIOL 190. Special Topics in Biology at an Introductory Level. 3 Credits.

Special topics in biology at an introductory level. This course does not count as a course in the biology major.
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BIOL 190L. Laboratory in Special Topics in Biology at an Introductory Level. 1 Credit.

Laboratory in special topics in biology at an introductory level. This course does not count as a course in the biology major.
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BIOL 195. Introduction to Research. 1 Credit.

The research work must involve at least four hours per week of mentored research in a campus research laboratory. Does not count as a course in the major.
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BIOL 201. Ecology and Evolution. 4 Credits.

Principles governing the ecology and evolution of populations, communities, and ecosystems, including speciation, population genetics, population regulation, and community and ecosystem structure and dynamics. Three lecture hours and one recitation-demonstration-conference hour a week. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101 and CHEM 101 or 102 A grade of C or better in BIOL 101 and CHEM 101 or 102 required.
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BIOL 202. Molecular Biology and Genetics. 4 Credits.

Structure and function of nucleic acids, principles of inheritance, gene expression, and genetic engineering. Three lecture hours and one recitation-demonstration-conference hour a week. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101 and CHEM 101 or 102 A grade of C or better in BIOL 101 and CHEM 101 or 102 is required.
Gen Ed: PL.
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BIOL 205. Cellular and Developmental Biology. 4 Credits.

Fundamentals of cell structure and activity in relation to special functions, metabolism, reproduction, embryogenesis, and with an introduction to the experimental analysis of cell physiology and development. Three lectures and one recitation-demonstration-conference hour a week. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 202 a grade of C- or better in BIOL 202 is required.
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BIOL 211. Introduction to Research in Biology. 3 Credits.

Seminar based on current investigations at UNC. Students examine sources of scientific information, explore the logic of investigation, and develop proposals. Students with BIOL 211 credit may take a maximum of three hours of BIOL 395.
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BIOL 213. Evolution and Life. 3 Credits.

For students not majoring in biology. Introduction to the scientific study of biological evolution and its applications. The mechanisms that cause evolution and general patterns of evolution during the history of life. Does not count as a course in the major.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 101 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 214H. Mathematics of Evolutionary Processes. 3 Credits.

This Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) class teaches students how scientists use mathematics to approach questions in evolutionary biology and ecology. Students learn both biological and mathematical concepts, taught using an array of pedagogical approaches. There are two group projects over the course of the semester, one involving the development of an original mathematical model. Students may not receive credit for both BIOL 214H and BIOL 224H.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101 and MATH 231 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
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BIOL 217. The Physician's Garden. 3 Credits.

First-year transfer students only. This course combines human cell biology and classical botany elaborating the mode of action of plant metabolites in humans. Hands-on experience includes visits to a pharmaceutical company, a botanical garden, and maintaining the campus medicinal garden.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 101.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 221. Seafood Forensics. 3 Credits.

In this Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) class, students will use forensic sciences (primarily DNA barcoding technology) to quantify seafood mislabeling. Students will learn the importance of food labeling as well as its impact on marine ecosystems and human health.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 101 corequisite, BIOL 221L permission of the instructor for students lacking the requisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 221L. Seafood Forensics Laboratory. 1 Credit.

In this Course-based Undergraduate Research (CURE) lab, students will use forensic sciences (primarily DNA barcoding technology) to quantify seafood mislabeling. Students will perform experiments based on hypotheses formulated in the co-requisite lecture course.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 101 corequisite, BIOL 221 permission of the instructor for students lacking the requisites.
Gen Ed: EE- Mentored Research.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 222. Introduction to Programming with Biological Data. 3 Credits.

All subdisciplines of biology deal with data. As the amount of data increases, automated methods of reading, manipulating and displaying data are necessary. This course covers the basics of practical computer programming to deal with this biological data. The emphasis is on learning techniques of reading, manipulating, analyzing and visualizing biological data.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 101.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 224H. The Mathematics of Life. 3 Credits.

An accessible treatment of classic mathematical applications to molecules, cells, development, genetics, ecology, and evolution, complementing the material taught in BIOL 201, 202, and 205. Three lecture hours a week. Students may not receive credit for both BIOL 224H and BIOL 214H.
Requisites: Prerequisite, MATH 231 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite Corequisite, BIOL 224L.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 224L. The Mathematics of Life Laboratory. 1 Credit.

An accessible treatment of classic mathematical applications to molecules, cells, development, genetics, ecology, and evolution, complementing the material taught in BIOL 201, 202, and 205. This lab component is programming-based.
Requisites: Prerequisite, MATH 231 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite corequisite, BIOL 224H.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 226. Mathematical Methods for Quantitative Biology. 3 Credits.

Introduction to quantitative biology with emphasis on applications that use mathematical modeling, linear algebra, differential equations, and computer programming. Applications may include neural networks, biomechanics, dispersion, and systems of biochemical reactions. Three lecture hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 201 or 202, and MATH 232 or 283. Corequisite, BIOL 226L.
Gen Ed: QI.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 226L. Mathematical Methods for Quantitative Biology Laboratory. 1 Credit.

Introduction to quantitative biology with emphasis on applications that use mathematical modeling, linear algebra, differential equations, and computer programming. Applications may include neural networks, biomechanics, dispersion, and systems of biochemical reactions. Three laboratory hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 201 or 202, and MATH 232 or 283. Corequisite, BIOL 226.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 251. Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology. 3 Credits.

This course relates the way in which the human body is constructed to the way in which it functions and is controlled. Students may not receive credit for both BIOL 251 and BIOL 252. Only offered through Continuing Studies.
Gen Ed: PX.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 251L. Human Physiology Virtual Laboratory. 1 Credit.

This is a course of simulated laboratory measurements exercises using typical data derived from actual physiological measurements on human subjects. Only offered though continuing education. Students may not receive credit for both BIOL 251L and BIOL 252.
Requisites: Pre- or corequisite, BIOL 251 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 252. Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology. 3 Credits.

One biology course over 200 recommended. An introductory but comprehensive course emphasizing the relationship between form and function of the body's organ systems. Three lecture hours each week. Students may not receive credit for BIOL 252 and BIOL 251 or BIOL 251L or BIOL 352 or BIOL 353. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101 corequisite, BIOL 252L.
Gen Ed: PX.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 252L. Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory. 1 Credit.

Organ level human structure and function. Three laboratory hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 101, and BIOL 101L or BIOL 102L Corequisite, BIOL 252 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the pre- or corequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 253L. Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory. 1 Credit.

In-depth study of physiological mechanisms by hands-on experimentation. Students gain experience in collecting, analyzing, and presenting human physiological data.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 252 and 252L corequisite, BIOL 253.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 253. Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology. 3 Credits.

In-depth study of physiological mechanisms at molecular, cellular, and system levels of organization. Students will develop analytical and problem solving skills. Intended for preprofessional students requiring a second semester of anatomy and physiology. Can be used as an allied science elective but not a biology elective course for the major or minor.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 252 and 252L Corequisite, BIOL 253L.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 255. The Evolution of Extraordinary Adaptations. 3 Credits.

In this Course-based Undergraduate Research (CURE) class, students will learn how to do science. This includes formulating a question, collecting data, and statistical analysis, to presenting research results. Students will test new hypotheses in ecology and evolution for spectacular adaptations in the Venus flytrap and the scale-eating pupfish using field and laboratory experiments and observations. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisite,BIOL 101 and 101L a grade of B or better in BIOL 101 is required. Corequisite, BIOL 255L.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 255L. The Evolution of Extraordinary Adaptions Laboratory. 1 Credit.

In this Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) lab, students will learn how to do science. This includes formulating a question, collecting data, and statistical analysis, to presenting research results. Students will test new hypotheses in ecology and evolution for spectacular adaptations in the Venus flytrap and the scale-eating pupfish using field and laboratory experiments and observations.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 101 and 101L corequisite, BIOL 255.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 256. Mountain Biodiversity. 4 Credits.

Introduction to the new field of biodiversity studies, which integrates approaches from systematics, ecology, evolution, and conservation. Taught at off-campus field station.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: ENEC 256.

BIOL 271. Plant Biology. 3 Credits.

Designed for students with an interest in natural sciences. An introduction to the principles of botany including structure, function, reproduction, heredity, environmental relationships, evolution and classification of plants. Three lecture hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101, and BIOL 101L or BIOL 102L corequisite, BIOL 271L.
Gen Ed: PX.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 271L. Plant Biology Laboratory. 1 Credit.

Designed for students with an interest in natural sciences. An introduction to the principles of botany including structure, function, reproduction, heredity, environmental relationships, evolution and classification of plants. Three laboratory hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101, and BIOL 101L or BIOL 102L corequisite, BIOL 271.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 272. Local Flora. 4 Credits.

Open to all undergraduates. North Carolina's flora: recognition, identification, classification, evolution, history, economics, plant families, ecology, and conservation. Three lecture and three laboratory hours per week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101, and 101L or 102L.
Gen Ed: PX.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: ENEC 272.

BIOL 273. Horticulture. 4 Credits.

The cultivation, propagation and breeding of plants, with emphasis on ornamentals. Control of environmental factors for optimal plant growth. Laboratory exercises include plant culture, propagation, pruning, and identification of common ornamentals. Two lecture, one recitation, and three laboratory hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 101.
Gen Ed: PX.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 274. Plant Diversity. 3 Credits.

Survey of major groups of plants emphasizing interrelationships and comparative morphology. Culturing techniques and field work included. Three lecture hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101, and BIOL 101L or BIOL 102L corequisite, BIOL 274L.
Gen Ed: PX, EE- Field Work.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 274L. Plant Diversity Laboratory. 1 Credit.

Survey of major groups of plants emphasizing interrelationships and comparative morphology. Culturing techniques and field work included. Three laboratory hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101, and BIOL 101L or BIOL 102L corequisite, BIOL 274.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 277. Vertebrate Field Zoology. 3 Credits.

Introduction to the diversity, ecology, behavior, and conservation of living vertebrates. Three lecture hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101, and BIOL 101L or BIOL 102L.
Gen Ed: PX.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 277L. Vertebrate Field Zoology Laboratory. 1 Credit.

Study of the diversity of vertebrates in the field. Three laboratory and field hours a week, including one or two weekend trips.
Requisites: Corequisite, BIOL 277 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the corequisite.
Gen Ed: EE- Field Work.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 278. Animal Behavior. 3 Credits.

