Biology Curriculum

A senior research project is required of students in the major. Each academic experience builds toward your senior project, which is a research or a creative project in your major or area of concentration. It’s required for graduation, and our students tell us while it’s demanding, it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives.

Here’s a list of recent course offerings in Biology:

General Biology: The Vertebrates
An introduction to the form and function of vertebrate organ systems. A survey of vertebrate solutions to the basic problems of life will be conducted. Characteristic adaptations to the demands of aquatic, terrestrial, and aerial environments will be studied and representatives of the vertebrate classes will be selected for discussion. Enrollment limited to 30 students.

General Biology in a Cultural Context
Why are different spices favored in various regions of the world? How is the study of soy sauce, dawadawa and sauerkraut integral to understanding fermentation? When did the “rules” of genetic inheritance become established? The study of biological processes at the cellular and subcellular levels can reveal some of the subtleties of living systems that shape how an organism interacts with its surroundings. Traditional topics such as cell structure, classical and molecular genetics, and cellular metabolism will be explored. We will examine biology as a way of knowing about life processes through using studies from different cultures. There will be an emphasis on group work and self-directed study. In-class experiments and observations, online discussion sessions, and digital portfolios will augment understanding of major concepts. This class is suitable for anyone interested in learning about the unity and diversity of living systems. Those interested in gender studies can focus projects in this area. Lab fee required.

General Biology: From Molecules to Organism
In this introductory course, we will investigate the mechanisms by which organisms are formed from macromolecules. Topics to be covered include biological molecules, cellular structure and function, the flow of genetic information in cells, cellular communication and organization into tissues, fertilization, and the embryonic development of plants and animals. Several major bodily systems will also be covered. Examples include circulatory, urinary, and digestive systems in humans and xylem and phloem in plants. Most reading assignments will be taken from a required text. However, we will also explore such controversial issues as gene therapy, human cloning and genetically modified organisms, which are prevalent in both the scientific literature and the popular press. Student presentations will be required. Lab fee required.

Current Issues in Human Genetics
Genetics issues are becoming a large part of everyday life. We will use ideas such as cloning, gene therapy, bioengineering, and prenatal screening to frame discussions of general genetics concepts. This class has no prerequisites except interest. It is designed as an interdisciplinary course where no particular science background is assumed. Those interested in gender studies can focus projects in this area. Enrollment limited to 20.

Science of Science Fiction
Scientists as well as people who have been trained in the sciences write speculative fiction. Sometimes, writers with little science background imagine a future filled with practical inventions. We will use science fiction writings and films to explore some of the ideas that were first developed in the laboratory of the mind and have come to be commonplace in our world. While our focus will be on biology, exploring such issues as cloning, genetically modified foods and cybernetics, we will also examine ideas such as miniaturization (nanotechnology) and liquid metals. This course is open to anyone with an open mind and an interest in science.

Women and Science
There are two components to this course. First we will examine the roles of women in contributing to science and technology. This will include an understanding of how women participate in the scientific community as well as major contributions by women. Second, we will explore how science has influenced the lives of women. This will open obvious areas of discourse such as reproductive technologies, medicine, and time-saving devices as well as more subtle influences such as the internet and energy technologies. The course is open to all with an interest in science.

 Introduction to Botany
An introduction to the biology of plants, including cells, energy and biomass production, biochemical and physiological systems, in vivo structure, reproduction, diversity and ecology will be taught. Similarities between single celled photosynthetic organisms and multi-cellular vascular plants will be explored. Students are expected to successfully complete quizzes, a mid-term, a final, and write a research paper on an approved plant Topic. Limit 40 students

Introduction to Botany Laboratory
Laboratories will consist of plant dissections, external morphology, identification, drawings, field trips, and field collections. Morphological structure will be taught so that dichotomous keys can be used to properly identify collected specimens. Field trips will also focus on plant-plant, plant-insect, and plant-vertebrate interactions with special attention to plants in sensitive areas. Speakers and local experts in plant communities, wetlands, and/or threatened eco-systems may guest lecture some trips. Laboratory evaluations will include, but is not limited to, the successful identification of 50 plant genera for inclusion in an herbarium, either pressed or photographed. Students are expected to successfully complete a mid-term exam and submit an herbarium as a final project. Limit 15 students/section. Lab Fee Required.