Introduction to animal behavior with emphases on the diversity and adaptation of behavior in natural conditions. Three lecture hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101, and BIOL 101L or BIOL 102L.
Gen Ed: PX.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 278L. Animal Behavior Laboratory. 1 Credit.

Techniques of observation and experiments in animal behavior. Three laboratory hours a week.
Requisites: Pre- or corequisite, BIOL 278.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 279. Seminar in Organismal Biology. 2-3 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. An undergraduate course devoted to consideration of pertinent aspects of a selected organismal biological discipline.
Gen Ed: PL.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 279L. Topics in Organismal Biology Laboratory. 1-2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. An undergraduate laboratory course covering aspects of a specific organismal biological discipline. Laboratory reports will be required. Research work is not included in this course.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 290. Special Topics in Biology. 1-3 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. An undergraduate seminar course devoted to consideration of pertinent aspects of a selected biological discipline. Honors version available
Gen Ed: PL.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics 9 total credits. 3 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 290L. Special Topics in Biology Laboratory. 1-2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. An undergraduate laboratory course covering aspects of a specific biological discipline. Laboratory reports will be required. Research work is not included in this course.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics 6 total credits. 3 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 291. Teaching Apprentice in Biology. 1 Credit.

Permission required. 3.0 or higher in course taught. Experience includes preparations, demonstrations, assistance, and attendance at weekly meetings. Apprentices will not be involved in any aspects of grading. May be repeated for credit.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics 3 total credits. 3 total completions.
Grading status: Pass/Fail.

BIOL 292. Teaching Assistant in Biology. 2 Credits.

Permission required. 3.0 in course taught. Experience includes weekly meetings, preparations, demonstrations, instruction, and grading. May be repeated for credit. Six hours per week.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics 6 total credits. 3 total completions.
Grading status: Pass/Fail.

BIOL 293. Undergraduate Internship in Biology. 3 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Biology majors only. The sponsored, off-campus work must involve at least 135 hours. Does not count as a course in the major.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 201 or 202.
Gen Ed: EE- Academic Internship.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 294. Service Learning in Biology: APPLES. 1-2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. APPLES service-learning component for students enrolled in biology courses. Does not count as a course in the major. Honors version available
Gen Ed: EE- Service Learning.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 296. Directed Readings in Biology. 1-3 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Extensive and intensive reading of the literature of a specific biological field directly supervised by a member of the biology faculty. Written reports on the readings, or a literature review paper will be required. Cannot be used as a course toward the major. Honors version available
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 350. Oceanography. 3 Credits.

Required preparation, major in a natural science or two courses in natural sciences. Studies origin of ocean basins, seawater chemistry and dynamics, biological communities, sedimentary record, and oceanographic history. Term paper. Students lacking science background should see MASC 101. Students may not receive credit for both MASC 101 and MASC 401.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: MASC 401, ENVR 417, GEOL 403.

BIOL 390. Special Topics in Biology. 1-3 Credits.

Special topics course. Content and topics will vary each semester.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit. 9 total credits. 3 total completions.
Grading status: Pass/Fail.

BIOL 395. Undergraduate Research in Biology. 1-3 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Majors only. Hands-on research in the laboratory and/or field involving the study of biology. Requires written paper (first semester) or research poster (second semester). Up to five total hours counts as a lecture course. Six total hours counts as a biology elective with laboratory. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 201 or 202.
Gen Ed: EE- Mentored Research.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit. 6 total credits. 6 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 402. Infectious Disease in the Developing World. 3 Credits.

We will explore the challenges of infectious disease in the developing world, focusing on tuberculosis, HIV, and malaria. We will also examine the economics of different approaches to health care.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 202 and 205.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 409L. Art and Science: Merging Printmaking and Biology. 1 Credit.

Permission of the instructor. This is the lab component of ARTS 409 that brings together art majors and science majors to combine theory and practical learning in a biology laboratory, which focusing primarily on microscopic life and biological motion, with printmaking. Does not count as an elective towards the biology major.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 201, BIOL 202, or a 200-level ARTS course corequisite, ARTS 409.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 410. Principles and Methods of Teaching Biology. 4 Credits.

This Makerspace designed course will develop the knowledge and skills teachers need to implement inquiry-based biology instruction: rich, conceptual knowledge of biology and mastery of inquiry-based teaching methods. Does not count as a laboratory course.
Requisites: Prerequisites, two of the three biology core courses: BIOL 201, 202, and/or 205.
Gen Ed: EE- Field Work.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 421L. Microbiology Laboratory with Research. 2 Credits.

Sterile technique, bacterial growth, physiology, genetics and diversity, and bacteriophage. Research in bacterial genetics.
Requisites: Pre- or corequisite, BIOL 422.
Gen Ed: EE- Mentored Research.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 422. Microbiology. 3 Credits.

Bacterial form, growth, physiology, genetics, and diversity. Bacterial interactions including symbiosis and pathogenesis (animal and plant). Use of bacteria in biotechnology. Brief introduction to viruses.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 202 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 422L. Microbiology Laboratory. 1-2 Credits.

Sterile technique, bacterial growth and physiology, bacterial genetics, bacteriophage, and bacterial diversity.
Requisites: Pre- or corequisite, BIOL 422.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 423. Genetics Experiments. 3 Credits.

This is a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) combination course/lab. Using genetics and genome biology, students will study DNA repair and chromosome stability using yeast as a model system in a cutting edge research laboratory.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 202 corequisite, BIOL 423L.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 423L. Genetics Experiments Laboratory. 1 Credit.

This is a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) combination course/lab. Using genetics and genome biology, students will study DNA repair and chromosome stability using yeast as a model system in a cutting edge research laboratory.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 202 corequisite BIOL 423.
Gen Ed: EE- Mentored Research.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 424. Microbial Ecology. 3 Credits.

Class emphasizes the creativity of the scientific process, using primary scientific literature as a framework to discuss topics in microbial ecology, including microbial diversity, distributions, genomics, and co-evolution host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions nutrient cycling and degradation of plant matter and biofuels.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 201 and 202 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 425. Human Genetics. 3 Credits.

Pedigree analysis, inheritance of complex traits, DNA damage and repair, human genome organization, DNA fingerprinting, the genes of hereditary diseases, chromosomal aberrations, cancer and oncogenes, immunogenetics and tissue transplants. Three lecture hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 202 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 426. Biology of Blood Diseases. 3 Credits.

An introduction to the biology and pathophysiology of blood and the molecular mechanisms of some human diseases: anemias leukemias hemorrhagic, thrombotic, and vascular disorders and HIV disease/AIDS. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: PATH 426.

BIOL 427. Human Diversity and Population Genetics. 3 Credits.

Specifically, it addresses questions of human origins, population structure, and genetic diversity. This course investigates the facts, methods, and theories behind human population genetics, evolution, and diversity.
Requisites: Pre- or corequisites, BIOL 201 and 202 permission of the instructor for students lacking the requisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 428. Biology of Viruses. 3 Credits.

Historically viruses are microscopic disease-causing vectors that make headlines around the world as they emerge, spread, and evolve. More recently, viruses are being used as therapeutic agents to treat disease. The course will provide a historical perspective of viruses past to present. Students will learn virus history, molecular biology of viruses and infection, discovery and treatment of emerging viruses, and the impact of viruses on society.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 202.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 430. Introduction to Biological Chemistry. 3 Credits.

The study of cellular processes including catalysts, metabolism, bioenergetics, and biochemical genetics. The structure and function of biological macromolecules involved in these processes is emphasized. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101, and CHEM 262 or 262H.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: CHEM 430.

BIOL 431. Biological Physics. 3 Credits.

How diffusion, entropy, electrostatics, and hydrophobicity generate order and force in biology. Topics include DNA manipulation, intracellular transport, cell division, molecular motors, single molecule biophysics techniques, nerve impulses, neuroscience.
Requisites: Prerequisites, PHYS 116 and 117, or PHYS 118 and 119.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: PHYS 405, BMME 435.

BIOL 434. Molecular Biology. 3 Credits.

Advanced studies in molecular biology from an experimental approach.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 202 and CHEM 261 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 436. Plant Genetics, Development, and Biotechnology. 3 Credits.

Recent advances in plant molecular biology, genetics, development, and biotechnology, and their potential relevance to agriculture. The course will include lectures, reading and discussions of papers from the primary literature, and student presentations. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 271 or 202 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 439. Introduction to Signal Transduction. 3 Credits.

This course presents an introduction to signal transduction pathways used by higher eukaryotes. Several signaling paradigms will be discussed to illustrate the ways that cells transmit information. Three lecture hours per week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 202 and 205 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 440. Stem Cell Biology. 3 Credits.

Stem cells are important for a number of biological processes and have become topics of fascination in popular science and culture. This course will build from a solid foundation of genetics, cell, and developmental biology to give students a broad appreciation of stem cells in development, aging, disease, and bioengineering. Students will understand key concepts in stem cell biology like potential and immortality as well as understand stem cells' promise and limitations in therapeutic settings.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 202.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 441. Vertebrate Embryology. 3 Credits.

Principles of development with special emphasis on gametogenesis, fertilization, cleavage, germ layer formation, organogenesis, and mechanisms, with experimental analysis of developmental processes. Three lecture hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205 or 252 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 441L. Vertebrate Embryology Laboratory. 1 Credit.

Descriptive and some experimental aspects of vertebrate development. Three laboratory hours a week.
Requisites: Pre- or corequisite, BIOL 441.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 442. Self Assembly in Cell Biology. 3 Credits.

In this class, we will read and discuss together the primary literature to understand how self-assembly in cell biology is harnessed in normal cells and goes awry in disease. A secondary goal will be for students to develop numeracy in cell biology so as to understand cell processes in a quantitative framework.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205 and one additional course in biology numbered above BIOL 205.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 443. Developmental Biology. 3 Credits.

An experimental approach to an understanding of animals and plants. The approach covers developmental processes, molecular, genetic, cell biological and biochemical techniques, with an emphasis on the molecules involved in development.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 205 and CHEM 261 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 444. Molecular Basis of Disease. 3 Credits.

This course investigates the biological causes behind human diseases via critical thinking and analysis of experimental research outcomes. It approaches topics from a research perspective similar to a graduate seminar. Topics covered include genetic/inherited diseases, metabolic diseases, immunological disorders, infectious diseases, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurological diseases.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 445. Cancer Biology. 3 Credits.

Selected examples will be used to illustrate how basic research allows us to understand the mechanistic basis of cancer and how these insights offer hope for new treatments.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 202 and 205.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 446. Unsolved Problems in Cellular Biology. 3 Credits.

A survey of areas of current interest in cytology, embryology, and genetics with concentration on problems that remain unsolved but that appear to be near solution. Three lecture and discussion hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 447. Cell Biology: Beyond Core Basics. 1 Credit.

Modern methods in cell biology.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205 co-requisite, BIOL 447L Required preparation, a grade of C+ or better in BIOL 205.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 447L. Cell Biology: Beyond Core Basics Laboratory. 3 Credits.

Modern methods in cell biology lab.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205 co-requisite, BIOL 447 Required preparation, a grade of C+ or better in BIOL 205.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 448. Advanced Cell Biology. 3 Credits.

An advanced course in cell biology, with emphasis on the biochemistry and molecular biology of cell structure and function. Three lecture hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 449. Introduction to Immunology. 3 Credits.

This course provides a general overview of the evolution, organization, and function of the immune system. Instruction will be inquiry-based with extensive use of informational and instructional technology tools.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: MCRO 449.

BIOL 450. Neurobiology. 3 Credits.

Recommended preparation, BIOL 205. Survey of neurobiological principles in vertebrates and invertebrates, including development, morphology, physiology, and molecular mechanisms. Three lectures a week.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 451. Comparative Physiology. 3 Credits.

An examination of the physiology of animals using a comparative approach. Both invertebrate and vertebrate animals are discussed in order to elucidate general principles.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101, and BIOL 101L or BIOL 102L, and PHYS 104 or 114 or 116, and PHYS 105 or 115 or 117.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 451L. Comparative Physiology Laboratory. 1 Credit.

The fundamental principles of physiology are explored using physical models, animal experiments, and non invasive experiments on humans, reinforcing the understanding of concepts presented in lecture.
Requisites: Pre- or corequisite, BIOL 451.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 452. Marine Microbial Symbioses: Exploring How Microbial Interactions Affect Ecosystems and Human Health. 3 Credits.

Course material covers host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions found in marine ecosystems, including beneficial and parasitic relationships among viruses, microbes, marine animals, and humans. Limited to upper-level undergraduate science majors and graduate students.
Gen Ed: PL.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: MASC 446.

BIOL 453. Molecular Control of Metabolism and Metabolic Disease. 3 Credits.

This class will cover the small molecules, enzymes, signaling proteins, and pathways that control metabolic processes and that are altered in metabolic disease. We will generally take an experimental approach to explore and understand the fundamental aspects of metabolism.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 202 and CHEM 261 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 454. Evolutionary Genetics. 3 Credits.

The roles of mutation, migration, genetic drift, and natural selection in the evolution of the genotype and phenotype. Basic principles are applied to biological studies. Three lecture hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 201 and 202 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 455. Behavioral Neuroscience. 3 Credits.

The neurobiological basis of animal behavior at the level of single cells, neural circuits, sensory systems, and organisms. Lecture topics range from principles of cellular neurobiology to ethological field studies.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 456. Marine Phytoplankton. 3 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. For junior and senior science majors or graduate students. Biology of marine photosynthetic protists and cyanobacteria. Phytoplankton evolution, biodiversity, structure, function, biogeochemical cycles and genomics. Harmful algal blooms, commercial products, and climate change. Three lecture/practical session hours per week.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: MASC 444, ENEC 444.

BIOL 457. Marine Biology. 3 Credits.

Recommended preparation, BIOL 201 or 475. A survey of plants and animals that live in the sea: characteristics of marine habitats, organisms, and the ecosystems will be emphasized. Marine environment, the organisms involved, and the ecological systems that sustain them.
Gen Ed: PL.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: MASC 442.

BIOL 458. Sensory Neurobiology and Behavior. 3 Credits.

Recommended preparation, BIOL 205. An exploration of sensory systems and sensory ecology in animals. Topics range from neurophysiological function of sensory receptors to the role of sensory cues in animal behavior.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 459. Field Biology at Highlands Biological Station. 1-4 Credits.

Content varies. Summer field biology at the Highlands Biological Station focuses on the special faunal and floristic processes and patterns characteristic of the southern Appalachian mountains. Five lecture and three to five laboratory and field hours per week, depending on credit.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 101 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics 8 total credits. 2 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 461. Fundamentals of Ecology. 4 Credits.

Students will develop a comprehensive understanding of the field of ecology, including modern and emerging trends in ecology. They will develop literacy in the fundamental theories and models that capture ecological processes emphasis will also be placed on the relevance of ecology and ecological research for human society.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 201.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: ENEC 461.

BIOL 462. Marine Ecology. 3 Credits.

Survey of the ecological processes that structure marine communities in a range of coastal habitats. Course emphasizes experimental approaches to addressing basic and applied problems in marine systems.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 201 or 475.
Gen Ed: PL.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: MASC 440.

BIOL 463. Field Ecology. 4 Credits.

Application of ecological theory to terrestrial and/or freshwater systems. Lectures emphasize quantitative properties of interacting population and communities within these systems. Required laboratory teaches methodology applicable for analysis of these systems. Projects emphasize experimental testing of ecological theory in the field. Two lecture and six field hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 201.
Gen Ed: EE- Field Work.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 464. Global Change Ecology. 3 Credits.

Responses of plants, animals, and communities to climate and other global changes, emphasizing ecology, physiology, behavior, and evolution. Investigation of past responses and tools for predicting future responses.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 201.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 465. Global Biodiversity and Macroecology. 3 Credits.

We will explore global patterns of diversity of plants, animals, fungi, and microbes, and the insights gained by taking a statistical approach to describing these and other broad-scale ecological patterns.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 201 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 469. Behavioral Ecology. 3 Credits.

BIOL 278 recommended but not required and can be taken concurrently. Behavior as an adaptation to the environment. Evolution of behavioral strategies for survival and reproduction. Optimality and games that animals play. Three lecture hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 201.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 471. Evolutionary Mechanisms. 3 Credits.

Introduction to mechanisms of evolutionary change, including natural selection, population genetics, life history evolution, speciation, and micro- and macroevolutionary trends. Three lecture hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 201 and 202 Corequisite, BIOL 471L Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 471L. Evolutionary Mechanisms Laboratory. 1 Credit.

Introduction to mechanisms of evolutionary change, including natural selection, population genetics, life history evolution, speciation, and micro- and macroevolutionary trends. Three laboratory hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 201 and 202 Corequisite, BIOL 471 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the requisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 472. Introduction to Plant Taxonomy. 4 Credits.

Introduction to the taxonomy of vascular plants. Principles of classification, identification, nomenclature, and description. Laboratory and field emphasis on phytography, families, description, identification, and classification of vascular plant species. Three lecture and three laboratory hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 271 and/or 272 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 473L. Mammalian Morphology Laboratory. 1 Credit.

Laboratory includes an opportunity for independent investigation of anatomy through dissection, virtual models, and/or 3D modeling.
Requisites: Corequisite, BIOL 473.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 473. Mammalian Morphology and Development. 3 Credits.

An in-depth examination of the anatomical, evolutionary, and developmental history of mammals, including humans. Particular attention will be given to nervous, musculoskeletal and craniofacial structures.
Requisites: Corequisite, BIOL 473L.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 474. Evolution of Vertebrate Life. 3 Credits.

Evolutionary history of the vertebrates. Emphasis on anatomical, physiological, behavioral adaptations accompanying major transitions: the move from water to land, the development of complex integrating systems. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 201 or 202 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Gen Ed: PL.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 474L. Vertebrate Structure and Evolution Laboratory. 1 Credit.

Vertebrate comparative anatomy of organ systems and their evolution with emphasis on human anatomy. Three laboratory hours a week.
Requisites: Pre- or corequisite, BIOL 474.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 475. Biology of Marine Animals. 3 Credits.

Required preparation, one additional course in biology. An introduction to the major animal phyla emphasizing form, function, behavior, ecology, evolution, and classification of marine invertebrates. Three lecture and three laboratory hours per week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101, and BIOL 101L or BIOL 102L co-requisite, BIOL 475L.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 475L. Biology of Marine Animals Laboratory. 1 Credit.

This lab serves as an introduction to the major animal phyla emphasizing form, function, behavior, ecology, evolution, and classification of marine invertebrates.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101, and BIOL 101L or BIOL 102L co-requisite, BIOL 475.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 476. Avian Biology. 3 Credits.

A study of avian evolution, anatomy, physiology, neurobiology, behavior, biogeography, and ecology. Three lecture hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101, and BIOL 101L or BIOL 102L corequisite, BIOL 476L.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 476L. Avian Biology Laboratory. 1 Credit.

Techniques for the study of avian evolution, ecology, and behavior with emphasis on North Carolina birds. Three laboratory or field hours a week, including one or two weekend field trips.
Requisites: Corequisite, BIOL 476.
Gen Ed: EE- Field Work.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 479. Topics in Organismal Biology at an Advanced Level. 3 Credits.

Topics in organismal biology at an advanced undergraduate or graduate student level.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 479L. Laboratory in Organismal Biology: Advanced Topics. 1-2 Credits.

Laboratory in topics in organismal biology for advanced undergraduates and graduate students.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 480. Discoveries in Prevention and Cure of Infectious Disease in London. 3 Credits.

This is a Burch summer honors course taught in London. We will examine three major discoveries relating to infectious disease (vaccination, transmission via water, and antibiotics) and one major epidemic (plague) which led to no scientific response and explore how the thought of the time influenced scientific research. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 202.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 490. Advanced Topics in Biology. 3 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Content will vary. Three lecture and discussion hours per week by visiting and resident faculty. Honors version available
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit. 12 total credits. 4 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 495. Undergraduate Research in Biology. 1-3 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Biology majors only. A continuation of the hands-on research in the laboratory and/or field that was started in BIOL 395. A final written paper is required each term. May be repeated. Does not count as a course in the major. Pass/fail credit only. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 395.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit. 12 total credits. 4 total completions.
Grading status: Pass/Fail.

BIOL 501. Ethical Issues in Life Sciences. 3 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. A consideration and discussion of ethical issues in life sciences including cloning humans, genetic engineering, stem cell research, organ transplantation, and animal experimentation. Counts as a course numbered below 400 for biology major requirements.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 514. Evolution and Development. 3 Credits.