Introduction to Plant Ecology – An Environmental Approach
Plants “rule the world” as the basis of all life on Earth. In this class, we will examine the important theories that represent the backbone of all ecosystems through the perspective of plants - competition, interactions, symbiosis, succession, regeneration, invasive species, diversity, evolution, and relatively recent human applications such as ethnobotany, agriculture, and genetic breeding. Students will read primary literature from scientific journals, and we will discuss their major findings as well as assess the sampling designs of eminent plant ecologists. Although this is a lecture discussion class, there will be several laboratory field trips to introduce sampling techniques in plant ecology. The course will culminate with a biodiversity blitz, whereby students will survey a local ecosystem with respect to all its structure, function, and biodiversity. Students will design a sampling regime, conduct surveys and write up their results. Assessment will also include one exam and several short papers. This course satisfies the requirement for introductory environmental studies as well as introductory ecology.

Introduction to Entomology
An introductory course designed for the beginning insect enthusiast who is interested in the uniqueness and/or the beauty of the world’s most abundant animal. Students will learn evolutionary and external morphology, general physiology, behavior, habits, and habitats, social interactions with man and other animals, sequestration by plants, and more. Students will also study insects in structural and agricultural ecosystems with an ecological focus. Students are expected to successfully complete quizzes, a mid-term, a final, give a 10 minute insect related in-class presentation, and to write a research report on an approved insect topic. Enrollment limited to 30 students.

Introduction to Entomology Laboratory
The laboratory will focus on insect, their habitats, life cycles, and immature forms. Morphology will be taught so that students can use dichotomous keys for proper identification. Local field trips will be conducted with the expectation that each student will attend. An insect collection is required. You may submit digital images of your properly identified specimen, live specimen or pinned and properly labeled ones. If live specimens are submitted, they must be released in the habitat where they were found. Enrollment limited to 15 students. Lab Fee Required.

Introduction to Oceanography
We will examine physical, chemical, biological and geological phenomena of the oceans, emphasizing events in the tropics. More than 85% of all Americans live within 50 miles of a coastline (including major lakes). Though mountain climbers aspire to climb Mt. Everest on land, many people walk the peaks of the highest mountain on Earth, Hawaii (33,476 feet high from base on the ocean floor to tallest rise above sea-level), every day without notice. Students will be expected to participate in group projects and to engage in active learning. Some in-class experiments and field trips will enhance the lecture course. Those interested in a gender studies focus are welcome. Science background is not required.
Enrollment limited to 25.

Coral Reef Ecology
This course is a survey of the principles and concepts of ecology as applied to the study of coral reef ecosystems. Unique features of coral reefs will be considered as well as features in common with other ecosystems. The role of coral reefs in global ecology will be investigated and examples of reefs in the major reef provinces will be studied, with some emphasis on the Caribbean. Theoretical issues in ecology will be considered in light of impacts on reef dynamics of anthropogenic and natural factors. This course also includes an opportunity for students to participate in a field lab in Bocas del Toro, Panama during the summer. Enrollment limited to 30 students.

An Introduction to Aquarium Science: Its History and Methods
This lecture course will cover the history of study of aquatic organisms in the “captive” environment. It will detail methodologies for maintaining marine and freshwater organisms and ecosystems for observation and experimental studies. A survey of commonly maintained species and their classifications and general biology will be included. Note, some class days will be devoted to field collecting or trips to local aquaria; lectures missed on those days will be made up in the next class, i.e. two lectures will be given with less laboratory time. Enrollment limited to 16 students. Preference will be given to students carrying out or planning research on captive aquatic organisms. Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Laboratory Experience in Aquatic Biology and Aquarium Science and College level general biology or consent of instructor.

Laboratory Experience in Aquatic Biology and Aquarium Science
This laboratory course will feature collecting and identification of aquatic life in local habitats. Students will set up, maintain and monitor organisms in marine or freshwater aquaria. Field trips to local public aquariums will be arranged. Films and videotapes will be used to “visit” other aquariums and underwater habitats. Techniques for behavioral observation and underwater photography and videography will be discussed and students will carry out mini-projects on the ecology or behavior of selected aquatic organisms/ecosystems. With permission, students may assist staff in the maintenance and study of organisms in the larger aquariums of the LETRA (Living Ecosystems Teaching and Research Aquarium). Note, some class days will be devoted to field collecting or trips to local aquaria; lectures missed on those days will be made up in the next class, i.e. two lectures will be given with less laboratory time. Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in An Introduction to Aquarium Science and college level general biology or consent of instructor. Enrollment limited to 16 students.