The course examines the mechanisms by which organisms are built and evolve. In particular, it examines how novel and complex traits and organisms arise from interactions among genes and cells. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 201, 202, and 205 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 523. Sex Differences in Human Disease. 3 Credits.

Many human diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, chronic kidney disease, obesity, and auto-immune disease differ in their pathology and treatment between males and females. The class will first cover the hormonal and genetic mechanisms of sex determination, and then build on this knowledge to understand sexual disparities in the development and potential treatments of disease. The course will be based on primary literature and discussions of experimental evidence.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 202 or 205.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 524. Strategies of Host-Microbe Interactions. 3 Credits.

There is great variety in how microbes colonize and live with their hosts. The course will summarize strategies of pathogenicity, symbiosis, commensalism and mutualism. Evolutionary, cellular, and molecular aspects will be analyzed.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Gen Ed: CI.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 525. Analysis and Interpretation of Sequence-Based Functional Genomics Experiments. 3 Credits.

Practical introduction to functional genomics experiments, such as RNA-seq and ChIP-seq, and computational techniques for the analysis of these data derived from high-throughput sequencing. Interpretation of results will be stressed. Basic knowledge of molecular biology, beginning level computational skills, and familiarity with basic statistical concepts are expected. Three lecture hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 202, COMP 110 or 116, and STOR 155 corequisite, BIOL 525L.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 525L. Analysis and Interpretation of Sequence-Based Functional Genomics Experiments Laboratory. 1 Credit.

Computer lab will provide students with experience using computational software for analysis of functional genomics experiments. Basic knowledge of molecular biology, beginning level computer skills, and familiarity with basic statistical concepts are expected. One laboratory hour a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 202, COMP 110 or 116, and STOR 155 corequisite, BIOL 525.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 526. Computational Genetics. 4 Credits.

Introduction to computational principles underlying sequence alignment and phylogenetics, genome assembly and annotation, analysis of gene function, and other bioinformatics applications. Includes a one-hour computer laboratory. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 202, STOR 155, and one of BIOL 226, COMP 110, or COMP 116 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 527. Seminar in Quantitative Biology. 3 Credits.

Seminar in quantitative biology for advanced students. The course counts as a quantitative biology course for the major.
Requisites: Prerequisites, COMP 110 or COMP 116, and MATH 232 or MATH 283 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics 12 total credits. 4 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 527L. Laboratory in Quantitative Biology. 1 Credit.

Laboratory in quantitative biology for advanced students. The laboratory will involve mathematical analysis and modeling of biological systems and processes.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit. 4 total credits. 4 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 528. Quantitative Personalized Genomics. 3 Credits.

Personalized medicine, specifically using genetic markers to improve outcomes and minimize side effects (pharmacogenomics) requires the development and application of advanced computational and quantitative techniques. Students will develop computational skills to address contemporary genomic and statistical problems.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 202 and one of COMP 116, COMP 110, BIOL 226/BIOL 226L Corequisite, BIOL 528L permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 528L. Quantitative Personalized Genomics Laboratory. 1 Credit.

Personalized medicine, specifically using genetic markers to improve outcomes and minimize side effects (pharmacogenomics) requires the development and application of advanced computational and quantitative techniques. Students will develop computational skills to address contemporary genomic and statistical problems in a lab setting.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 202 and one of COMP 116, COMP 110, BIOL 226/BIOL 226L Corequisite, BIOL 528 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 529. Clinical and Counseling Aspects of Human Genetics. 3 Credits.

Topics in clinical genetics including pedigree analysis, counseling/ethical issues, genetic testing, screening, and issues in human research. Taught in a small group format. Active student participation is expected.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 425 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: GNET 635.

BIOL 532. Recent Discoveries in Molecular Biology. 3 Credits.

This course examines recent insights into molecular and cellular processes obtained through modern experimental approaches. Extensive reading of primary literature, discussed in a seminar format.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 202, and either BIOL 205 or a 400-level BIOL course Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 534. Mathematical Modeling in the Life Sciences. 3 Credits.

Requires some knowledge of computer programming. Model validation and numerical simulations using ordinary, partial, stochastic, and delay differential equations. Applications to the life sciences may include muscle physiology, biological fluid dynamics, neurobiology, molecular regulatory networks, and cell biology.
Requisites: Prerequisites, MATH 383, and 347.
Gen Ed: QI.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: MATH 564.

BIOL 535. Molecular Biology Techniques. 4 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Recommended preparation, BIOL 434. Experiments with bacterial phage, nucleic acid isolation and properties, recombinant DNA techniques, and DNA sequencing. Additional hours in laboratory will be necessary to complete assignments.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 537. Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology. 3 Credits.

Recent advances in biotechnology and synthetic biology, and their potential relevance to medicine, agriculture, and engineering. The course will include lectures, reading and discussions of papers from the primary literature, and student projects and presentations.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 202.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 542. Light Microscopy for the Biological Sciences. 3 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Introduction to various types of light microscopy, digital and video imaging techniques, and their application in biological sciences.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205 for undergraduates.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 543. Cardiovascular Biology. 3 Credits.

An experimental approach to understanding cardiovascular development, function, and disease. It covers cardiovascular development (heart, blood vasculature, lymphatic vasculature) and cardiovascular function as linked to selected diseases. Focus on molecular, genetic, cell biological, and biochemical techniques used to study the cardiovascular system, with an emphasis on the genes and signaling pathways involved in cardiovascular development and disease. Most topics will be paired with a research paper from the primary literature. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 544L. Laboratory in Diseases of the Cytoskeleton. 3 Credits.

This laboratory course offers students the chance to engage in cutting-edge biochemical and cell biological research related to ongoing cytoskeletal research projects in the labs of two UNC faculty members. The course is composed of lectures and laboratory research. Students will become involved in all scientific processes: analysis of prior work, hypothesis generation and testing, data analysis and quantitation, and the presentation of data and conclusions.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 205 and CHEM 430 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 545. Exploring Brain, Gut, and Immunity. 3 Credits.

The course will explore topics that relate to how the brain and the gut communicate with one another. The course will also examine the connection between the brain-gut axis to the immune system and the microbiota at a molecular, cellular, and organismal level. Students will survey these emerging research topics and critically think, critique, and understand the experimental evidence for what we understand today about the gut and brain relationship. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 547. Synaptic Plasticity: Analysis of Primary Literature. 3 Credits.

In this highly interactive, small-group course, we will read a series of scientific papers that elegantly demonstrate molecular events that are fundamental to synaptic plasticity, a key mechanism of learning and memory. Students will become familiar with this exciting neuroscience topic, and also learn how to interpret experimental data and read papers critically and objectively. We will also think about the future experiments suggested by each paper we read.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 202.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 551. Comparative Biomechanics. 3 Credits.

The structure and function of organisms in relation to the principles of fluid mechanics and solid mechanics.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 101, and 101L, or 102L, and PHYS 104, or 114, or 116, or 118.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 552. Behavioral Endocrinology. 3 Credits.

Undergraduates need permission of the instructor to enroll. The study of the interactions among hormones, the brain, and behavior from how hormones shape the development and expression of behaviors to how behavioral interactions regulate endocrine physiology.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 553. Mathematical and Computational Models in Biology. 3 Credits.

This course introduces analytical, computational, and statistical techniques, such as discrete models, numerical integration of ordinary differential equations, and likelihood functions, to explore various fields of biology.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 201 and 202, MATH 231, and either MATH 232 or STOR 155 Co-requisite, BIOL 553L/MATH 553L permission of the instructor for students lacking the requisites.
Gen Ed: QI.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: MATH 553.

BIOL 553L. Mathematical and Computational Models in Biology Laboratory. 1 Credit.

This lab introduces analytical, computational, and statistical techniques, such as discrete models, numerical integration of ordinary differential equations, and likelihood functions, to explore various fields of biology.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 201 and 202, MATH 231, and either MATH 232 or STOR 155 Co-requisite, BIOL 553/MATH 553 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: MATH 553L.

BIOL 554. Introduction to Computational Neuroscience. 3 Credits.

This course covers various mathematical tools and techniques for modeling the various elements and phenomena that comprise the nervous system and brain.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 201 or 202 MATH 231 and one of BIOL 226, COMP 110, or COMP 116 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites .
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 555. Paleobotany: An Introduction to the Past History of Plants. 3 Credits.

An introduction to the fossil record of plants, investigating how plants originated and changed through geological time to produce the modern flora. Both macrofossils and microfossils will be considered. Three lecture hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 202, and one other BIOL course above 200 corequisite, BIOL 555L permission of the instructor for students lacking the requisites.
Gen Ed: EE- Field Work.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: GEOL 555.

BIOL 555L. Paleobotany: An Introduction to the Past History of Plants Laboratory. 1 Credit.

The laboratory involves learning how to locate, collect, prepare, and analyze fossil plants it also provides fossils that illustrate topics covered in lecture. Students will be involved in field trips to fossil sites and museums to learn about fossil curation and display of fossils for public education. Three laboratory hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 202 and one other BIOL course above 200 corequisite, BIOL 555.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 561. Ecological Plant Geography. 3 Credits.

Description of the major vegetation types of the world including their distribution, structure, and dynamics. The principal causes for the distribution of plant species and communities, such as climate, soils, and history will be discussed.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 101 or GEOG 110 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 562. Statistics for Environmental Scientists. 4 Credits.

Introduction to the application of quantitative and statistical methods in environmental science, including environmental monitoring, assessment, threshold exceedance, risk assessment, and environmental decision making.
Requisites: Prerequisite, STOR 155.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: ENEC 562.

BIOL 563. Statistical Analysis in Ecology and Evolution. 4 Credits.

Application of modern statistical analysis and data modeling in ecological and evolutionary research. Emphasis is on computer-intensive methods and model-based approaches. Familiarity with standard parametic statistics is assumed.
Requisites: Prerequisites, MATH 231 and STOR 151 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: ENEC 563.

BIOL 565. Conservation Biology. 3 Credits.

The application of biological science to the conservation of populations, communities, and ecosystems, including rare species management, exotic species invasions, management of natural disturbance, research strategies, and preserve design principles. Honors version available
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 201 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 567. Evolutionary Ecology. 3 Credits.

Advanced consideration of the evolution of form and function. May include issues in life-history evolution, evolutionary physiology, evolutionary morphology, and the evolution of complexity. Three lecture hours per week.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 471 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 568. Disease Ecology and Evolution. 3 Credits.

Recommended preparation, one course above 400 in ecology or evolution. An advanced class covering the causes and consequences of infectious disease at the levels of whole organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 201 and MATH 231 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 579. Organismal Structure and Diversity in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. 4 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. An examination of the field biology of selected fungi, plants, or animals of the Appalachian Mountains. The morphology, taxonomy, ecology, life history, and behavior of the organisms will be explored both in the laboratory and in the field.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 590. Advanced Special Topics in Biology. 3 Credits.

Special topics in biology for advanced undergraduate students and graduate students.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit. 12 total credits. 4 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 590L. Laboratory in Advanced Special Topics in Biology. 1 Credit.

Laboratory at an advanced level in special topics in biology. Students should have had considerable previous laboratory experience.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit. 2 total credits. 2 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 602. Professional Development Skills for Ecologists and Biologists. 3 Credits.

The goal of this course is to help students who intend to become professional ecologists or biologists acquire critical skills and strategies needed for achieving their career goals.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: ENEC 602.

BIOL 603. MiBio Seminar. 2 Credits.

This class is designed to 1) enhance students' ability to present scientific material to their peers in a comprehensive, cohesive manner, 2) familiarize students with scientific concepts and technologies used in multiple disciplines, 3) expose students to cutting edge research, 4) prepare students to gain substantial meaning from seminars and to ask questions, and 5) enhance students' ability to evaluate scientific papers and seminars.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: BIOC 603, CBPH 603, GNET 603.

BIOL 604. Laboratory Practices for New Investigators. 1 Credit.

Required preparation, participation in an ongoing laboratory research project. Permission of the instructor. A seminar course designed to introduce students to approaches and methods needed in carrying out an independent research project in a particular focus area of biology. For advanced undergraduates and graduate students.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit. 2 total credits. 2 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 605. Reading and Writing Scientific Literature. 1 Credit.

A seminar course designed to introduce students to how to read and write scientific papers. For advanced undergraduates and graduate students.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 201 or 202.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit. 2 total credits. 2 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 620. Bacterial Genetics with Emphasis on Pathogenic and Symbiotic Interactions. 3 Credits.

Required preparation, a course in microbiology, a course in molecular biology numbered above 300, or research experience in microbiology or molecular biology. Molecular genetics of bacteria. The emphasis will be on pathogenic and symbiotic interactions of bacteria with eukaryotes, although other aspects of bacterial genetics will be considered.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 621. Principles of Genetic Analysis I. 3 Credits.

Prerequisite for undergraduates, BIOL 202. Permission of the instructor for undergraduates. Genetic principles of genetic analysis in prokaryotes and lower eukaryotes.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: GNET 621.

BIOL 622. Principles of Genetic Analysis II. 4 Credits.

Principles of genetic analysis in higher eukaryotes genomics.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 621.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: GNET 622.

BIOL 624. Developmental Genetics. 3 Credits.

Permission of the instructor for undergraduates. Genetic and molecular control of plant and animal development. Extensive reading from primary literature.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: GNET 624.

BIOL 625. Seminar in Genetics. 2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor for undergraduates. Current and significant problems in genetics. May be repeated for credit.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics 12 total credits. 6 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: GNET 625.

BIOL 631. Advanced Molecular Biology I. 3 Credits.

Required preparation for undergraduates, at least one undergraduate course in both biochemistry and genetics. DNA structure, function, and interactions in prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems, including chromosome structure, replication, recombination, repair, and genome fluidity. Three lecture hours a week.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: GNET 631, BIOC 631, MCRO 631.

BIOL 632. Advanced Molecular Biology II. 3 Credits.

Required preparation for undergraduates, at least one undergraduate course in both biochemistry and genetics. The purpose of this course is to provide historical, basic, and current information about the flow and regulation of genetic information from DNA to RNA in a variety of biological systems. Three lecture hours a week.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: GNET 632, BIOC 632, MCRO 632.

BIOL 635. Careers in Biotechnology. 1 Credit.

This seminar course will provide graduate and advanced undergraduate students information on career opportunities and culture in the field of biotechnology. The instructor and guest lecturers will present examples of global challenges addressed by modern biotechnology, and how research and development are carried out in the industry. Students will develop and present their own plan for a new biotechnology venture.
Grading status: Pass/Fail.

BIOL 639. Seminar in Plant Molecular and Cell Biology. 1 Credit.

Permission of the instructor. May be repeated for credit. Current and significant problems in plant molecular and cell biology are discussed in a seminar format. Can count as BIOL elective credit in the major if combined with other 600-level courses for a total of three credit hours.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics 12 total credits. 12 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 642. Advanced Studies of Cell Division. 3 Credits.

An advanced course in cell and molecular biology integrating genetic, biochemical, and structural aspects of the cell cycle. Principles derived from a variety of biological systems. Extensive reading of classic papers as well as recent literature.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 643. Molecular Mechanisms of the Cytoskeleton. 3 Credits.

This seminar examines the cytoskeletal systems of eukaryotes and prokaryotes via primary literature. Architectures of cytoskeletal components are compared and contrasted along with their regulators, nucleators, and molecular motors.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 205 and CHEM 430 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 648. Palynology. 5 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. A consideration of various aspects of palynology, including the morphology, structure, development, systematics, evolution, preparation techniques, and analysis of living and fossil pollen grains, spores, and other palynomorphs. Two lecture and six laboratory hours a week.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 649. Seminar in Cell Biology. 2 Credits.

May be repeated for credit. Can count as BIOL elective credit in the major if combined with other 600-level courses for a total of three credit hours.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics 12 total credits. 6 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 650. Animal Cognition. 3 Credits.

For advanced undergraduates and graduate students. The goal of the course is to gain an in-depth understanding of animal cognition in the context of evolution and neurobiology with an emphasis on recent research.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 657. Biological Oceanography. 4 Credits.

For graduate students undergraduates need permission of the instructor. Marine ecosystem processes pertaining to the structure, function, and ecological interactions of biological communities management of biological resources taxonomy and natural history of pelagic and benthic marine organisms. Three lecture and one recitation hours per week. Two mandatory weekend fieldtrips.
Gen Ed: PL.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: MASC 504, ENVR 520.

BIOL 659. Seminar in Evolutionary Biology. 2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Advanced studies in evolutionary biology. Can count as BIOL elective credit in the major if combined with other 600-level courses for a total of three credit hours.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics 12 total credits. 6 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 661. Plant Ecology. 4 Credits.

Consideration of terrestrial, vascular plant ecology including environmental physiology, population dynamics, and community structure. Laboratory stresses collection and interpretation of field data. Three lecture and three laboratory hours a week.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 201.
Gen Ed: EE- Field Work.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 662. Field Plant Geography. 2 Credits.

Intensive literature and field study of the plant geography and ecology of a selected region. Weekly seminar-style discussion followed by approximately nine days' field experience. May be repeated for credit.
Requisites: Prerequisites, BIOL 661 or 561 and permission of the instructor.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 669. Seminar in Ecology. 1-3 Credits.

May be repeated for credit.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 201 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics 12 total credits. 12 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: ENEC 669.

BIOL 680. Advanced Seminar in Recent Biological Research and Methods. 1 Credit.

Permission of the instructor. The course will cover topics and experimental approaches of current interest. Students will learn intellectual and practical aspects of cutting-edge topics in biology. It will meet for one hour per week, in a lecture and discussion format.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit. 3 total credits. 3 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 690. Advanced Special Topics with an Emphasis on Recent Research. 3 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Special topics in biology with an emphasis on recent research. For advanced undergraduates and graduate students.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit. 6 total credits. 2 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 692H. Senior Honors Thesis in Biology. 3 Credits.

Preparation of a written and oral presentation of honors thesis research. Research must continue in the same laboratory used in BIOL 395. Senior biology majors only (first or second majors). Required of all candidates for Highest Honors or Honors. Can be taken in either the fall or spring semester of their senior year. Approval of the Biology Honors Director required. Permission of a faculty research director and three credit hours of BIOL 395 in the same laboratory required.
Gen Ed: CI, EE- Mentored Research.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 701. Overview of Biology. 1-2 Credits.

Biology faculty will present individual research presentations followed by discussion.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 703. Recent Advances in Biology. 1-3 Credits.

A consideration of the methods and literature involved in the latest advances in selected areas of biology.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 704. Seminars in Biophysics. 2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Students present seminars coordinated with the visiting lecturer series of the Program in Molecular and Cellular Biophysics.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: BIOC 704.

BIOL 705. Best Practices for Rigor and Reproducibility in Research. 1 Credit.

A workshop to introduce best practices for increasing rigor and reproducibility in research. Permission of course directors required.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: BBSP 705.

BIOL 758. Molecular Population Biology. 4 Credits.

Hands-on training, experience, and discussion of the application of molecular genetic tools to questions of ecology, evolution, systematics, and conservation.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 471 Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: MASC 742.

BIOL 801. Seminar in Biological Sciences. 1-2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Advanced seminar in interdisciplinary biological sciences.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 810. Seminar in College Science Teaching. 2 Credits.

This interactive course will help graduate students develop the knowledge and skills needed to implement student-centered science instruction at the university level. Participants will support one another in creating a teachable unit, a personal teaching philosophy statement, and a course syllabus.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 829. Seminar in Quantitative Biology. 1-3 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Advanced seminar in quantitative biology.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 831. Seminar in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, and Endocrinology. 1-2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Advanced seminar in insect physiology, biochemistry, and endocrinology.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 832. Seminar in Molecular Biology. 1-2 Credits.

Advanced seminar in molecular biology.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 202 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 841. Seminar in Embryology. 1-2 Credits.

Advanced seminar in embryology.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 205 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 842. Seminar in Cell Biology and Biochemistry. 1-2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Advanced seminar in cell biology and biochemistry.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 845. Advanced Seminar in Neurobiology. 2 Credits.

Advanced seminar in Neurobiology. Students should have previous experience in Neurobiology courses or research.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics 6 total credits. 3 total completions.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 852. Seminar in Plant Systematics. 1-2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Advanced seminar in plant systematics.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 853. Seminar in Plant Morphology and Anatomy. 1-2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Advanced seminar in plant morphology and anatomy.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 854. Seminar in Neurophysiology. 1-2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Advanced seminar in neurophysiology. May be repeated for credit.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 855. Seminar in Invertebrate Zoology. 1-2 Credits.