Invertebrate Zoology: Phylogeny, Form and Function
This course will emphasize the ecology, structure and physiology of invertebrates, the largest assemblage of animals on earth. Systematics will be covered in the context of phylogenetic relationships of taxa. Representative invertebrates will be collected from Sarasota Bay and other local habitats for classroom/laboratory study. General Biology would be helpful but is not required. Laboratory fee is required. Limited to 20 students due to classroom/lab constraints.

Introduction to Genetics
Genetics is a comprehensive course encompassing classical Mendelian hypotheses, biochemical genetics, cytoplasmic heredity, population applications and new concepts in DNA technology. We will explore these areas using simulations, small observational experiments in class in addition to interactive lectures. Active learning is required, so students must be prepared to work with others and to engage material with curiosity. We will be using an electronic portfolio format in the class for shared projects and discussions. Prerequisite: College level General Biology or permission of instructor.

Genetics laboratory
The genetics lab is a full term endeavor. It is divided into two parts emphasizing the major areas of genetic experimentation. THESE PARTS ARE SHOWN BELOW. Lab fee required for each module.

Genetics Laboratory Part I - Classical Genetics Techniques Laboratory
Part One (Module 1)

Goals are to acquaint the student with laboratory instruments, to instill lab safety and to begin building lab poise. Experiments will center around classical Mendelian genetics. Thus, little knowledge of chemistry is required to complete this course successfully. Although knowledge of genetics would be beneficial, formal courses in the subject are not required. Prerequisites: General Biology or instructor permission. Class enrollment limited to 18 owing to laboratory space and safety.

Genetics Laboratory Part II - Fundamentals of Applied Genetics
Part Two (Module 2)

Laboratory skills gained in the Module 1 Lab will be extended and amplified in this course. Students will be required to do a series of experiments using a variety of organisms. Development of micro techniques in this course is essential. Owing to the nature of the course, students may have to spend time in the lab outside of assigned class time. Prerequisites: Classical Genetics Techniques, Introductory Genetics. Class enrollment limited to 18 owing to laboratory space and safety requirements.

Cell Biology Lecture
This course will focus on the structure and function of eukaryotic cells. Topics will include bioenergetics, the structure and function of membranes, organelles and the cytoskeleton, cellular metabolism, macromolecular transport and cellular organization, the cell cycle, cell signaling, and the extracellular matrix. The cellular bases of diseases and of extracellular signal perception will be emphasized. Student presentations will be required. Prerequisites: College level introductory biology or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 35 students.

Cell Biology Laboratory
This laboratory course is designed to compliment the Cell Biology Lecture course. Students will develop laboratory technique and data analysis skills while learning several different approaches used to study cells. Some independent inquiry will be required. Such cell biological techniques as microscopy (various types), tissue preparation for microscopy, sub cellular separation, protein and nucleic acid extraction, gel electrophoresis, immunoblotting, and real time RT-PCR will be emphasized. Co-requisite or prerequisite: Cell Biology Lecture. Enrollment limited to 14 students. Lab fee required.

Fish Biology Laboratory
Students will identify specimens of most major groups of fishes using frozen material from museum collections, fishes collected by the class, and live fish in aquarium displays. Emphasis will be on local freshwater, estuarine and marine animals. A comparative approach will be emphasized. Observation of the behavior of live animals will be carried out in the laboratory including the larger aquariums of the LETRA (Living Ecosystems Teaching and Research Aquarium). Note, some class days will be devoted to field collecting or trips to local aquaria; lectures missed on those days will be made up in the next class, i.e. two lectures will be given with less laboratory time. Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Fish Biology Lecture or consent of the instructor. Highest priority for enrollment will be given to students doing independent study or thesis research on fishes or ecosystems involving fishes. Enrollment limited to 16 students. Lab Fee Required.

Fish Biology Lecture
This course will cover in some detail the major features of modern fish biology, including a synthesis of material from “classical” ichthyology, fishery science, fish physiology including behavioral biology, and certain aspects of limnology and marine biology. The history of fishes will be covered in an evolutionary context. This will include all major fish groups. Discussion will stress adaptive features, which permit survival in diverse aquatic environments. Functional systems for: reproduction and development, feeding and growth, locomotion, sensory perception, cardiovascular and endocrine control, osmoregulation, territoriality, migration, behavioral ecology, genetics and conservation biology, will be considered in some detail. Note, some class days will be devoted to field collecting or trips to local aquaria; lectures missed on those days will be made up in the next class, i.e. two lectures will be given with less laboratory time. Prerequisite: General Biology, concurrent enrollment in Fish Biology Laboratory or consent of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 16 students.