Advanced seminar in invertebrate zoology. May be repeated for credit.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 475 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 856. Seminar in Vertebrate Evolutionary Biology. 1-2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Advanced seminar in vertebrate evolutionary biology. May be repeated for credit.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 857. Seminar in Comparative Animal Behavior. 1-2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Advanced seminar in comparative animal behavior. May be repeated for credit.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: NBIO 857.

BIOL 858. Seminar in Comparative Physiology. 1-2 Credits.

Advanced seminar in comparative physiology.
Requisites: Prerequisite, BIOL 451 permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: NBIO 858.

BIOL 859. Seminar in Marine Biology. 1-2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Advanced seminar in marine biology. May be repeated for credit.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 861. Statistical Analysis in Ecology and Evolution using R. 1 Credit.

Graduate standing in biology, ecology or genetics required. Introduction to statistical analysis and modeling of ecological and evolutionary data using the R programming environment.
Requisites: Prerequisite, STOR 155.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 890. Special Topics in Biology. 1-2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. Consideration of special topics in biology. May be repeated once for credit.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 891. Graduate Seminar in Biology. 2 Credits.

Graduate standing or permission of the instructor. This course will increase students' intellectual depth across the fields of ecology, evolution, and organismal biology (EEOB). Students will read and discuss papers, attend seminars, and present research ideas. Required of all candidates for the degree in biology in the EEOB graduate program.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 892. Special Topics in Biology for Graduate Students. 1-4 Credits.

This course is designed to allow graduate students to explore areas of biology outside their direct area of specialization. Three credits lecture only. Four credits lecture and lab.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 901. Introduction to Graduate Research. 1-15 Credits.

Graduate research for six weeks in two laboratories. Designed primarily to acquaint first-year students with research techniques and to assess their propensity for research. Arranged by mutual agreement of students and faculty members during fall orientation. May be repeated once for credit. Six to nine hours per week.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 921. Research in Genetics. 1-15 Credits.

May be repeated for credit.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: GNET 905.

BIOL 931. Research in Molecular Biology. 1-15 Credits.

Acquaints early career graduate students with research techniques and assesses their propensity for research. Arranged by mutual agreement of student and faculty member.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 932. Research in Plant Molecular Biology. 1-15 Credits.

Acquaints early career graduate students with research techniques and assesses their propensity for research. Arranged by mutual agreement of student and faculty member.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 941. Research in Cytology and Cell Biology. 1-15 Credits.

Acquaints early career graduate students with research techniques and assesses their propensity for research. Arranged by mutual agreement of student and faculty member.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 942. Research in Embryology. 1-15 Credits.

Acquaints early career graduate students with research techniques and assesses their propensity for research. Arranged by mutual agreement of student and faculty member.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 943. Research in Physiology: Cellular, Comparative, Neurophysiology. 1-15 Credits.

Acquaints early career graduate students with research techniques and assesses their propensity for research. Arranged by mutual agreement of student and faculty member.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 951. Research in Neurobiology. 3-12 Credits.

Permission of the department. Research in various aspects of neurobiology. Six to 24 hours a week.
Grading status: Letter grade
Same as: NBIO 951, PHCO 951.

BIOL 952. Research in Ethology and Animal Behavior. 1-15 Credits.

Acquaints early career graduate students with research techniques and assesses their propensity for research. Arranged by mutual agreement of student and faculty member.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 953. Research in Marine Sciences. 2-21 Credits.

BIOL 954. Research in Marine Sciences on Mollusca, Crustacea, Ichthyology, or Oceanography. 1-15 Credits.

Permission of the department. At the Institute for Marine Sciences, Morehead City, NC.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 955. Research in Vertebrate or Invertebrate Zoology. 1-15 Credits.

Acquaints early career graduate students with research techniques and assesses their propensity for research. Arranged by mutual agreement of student and faculty member.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 957. Research in Plant Systematics. 1-15 Credits.

Acquaints early career graduate students with research techniques and assesses their propensity for research. Arranged by mutual agreement of student and faculty member.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 958. Research in Plant Morphology and Anatomy. 1-15 Credits.

Acquaints early career graduate students with research techniques and assesses their propensity for research. Arranged by mutual agreement for student and faculty member.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 959. Research in Paleobotany. 1-15 Credits.

Acquaints early career graduate students with research techniques and assesses their propensity for research. Arranged by mutual agreement of student and faculty member.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 961. Research in Ecology. 1-15 Credits.

Acquaints early career graduate students with research techniques and assesses their propensity for research. Arranged by mutual agreement of the student and faculty member.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit may be repeated in the same term for different topics.
Grading status: Letter grade.

BIOL 992. Master's (Non-Thesis). 3 Credits.

Course for graduate students expecting to receive the degree of Master of Arts in Biology.
Repeat rules: May be repeated for credit.

BIOL 993. Master's Research and Thesis. 3 Credits.

BIOL 994. Doctoral Research and Dissertation. 3 Credits.


Academic requirements

A-levels:A*AA –Biology is required and the A* must be in a science or Mathematics (see the full list of subjects in which an A* grade will be acceptable)
Advanced Highers:AA/AAB
IB:39 (including core points) with 7 in HL Mathematics or a science
Or any other equivalent (see other UK qualifications, and international qualifications)

Wherever possible, your grades are considered in the context in which they have been achieved. (See further information on how we use contextual data.)

Subject requirements

Essential:Candidates are required to have Biology and either Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or another equivalent.

If a practical component forms part of any of your science A‐levels used to meet your offer, we expect you to pass it.

If English is not your first language you may also need to meet our English language requirements.


Research strengths

Our team of marine scientists lead global research, partnerships and industry collaborations that explore how marine life responds to ocean change.

Research that forecasts future habitats

Our scientists are at the forefront of research on the impact of climate change to our marine environments. We use projected estimates of climate change – such as ocean acidification and temperature - as modified by local management – i.e. fishing and pollution.

One of our key concerns, is the rate of current change. Even if we maintain CO2 emissions at current levels - an unlikely scenario - CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will increase by over 50 per cent in coming years. This increase will cause ocean acidification as more CO2 is dissolved into the world's oceans.

Our ongoing research uses combination of laboratory and field techniques. Lab studies can be carefully controlled, but the range of ecological interactions is quite limited. Conversely, field studies benefit from interactions within a natural community, but spatial and temporal variation in climate parameters do not behave exactly the same as future ocean conditions. Combining both approaches provide us with key learnings that help forecast future marine habitats.

Recovering lost baselines

Managing natural systems without knowledge of their previous state is like navigating without a map. The power of such research on policy development is hard to overstate.

Disappearing oyster reefs

Two hundred years ago our coast was an oyster reef. Due to population growth of coastal settlements in Australia, our scientists have been able to evaluate the collapse and elimination of native oyster reefs.

What did these reefs once provide nature? Our research explores the restoration of these environments and the food and habitat potential of these reefs for increased fish productivity and filtration capacity for clear coastal waters.

  • Losing oyster reefs to history: Using the past to restore reefs for the future, eScience , Conservation Biology
Poleward movements

Our research has discovered that seaweeds have been moving polewards for a long time. Our scientists have shown that continued warming may drive hundreds of species toward and beyond the edge of the Australian continent where sustained retreat is impossible. The potential for global extinctions is profound considering the many endemic seaweeds and seaweed-dependent marine organisms in temperate Australia.

Urban kelp forests

Thirty years ago, we had 'urban' kelp forests. Our recovery of the urban kelp baseline has enabled cross-government consensus on the need to improve water quality.

Previously, the absence of urban kelp was argued to be natural and water improvement unnecessary. South Australia now aims to reduce its release of nitrogen to our urban coast by 75 per cent.

Oysters are ecological superheroes

Oyster reefs fringed Australia’s shorelines and shaped our marine ecosystems for millennia.

These reefs can increase the abundance and diversity marine organisms through the habitat they create. Restoring our lost oyster reefs can not only help the environment, but strengthen commercial and recreational fishing, and increase tourism for coastal communities.

Oysters have a phenomenal ability to improve local water quality and decrease water turbidity, which allows sunlight to penetrate to the seafloor to enhances seagrass growth. Oysters also filter excess nutrients from the water which result from urban runoff, which helps avoid environmental catastrophes such as Algae blooms.

Their structures can reduce coastal erosion by attenuating wave energy and their shell building can provide a carbon sink, helping to slow the rate of climate change.

The role of oysters as ecosystem engineers is not dissimilar to the role of trees on land or coral reefs in tropical seas. In fact, oyster reefs are often considered the temperate equivalent of coral reefs.

Two hundred years ago, more than 1500 kilometres of South Australian coastline was covered in oyster reefs teeming with fish and home to thousands of marine species.

Today, oyster reefs in Australia are at less than one percent of their pre-colonial extent, and South Australia's native flat oyster (Ostrea angasi), is all but eradicated.


Our research

We&rsquore home to researchers and academics who are recognised internationally for their work.

Our hallmark is a capacity to examine complex questions from multiple perspectives and to foster collaboration within the department and beyond. We have a strong community of Higher Degree Research students who are vital contributors to our research. The department has state of the art research facilities and provides support and training for our students through departmental workshops and the University&rsquos Research Enrichment Program.

Macquarie&rsquos researchers are world leaders in:

  • Climate change research
  • Conservation biology
  • Ecology
  • Animal behaviour
  • Evolutionary biology.

Our research was recognised as well-above world standard in the 2018 ARC Excellence in Research for Australia in the areas of:

  • Biological Sciences
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences.

Our researchers have won multiple awards including:

  • Eureka prize
  • The Fenner Medal
  • NSW Scientist of the Year
  • NSW Tall Poppy.

Within the department our research groups have strong collaborative links to other researchers within Macquarie University, particularly through MQ Centres for Green Cities, Biosecurity Futures, ARC ITTC for Fruit Fly Biosecurity Innovation and Species Spectrum, as well as through the NSW Adaptation Hub Biodiversity Node and to other universities and industries including government agencies and NGOs.

Our research strengths

Animal behaviour

Macquarie hosts the largest concentration of animal behaviour researchers in Australia.

Our research is integrated and transdisciplinary, addressing:

  • behavioural ecology
  • sociobiology
  • comparative neurobiology
  • performance physiology
  • behavioural genomics.

On campus, our Fauna Park and Ecology Reserve allow us to integrate lab, semi-lab and field studies. In addition, our researchers work at field sites across Australia and internationally.

Conservation biology

Our researchers are recognised nationally and internationally as leaders in conservation biology.

We are engaged with government and industry to achieve outstanding conservation outcomes, for example in threatened species management and climate change adaptation.

In addition, we have excellent facilities for terrestrial and aquatic conservation research that include:

  • land and water field vehicles
  • controlled environment chambers and glasshouses
  • a large herbarium
  • diverse isotope, sediment and geochemical analysis facilities.

Ecological research

Macquarie has a proud tradition of excellence in ecological research. In 2015 we scored the highest ranking, 5 out of 5, in the Australian Research Council&rsquos Evaluation of Research Activity for Ecology at Macquarie.

Distinguished Professor Mark Westoby was awarded New South Wales Scientist of the Year for his research in plant ecology. Our research in ecology spans the terrestrial, aquatic and marine environments and there are many close synergies between our research in ecology and conservation biology.

Evolutionary research

Our evolutionary studies consider evolution at multiple scales and levels of complexity. We address genomic and microbial evolution. We study adaptive changes in plant and animal traits in response to a changing world. We investigate evolution and adaptation across multiple taxa, and we have great strength in paleobiology research.

Our researchers videos

Learn how we examine complex questions from multiple perspectives and foster collaboration within the department and beyond through this series of short videos.

Our strong Higher Degree Research student community are vital contributors to our research.

Facilities

See our world-class, cutting edge facilities, equipment and learning environments.


46.1 Ecology of Ecosystems

By the end of this section, you will be able to do the following:

  • Describe the basic ecosystem types
  • Explain the methods that ecologists use to study ecosystem structure and dynamics
  • Identify the different methods of ecosystem modeling
  • Differentiate between food chains and food webs and recognize the importance of each

Life in an ecosystem is often about competition for limited resources, a characteristic of the theory of natural selection. Competition in communities (all living things within specific habitats) is observed both within species and among different species. The resources for which organisms compete include organic material, sunlight, and mineral nutrients, which provide the energy for living processes and the matter to make up organisms’ physical structures. Other critical factors influencing community dynamics are the components of its physical and geographic environment: a habitat’s latitude, amount of rainfall, topography (elevation), and available species. These are all important environmental variables that determine which organisms can exist within a particular area.

An ecosystem is a community of living organisms and their interactions with their abiotic (nonliving) environment. Ecosystems can be small, such as the tide pools found near the rocky shores of many oceans, or large, such as the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil (Figure 46.2).

There are three broad categories of ecosystems based on their general environment: freshwater, ocean water, and terrestrial. Within these broad categories are individual ecosystem types based on the organisms present and the type of environmental habitat.

Ocean ecosystems are the most common, comprising over 70 percent of the Earth's surface and consisting of three basic types: shallow ocean, deep ocean water, and deep ocean surfaces (the low depth areas of the deep oceans). The shallow ocean ecosystems include extremely biodiverse coral reef ecosystems, and the deep ocean surface is known for its large numbers of plankton and krill (small crustaceans) that support it. These two environments are especially important to aerobic respirators worldwide as the phytoplankton perform 40 percent of all photosynthesis on Earth. Although not as diverse as the other two, deep ocean ecosystems contain a wide variety of marine organisms. Such ecosystems exist even at the bottom of the ocean where light is unable to penetrate through the water.

Freshwater ecosystems are the rarest, occurring on only 1.8 percent of the Earth's surface. Lakes, rivers, streams, and springs comprise these systems. They are quite diverse, and they support a variety of fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects, phytoplankton, fungi, and bacteria.

Terrestrial ecosystems, also known for their diversity, are grouped into large categories called biomes, such as tropical rain forests, savannas, deserts, coniferous forests, deciduous forests, and tundra. Grouping these ecosystems into just a few biome categories obscures the great diversity of the individual ecosystems within them. For example, there is great variation in desert vegetation: the saguaro cacti and other plant life in the Sonoran Desert, in the United States, are relatively abundant compared to the desolate rocky desert of Boa Vista, an island off the coast of Western Africa (Figure 46.3).

Ecosystems are complex with many interacting parts. They are routinely exposed to various disturbances, or changes in the environment that effect their compositions: yearly variations in rainfall and temperature and the slower processes of plant growth, which may take several years. Many of these disturbances result from natural processes. For example, when lightning causes a forest fire and destroys part of a forest ecosystem, the ground is eventually populated by grasses, then by bushes and shrubs, and later by mature trees, restoring the forest to its former state. The impact of environmental disturbances caused by human activities is as important as the changes wrought by natural processes. Human agricultural practices, air pollution, acid rain, global deforestation, overfishing, eutrophication, oil spills, and waste dumping on land and into the ocean are all issues of concern to conservationists.

Equilibrium is the steady state of an ecosystem where all organisms are in balance with their environment and with each other. In ecology, two parameters are used to measure changes in ecosystems: resistance and resilience. Resistance is the ability of an ecosystem to remain at equilibrium in spite of disturbances. Resilience is the speed at which an ecosystem recovers equilibrium after being disturbed. Ecosystem resistance and resilience are especially important when considering human impact. The nature of an ecosystem may change to such a degree that it can lose its resilience entirely. This process can lead to the complete destruction or irreversible altering of the ecosystem.

Food Chains and Food Webs

The term “food chain” is sometimes used metaphorically to describe human social situations. Individuals who are considered successful are seen as being at the top of the food chain, consuming all others for their benefit, whereas the less successful are seen as being at the bottom.

The scientific understanding of a food chain is more precise than in its everyday usage. In ecology, a food chain is a linear sequence of organisms through which nutrients and energy pass: primary producers, primary consumers, and higher-level consumers are used to describe ecosystem structure and dynamics. There is a single path through the chain. Each organism in a food chain occupies what is called a trophic level . Depending on their role as producers or consumers, species or groups of species can be assigned to various trophic levels.

In many ecosystems, the bottom of the food chain consists of photosynthetic organisms (plants and/or phytoplankton), which are called primary producers . The organisms that consume the primary producers are herbivores: the primary consumers . Secondary consumers are usually carnivores that eat the primary consumers. Tertiary consumers are carnivores that eat other carnivores. Higher-level consumers feed on the next lower tropic levels, and so on, up to the organisms at the top of the food chain: the apex consumers . In the Lake Ontario food chain shown in Figure 46.4, the Chinook salmon is the apex consumer at the top of this food chain.

One major factor that limits the length of food chains is energy. Energy is lost as heat between each trophic level due to the second law of thermodynamics. Thus, after a limited number of trophic energy transfers, the amount of energy remaining in the food chain may not be great enough to support viable populations at yet a higher trophic level.

The loss of energy between trophic levels is illustrated by the pioneering studies of Howard T. Odum in the Silver Springs, Florida, ecosystem in the 1940s (Figure 46.5). The primary producers generated 20,819 kcal/m 2 /yr (kilocalories per square meter per year), the primary consumers generated 3368 kcal/m 2 /yr, the secondary consumers generated 383 kcal/m 2 /yr, and the tertiary consumers only generated 21 kcal/m 2 /yr. Thus, there is little energy remaining for another level of consumers in this ecosystem.

There is a one problem when using food chains to accurately describe most ecosystems. Even when all organisms are grouped into appropriate trophic levels, some of these organisms can feed on species from more than one trophic level likewise, some of these organisms can be eaten by species from multiple trophic levels. In other words, the linear model of ecosystems, the food chain, is not completely descriptive of ecosystem structure. A holistic model—which accounts for all the interactions between different species and their complex interconnected relationships with each other and with the environment—is a more accurate and descriptive model for ecosystems. A food web is a graphic representation of a holistic, nonlinear web of primary producers, primary consumers, and higher-level consumers used to describe ecosystem structure and dynamics (Figure 46.6).

A comparison of the two types of structural ecosystem models shows strength in both. Food chains are more flexible for analytical modeling, are easier to follow, and are easier to experiment with, whereas food web models more accurately represent ecosystem structure and dynamics, and data can be directly used as input for simulation modeling.

Link to Learning

Head to this online interactive simulator to investigate food web function. In the Interactive Labs box, under Food Web, click Step 1. Read the instructions first, and then click Step 2 for additional instructions. When you are ready to create a simulation, in the upper-right corner of the Interactive Labs box, click OPEN SIMULATOR.

Two general types of food webs are often shown interacting within a single ecosystem. A grazing food web (such as the Lake Ontario food web in Figure 46.6) has plants or other photosynthetic organisms at its base, followed by herbivores and various carnivores. A detrital food web consists of a base of organisms that feed on decaying organic matter (dead organisms), called decomposers or detritivores. These organisms are usually bacteria or fungi that recycle organic material back into the biotic part of the ecosystem as they themselves are consumed by other organisms. As all ecosystems require a method to recycle material from dead organisms, most grazing food webs have an associated detrital food web. For example, in a meadow ecosystem, plants may support a grazing food web of different organisms, primary and other levels of consumers, while at the same time supporting a detrital food web of bacteria, fungi, and detrivorous invertebrates feeding off dead plants and animals.

Evolution Connection

Three-spined Stickleback

It is well established by the theory of natural selection that changes in the environment play a major role in the evolution of species within an ecosystem. However, little is known about how the evolution of species within an ecosystem can alter the ecosystem environment. In 2009, Dr. Luke Harmon, from the University of Idaho, published a paper that for the first time showed that the evolution of organisms into subspecies can have direct effects on their ecosystem environment. 1

The three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) is a freshwater fish that evolved from a saltwater fish to live in freshwater lakes about 10,000 years ago, which is considered a recent development in evolutionary time (Figure 46.7). Over the last 10,000 years, these freshwater fish then became isolated from each other in different lakes. Depending on which lake population was studied, findings showed that these sticklebacks then either remained as one species or evolved into two species. The divergence of species was made possible by their use of different areas of the pond for feeding called micro niches.

Dr. Harmon and his team created artificial pond microcosms in 250-gallon tanks and added muck from freshwater ponds as a source of zooplankton and other invertebrates to sustain the fish. In different experimental tanks they introduced one species of stickleback from either a single-species or double-species lake.

Over time, the team observed that some of the tanks bloomed with algae while others did not. This puzzled the scientists, and they decided to measure the water's dissolved organic carbon (DOC), which consists of mostly large molecules of decaying organic matter that give pond-water its slightly brownish color. It turned out that the water from the tanks with two-species fish contained larger particles of DOC (and hence darker water) than water with single-species fish. This increase in DOC blocked the sunlight and prevented algal blooming. Conversely, the water from the single-species tank contained smaller DOC particles, allowing more sunlight penetration to fuel the algal blooms.