General Toxicology
General Toxicology is an interdisciplinary course designed for the student interested in broadening his/her experience into the sciences of toxins (poisons) and their influences on biological systems and the environment. Course content will cover the history of the science, toxicant type (poisons, pesticides, solvents, oils, estrogen, estrogen mimics, triclosan, carcinogens, teratogens, natural toxins and other pollutants), adsorption, distribution, metabolism, biological elimination, sequestration, and remediation. Prerequisites: Organic chemistry, biochemistry and/or cell biology, entomology, or botany. Students not meeting the above criteria should meet with the instructor to discuss experiences/interests so that permission to attend the class can be determined.

Animal Behavior Lecture
Analysis of behavior integrating the concepts of levels of behavioral organization and the developmental history of behavior. The adaptive significance of behavior and its evolution in a variety of vertebrate and invertebrate animals will be considered. Social behavioral mechanisms will also be considered at selected levels of psychological complexity. Concepts and theories of behavioral ecology and the interface between behavior and ecology will be critically analyzed. The developing field of cognitive ethology and animal cognition will be reviewed and discussed. The overall approach of the course will be to contrast and compare formulations of ethology and comparative psychology with regard to their influences on methodology and the types of hypotheses generated by each viewpoint. Prerequisite: General Biology and preferably also Organismic Biology. Enrollment limited to 30 students.

Animal Behavior Laboratory
Experimental techniques of behavioral analysis in laboratory and field will be introduced. Students will become familiar with the techniques of behavioral observation in the field in the ethological tradition. They will learn how to construct an ethogram, design a field study, analyze data and write a research article. Instrumental conditioning will be covered in the laboratory using the shuttle-box avoidance paradigm. A Coulbourn Instruments computerized stimulus presentation and data analysis system is available for use with fish as experimental subjects and other taxa as well. Students will be required to prepare grant proposals for independent projects that will be carried out during the second module.
Enrollment limited to 14 students. Lab fee required.

Organismic Biology Lecture
An advanced course considering the biology of chordates. The origin and evolution of the protochordate phyla will be discussed as well as the phylogeny of the vertebrates. Principles of systematics will be applied to the study of the evolution of each vertebrate class. The anatomy, physiology, development, ecology and behavioral adaptations representing the diversity within each will be analyzed. Prerequisite: General Biology. Enrollment limited to 30 students.

Organismic Biology Laboratory
The morphological and functional analysis of chordate adaptations. Protochordate feeding ecology will be experimentally analyzed. Variations on the basic vertebrate plan will be studied as represented in select members of each class of vertebrates. Character states will be determined by means of dissection and histological techniques. Functional properties of selected organ systems will be analyzed with electro physiological techniques. Laboratory fee required. Enrollment Limited to 16 students.

Conservation Biology – Climate Change
Natural ecosystems provide important, yet complex, services to the planet Earth, yet we are only just beginning to understand the links between human populations and their dependence on the natural world. In this course, we will focus on both economic and biological aspects of conservation including issues such as exotic species, carbon sequestration, global climate change, pesticides, and the politics of rain forest pharmaceuticals. The course will begin with the history of conservation and end with current issues surrounding climate change, both science and politics. Extensive readings will be required, ranging from The IPCC Report to One World – the Ethics of Globalization by Peter Singer. Students will analyze case studies at three levels: local, national, and international. The course will be assessed via three activities: 1. Field excursions with written reports and class discussion from these field trips; SPARKS or lively class debates on current events illustrating conservation principles; and one research paper.

SOS – Student Outreach in Science
This environmental studies tutorial links New College students to community school classrooms to promote science for middle-schoolers. Participants in this course will create lectures relating to hands-on natural science about different topics to several area schools including Pine View, Sarasota Military Academy, Ashton Middle, and Booker as well as Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc. and the local science museum, G WIZ. Others can be added as the program grows. Students will also create hands-on interpretive field units to teach nature walks on Saturday mornings in natural areas owned by Sarasota County aimed to provide outdoor, family-friendly science outreach to the entire community. Assessment will be based on the creation of classroom and field units including PowerPoint and hands-on activities for middle schoolers, grant writing, participation in a variety of different schools and classrooms, and the ability to work together as a team of educators in our community.