This change in the environment, which is due to the different feeding habits of the stickleback species in each lake type, probably has a great impact on the survival of other species in these ecosystems, especially other photosynthetic organisms. Thus, the study shows that, at least in these ecosystems, the environment and the evolution of populations have reciprocal effects that may now be factored into simulation models.

Research into Ecosystem Dynamics: Ecosystem Experimentation and Modeling

The study of the changes in ecosystem structure caused by changes in the environment (disturbances) or by internal forces is called ecosystem dynamics . Ecosystems are characterized using a variety of research methodologies. Some ecologists study ecosystems using controlled experimental systems, while some study entire ecosystems in their natural state, and others use both approaches.

A holistic ecosystem model attempts to quantify the composition, interaction, and dynamics of entire ecosystems it is the most representative of the ecosystem in its natural state. A food web is an example of a holistic ecosystem model. However, this type of study is limited by time and expense, as well as the fact that it is neither feasible nor ethical to do experiments on large natural ecosystems. It is difficult to quantify all different species in an ecosystem and the dynamics in their habitat, especially when studying large habitats such as the Amazon Rainforest.

For these reasons, scientists study ecosystems under more controlled conditions. Experimental systems usually involve either partitioning a part of a natural ecosystem that can be used for experiments, termed a mesocosm , or by recreating an ecosystem entirely in an indoor or outdoor laboratory environment, which is referred to as a microcosm . A major limitation to these approaches is that removing individual organisms from their natural ecosystem or altering a natural ecosystem through partitioning may change the dynamics of the ecosystem. These changes are often due to differences in species numbers and diversity and also to environment alterations caused by partitioning (mesocosm) or recreating (microcosm) the natural habitat. Thus, these types of experiments are not totally predictive of changes that would occur in the ecosystem from which they were gathered.

As both of these approaches have their limitations, some ecologists suggest that results from these experimental systems should be used only in conjunction with holistic ecosystem studies to obtain the most representative data about ecosystem structure, function, and dynamics.

Scientists use the data generated by these experimental studies to develop ecosystem models that demonstrate the structure and dynamics of ecosystems. They use three basic types of ecosystem modeling in research and ecosystem management: a conceptual model, an analytical model, and a simulation model. A conceptual model is an ecosystem model that consists of flow charts to show interactions of different compartments of the living and nonliving components of the ecosystem. A conceptual model describes ecosystem structure and dynamics and shows how environmental disturbances affect the ecosystem however, its ability to predict the effects of these disturbances is limited. Analytical and simulation models, in contrast, are mathematical methods of describing ecosystems that are indeed capable of predicting the effects of potential environmental changes without direct experimentation, although with some limitations as to accuracy. An analytical model is an ecosystem model that is created using simple mathematical formulas to predict the effects of environmental disturbances on ecosystem structure and dynamics. A simulation model is an ecosystem model that is created using complex computer algorithms to holistically model ecosystems and to predict the effects of environmental disturbances on ecosystem structure and dynamics. Ideally, these models are accurate enough to determine which components of the ecosystem are particularly sensitive to disturbances, and they can serve as a guide to ecosystem managers (such as conservation ecologists or fisheries biologists) in the practical maintenance of ecosystem health.

Conceptual Models

Conceptual models are useful for describing ecosystem structure and dynamics and for demonstrating the relationships between different organisms in a community and their environment. Conceptual models are usually depicted graphically as flow charts. The organisms and their resources are grouped into specific compartments with arrows showing the relationship and transfer of energy or nutrients between them. Thus, these diagrams are sometimes called compartment models.

To model the cycling of mineral nutrients, organic and inorganic nutrients are subdivided into those that are bioavailable (ready to be incorporated into biological macromolecules) and those that are not. For example, in a terrestrial ecosystem near a deposit of coal, carbon will be available to the plants of this ecosystem as carbon dioxide gas in a short-term period, not from the carbon-rich coal itself. However, over a longer period, microorganisms capable of digesting coal will incorporate its carbon or release it as natural gas (methane, CH4), changing this unavailable organic source into an available one. This conversion is greatly accelerated by the combustion of fossil fuels by humans, which releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is thought to be a major factor in the rise of the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in the industrial age. The carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels is produced faster than photosynthetic organisms can use it. This process is intensified by the reduction of photosynthetic trees because of worldwide deforestation. Most scientists agree that high atmospheric carbon dioxide is a major cause of global climate change.

Conceptual models are also used to show the flow of energy through particular ecosystems. Figure 46.8 is based on Howard T. Odum’s classical study of the Silver Springs, Florida, holistic ecosystem in the mid-twentieth century. 2 This study shows the energy content and transfer between various ecosystem compartments.

Visual Connection

Why do you think the value for gross productivity of the primary producers is the same as the value for total heat and respiration (20,810 kcal/m 2 /yr)?

Analytical and Simulation Models

The major limitation of conceptual models is their inability to predict the consequences of changes in ecosystem species and/or environment. Ecosystems are dynamic entities and subject to a variety of abiotic and biotic disturbances caused by natural forces and/or human activity. Ecosystems altered from their initial equilibrium state can often recover from such disturbances and return to a state of equilibrium. As most ecosystems are subject to periodic disturbances and are often in a state of change, they are usually either moving toward or away from their equilibrium state. There are many of these equilibrium states among the various components of an ecosystem, which affects the ecosystem overall. Furthermore, as humans have the ability to greatly and rapidly alter the species content and habitat of an ecosystem, the need for predictive models that enable understanding of how ecosystems respond to these changes becomes more crucial.

Analytical models often use simple, linear components of ecosystems, such as food chains, and are known to be complex mathematically therefore, they require a significant amount of mathematical knowledge and expertise. Although analytical models have great potential, their simplification of complex ecosystems is thought to limit their accuracy. Simulation models that use computer programs are better able to deal with the complexities of ecosystem structure.

A recent development in simulation modeling uses supercomputers to create and run individual-based simulations, which accounts for the behavior of individual organisms and their effects on the ecosystem as a whole. These simulations are considered to be the most accurate and predictive of the complex responses of ecosystems to disturbances.

Link to Learning

Visit The Darwin Project to view a variety of ecosystem models, including simulations that model predator-prey relationships to learn more.


Ecological Levels

There are three main levels of study in ecology:

1. Organism

At the organism level, scientists examine how an individual interacts with the biotic and abiotic elements in his environment.

2. Population

This gets expanded to the population level which looks at interactions of a group of individuals of the same species. It includes both how individuals interact with one another within the population and how the population as a whole interacts with its environment.

3. Community

The community includes all of the species within the environment. Community studies tend to focus more on how energy, nutrients, and resources, pass through an environment.


Biology Research Proposal: Guidelines and Examples


This article will give you the guidelines on how to write a good research proposal. Furthermore, if you lack idea's for writing a research proposal in the field of Biology/Life science, you will find many idea's in this article which you can use to write a project proposal of your own.

Writing a good research proposal is part and parcel in the life of an academician, student, scientist. You may need to write research proposals for PhD applications, for scholarships, for post-doctoral fellowships, as well as for getting grants and funding.

Guidelines

You may be very intelligent and have an excellent idea but to convince others about your idea, you need to present it excellently. First of all of you need to plan out every detail of your idea, so that you can predict timeline, requirements and most importantly what all you can infer from your data. Secondly you need to write it out in such a manner that you convince the pioneers of your field that your idea is excellent and it should definitely be translated into actual research.

While in some cases the format and word limit of the proposals is mentioned, in other cases you have to write according to your own judgement. The format of a research proposal should include the following basics.

1. Title: The title should be precise and unassuming. Do not write – 'To develop cure for cancer' if in actually you want to check metastatic properties of X compound. A proposal is the not place where you want to make an interesting title that doesn't speak sufficiently about the project. Don't write – 'How do lysosomes eat?' if your project is about pathways involved in degradation inside lysosomes. Be scientific. Don't make the title too lengthy such that it is difficult to understand.

2. Abstract / Summary: In most cases the person reviewing your proposal will decide to read the entire proposal only on the basis of your abstract. So your abstract should be succinct and catchy at the same time. Ideally don't let it exceed 250 words. Avoid excess of technical details in the abstract and emphasize more on the idea and its significance.

3. Significance: Write exactly why is your idea so important. What are the reasons that such research should definitely be carried out. What is the benefit from the research going to be?

4. Objectives/ Aims: Write down the different objectives and aims that are included in your project. It is preferable to break down your project into sections and give each of them a heading – these can act as your objectives/aims.

5. Background / Literature review: Here in put in all the data that has led to the idea. Give proper references for all of the information. Make sure that it flows in logical order and it is possible to connect the statements to each other. If possible divide the background into subheadings all of which reflect the individual objectives. Subheadings can also be made according to any other suitable factors. The background should only include what is relevant for your project and not excess details – e.g. you want to characterize expression level using RT-PCR. So don't start with history of RT-PCR etc., just give a few examples(along with references) wherein RT-PCR has been used for the same purpose.

6. Methodology: This is where you finally explain how you intend to go about your work. The level of detail depends upon the requirements of the reviewer. Usually for grants high level of detail is required in this step. Explain the methodology of each objective in explicit detail. Any references used in section should be properly mentioned. It is also advisable to include a timeline in this section. The timeline should show how much time will be required for each step (e.g. 1st objective – 6months, 2nd objective – 2 years etc.). It is ideal to include a flow chart that illustrates your methodology as well as timeline.
Herein you should also include the expected results as well as what interpretations can be made from those results. Furthermore, you need to add what you would do next if you achieve those results – whatever they might be.

7. References: Make a list of all the references used in the proposal. They should be in any one of the standard formats such as APA or Harvard Style referencing. They can be ordered either alphabetically or according to order in which they appear in the proposal. There shouldn't be difference in font or format in the entire reference list. The references should not include general websites such as Wikipedia or blogs, they can include books and journal articles.
Your proposal should be easy read. Highlight all the important points so that a person skimming through it is also able to get the complete gist. Always maintain flow of thought while writing. Double check your work for grammatical errors and typos as they leave a very bad impression on the reviewer. Make sure that any figures, tables or flow charts included in the proposal are properly labelled.


Watch the video: Levels of Organization in Ecology (January 2022).