STRESS – Senior Thesis Research for Environmental Studies Students
This seminar is limited to students majoring in environmental studies during the semester before thesis-writing (who are not taking any other divisional tutorial), and requires advance permission of the instructor. The course has two components -- a reading/discussion section, and a skill-set section. Students will learn important realworld skills for environmental leadership including grant-writing, public communication of science, writing for the media, and independent research (through the thesis process). Students will be expected to work independently, read current events in environmental issues, and produce several written and oral assignments including a grant, a public presentation, a newspaper article, and a PowerPoint presentation, all leading to a final thesis. A wide range of environmental readings will comprise a second component of the course, ranging from The Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold to The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Students will discuss different literature and historical events through readings in the environmental literature, and write several small papers relating to these readings. Although this course is aimed at Environmental Studies majors, it is also open to other students who wish to analyze some key environmental issues. Brief quizzes will ensure everyone is prepared to discuss each week’s material. Studies programs and participate in several field trips relating to community environmental issues. Requires permission of instructor.

The Role of Women in Natural History
This course will examine famous women in natural history as writers, illustrators and explorers. The class will focus on literature and primary sources, including such important figures as Rachel Carson, Lucy Audubon, Lynn Margulis, Barbara Kingsolver, Mardy Murie, Harriet Tubman, Diane Ackerman, Annie Dillard, and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. The class will include lively discussion and analysis of the contributions of these women to natural science, and two field trips to sites in Florida that honor women in natural history. All students will engage in nature-journaling as part of the course requirements, critique and edit, and develop his/her own style of natural history writing. In addition, students will develop a unit on some aspect of nature writing or natural history to present at local schools as an important component of Environmental Studies outreach for New College. Preference is given to students who are concentrating on environmental studies, or who have taken some biology courses. Seminar course limited to 10 students.

Neurobiology Laboratory
An experimental analysis of the physiology of neural and sensory systems. Electro physiological stimulation and recording techniques will be utilized to study the operating characteristics of selected model preparations. A PowerLab system is available for online recordings, display and processing of neural signals. Each student will be expected to learn to operate the equipment and carry out individual projects. Prerequisites: General Biology and consent of instructor. Limited to 16 students. Laboratory fee required.

Neurobiology Lecture
An advanced course dealing with the general features of nervous systems and the principles of neural organization educed from a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate model preparations. The neural substrate of various behavioral adaptations will be considered as well as the role of sensory mechanisms in these adaptations. A detailed analysis of the adequate stimuli, transduction, coding and transmission characteristics of various sensory systems will be carried out. Prerequisite: General Biology and consent of instructor. Enrollment limited to 30 students.

Advanced Ecology – Forest Canopies
This course will build on the issues from Introductory Plant Ecology, where students learned the components of an ecosystem, nutrient cycling and other processes in ecosystems, the role of plants as the basis of all life, current environmental issues relating to plant structure and function, and spatial and temporal factors that contribute to diversity of ecosystems. Using local ecosystems as a case study, we will delve into extensive detail about the evolution, structure, physiology, components, and processes of forest canopies. Each student will become an expert in the primary literature of one aspect of forest canopies, ranging from birds to herbivory to nutrient cycling to fossil interpretations of forest canopies. Students will also undertake a semester-long field ecology project at Carlton Reserve, with appropriate experimental design, hypothesis, data collection, and research paper. . Several field trips to local forest canopies will be required, including methods of canopy access. Prerequisites: Introduction to Plant Ecology and permission of instructor. Class limited to 10 students.

Advanced Toxicology
Advanced Toxicology is a course designed for the toxicology student interested in broadening his/her experience into the sciences of toxins (poisons) and their influences on biological systems and the environment. Course content will cover specific toxicant types (poisons, pesticides, solvents, oils, estrogen, estrogen mimics, triclosan, carcinogens, teratogens, natural toxins and pollutants), adsorption, distribution, metabolism, biological elimination, sequestration, and remediation. Lectures will cover mammalian systems with emphasis on target organs, detoxification and adverse effects. Methods to extract toxicants from soil, water, air, and plant material will be discussed from journal articles, EPA published methods, and methods developed in our labs. Pesticide toxicity and organ effects will be demonstrated in invertebrate systems focusing on routes of entry, solubility, sequestration, elimination, and detoxification. Prerequisites: General Toxicology is required to participate in this class.

Advanced Toxicology Laboratory
Advanced Toxicology Laboratory is a companion course for the advanced toxicology student. It will explore classroom lectures and discussion into an active demonstration in the laboratory. Students will learn the principles of chromatography, NMR, extraction (macro and micro), metabolite formation, conjugation, and identification. Methods to extract toxicants from soil, water, air, and plant material will be covered from journal articles, EPA published methods, and methods developed in our labs. Pesticide toxicity and organ effects will be demonstrated in invertebrate systems focusing on routes of entry, solubility, sequestration, elimination, and detoxification. Prerequisites: General Toxicology is required to participate in this class. Students not meeting the above criteria will not be allowed to participate.

Developmental Biology
Developmental Biology is a logical follow-up to the Cellular Biology course, since we will examine the roles of gene expression regulation and cell signaling, division and movements in animal development. The major topics to be covered include gametogenesis, fertilization, cleavage, axis determination, gastrulation, organogenesis, pattern formation, and limb formation. In addition, two hands-on live demonstrations of developmental processes will be conducted. Student presentations will be required. Prerequisite: Cellular Biology Lecture

Insect-Plant Interactions
This course was designed for the student who has some prior knowledge of insect behavior and/or plant evolution. Insects and plants have co-evolved to form unique relationships. Some relationships are mutually beneficial while others are destructive. Plants also attract insects to increase their own survival through pollination, seed dispersion or the consumption of insects as food. The history of these interactions, their geographic distribution, host plant selections, including feeding and oviposition will be studied. Students are expected to conduct library and web literature searches and to prepare 4 short reports (two of which will be inclass presentations) on specific insect-plant relationships during the course and to complete 2 take-home exams. Prerequisite: Into to Botany, Entomology, or similar course that must be approved by instructor. Enrollment limited to 20.

Neurobiology and Behavior of Marine Animals Laboratory
“Hands-on” exercises to compliment the lectures and discussions in the Neurobiology and Behavior of Marine Animals Lecture. Nervous and sensory systems in a variety of invertebrates and cold-blooded vertebrates will be studied by dissection and study of special microscope preparations. Working in small groups students will also explore the affects of neural lesions and electrical stimulation on the behavior of selected invertebrates and fishes. Students will be expected to provide documentation of the results of the lab studies. Prerequisite: Completion or concurrent enrollment in Neurobiology and Behavior of Marine Animals Lecture or consent of instructor. Enrollment limited to 12. Lab fee required.

Neurobiology and Behavior of Marine Animals Lecture
This course will survey neural and hormonal systems that mediate behavior in a variety of marine animals. The evolution of control systems for adaptive behaviors will be stressed. Phylogenetic as well as levels of organization approaches to understanding brain-behavior systems will be considered. Topics include: integration in nerve nets of jellyfish and hydroids; primitive bilateral control in flatworms; ganglionic integration and central control of behavior in arthropods and molluscs; neuroendocrine pathways in higher invertebrates; radial control in echinoderms; origins of vertebrate nervous pathways in the protochordates; evolution of sensorimotor integration and behavioral plasticity (learning and related phenomena) in fishes. Survey of cetacean brain-behavior systems. Prerequisites: Some prior knowledge of basic neurobiology and/or physiological psychology or zoology of marine organisms, or consent of instructor.

Plant Physiology
This Intermediate-level course will cover various aspects of plant growth, metabolism and reproduction. Specific topics to be explored include plant water relations, mineral nutrition, plant growth regulators, photosynthesis, phloem translocation and plant responses and adaptations to the environment. Special topics will include genetic engineering (pros and cons), crop physiology and crop ecology. Prerequisite: Introduction to Botany and preferably also Cell Biology Lecture OR permission of the instructor.

Topics in Cell Signaling
In this upper-level course, we will explore the mechanisms by which cells communicate with one another, perceive information from their environment, and translate external signals into changes in gene expression, motility, enzyme activity etc. Assigned readings will be taken from the scientific literature. Although brief lectures will be given to provide background information, class discussions will form the basis for the course. Prerequisite: Cellular Biology Lecture. Enrollment limited to 15 students.

Vertebrate Neuroanatomy Laboratory
This course will entail the study of functional mammalian neural pathways using both thick brain slices and sections on microscope slides. Human and sheep brain material will be studied. All major systems will be covered. Prerequisite: Completion of Vertebrate Neuroanatomy Lecture or consent of instructor. Limit 8 students. Highest priority will be given to students doing independent study or thesis research in neuroscience related disciplines.Lab fee required.

Vertebrate Neuroanatomy Lecture
This course will survey the major functional-neuroanatomical pathways in the vertebrates using the human brain as a model. The pathways include central systems for vision, hearing, equilibrium, somatosensory, taste, smell, movement control, reproduction, feeding, aggression, punishment-reward, and endocrine autonomic control. The evolution of the systems will be considered I the context of studies based on older “classical as well as more modern technology. Prerequisite: Completion of Neurobiology and Behavior of Marine Animals or equivalent background, e.g. completion of a neurobiology or physiological course or consent of instructor.

Biology – Group Tutorials

Advanced Topics in Cell Biology
Topics from the Cell Biology lecture course will be explored in depth and with the aid of articles from the primary literature. Critical thinking and analysis will be emphasized. Students will help to define topics of interest. Past areas of study have included cancer cell biology, cell signaling and stem cells. Prerequisite: Cell Biology Lecture.

Plant Physiology Lab Tutorial
In this tutorial, students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge from the Plant Physiology Lecture course to the investigation of plant processes in the laboratory. Areas of emphasis have included transpiration, plant pigments, protein analysis, and the study of gall formation and stomatal opening and closure. Prerequisite: Plant Physiology Lecture.

Advanced Cell Biology Laboratory Techniques
Students will have the opportunity to focus on cell biology-related techniques of interest. The format is flexible to accommodate the specific needs and interests of the participants. Some examples from past tutorials include light microscopy and digital imaging, and real time RT-PCR. Prerequisite: Cell Biology Lecture and preferably also lab.

Insect Anatomy and Physiology
Insect anatomy and physiology is a course designed for the student wishing to further studies in entomology or to create a major. This course is an in-depth look at embryology, structure, design, and function of general and specific insect structures. Students must be prepared to learn external cuticular and innervated structures, names, and functions. The first two lectures are given by the professor. Subsequent lectures are given by (the) student(s) with corrections, explanations, and discussions directed by the professor. Prerequisite(s): Introduction to Entomology and/or Insect-Plant Interactions.

Microbiology with laboratory
The microbes are an important part of our world that often go unappreciated. In this group tutorial, we will examine what constitutes “microbial”, microbial ecology, medical microbiology and industrial microbiology. During the second module, we will continue our readings but include as well as series of lab exercises to demonstrate morphology, diversity, and properties of microbes. This group activity is limited to 8 students.

Students will learn to recognize European honeybee castes (Queen, Drone, and Workers), eggs, larvae, and pupae. Tools and hive equipment such as frames, excluder, hive tools and hive box types will be demonstrated and used to manipulate colonies. Honeybee life cycle, roles and responsibilities, honey production and extraction will be covered in lecture. Practical hands-on experiences will include proper donning of a bee suit and veil, lighting smokers, opening and closing hives and proper management of colonies.

Permaculture is the arrangement of agricultural plants, systems, and plots so that compatible plants provide insect, weed, and disease suppression while providing balance to the farmer/grower that appeal to sight, smell, and well-being in a place of calm. 

Sustainable Agriculture
Sustainable agriculture was designed to introduce students to agricultural practices of yesteryear, current single farmer and corporate farmer enterprises. Sustainability includes recycling waste generated on site, a reduction in inorganic fertilizers and pesticides, and the use of green fodders, and cover crops for the production of edible crops.

Ethnobotany is the study of plants and how they are used by indigenous people as medicines, food, housing, and pest control. The majority of the plants covered will be from the rain forests of South America, local herb gardens, and some wild native species. Since this is a botany class, the rituals associated with healing will be minimally covered.

Organic Gardening
Organic gardening has many definitions; however, most of us associate this with a reduction/elimination of inorganic pesticides and fertilizers, hand and/or small tool weeding, and minimal watering. We will explore commercial agriculture production techniques and compare that to local gardens. Labor comparisons between commercial farmers and backyard gardeners are discussed to show that ones livelihood determines the sophistication of inputs to maximize production. I emphasize differences between gardening for fun and economic survival as well as the apparent attraction of gardening to affluent members of our society.

Energy Audit tutorial
A survey and hands-on action tutorial to focus on clean energy and planning for efficiency on the New College campus as well as surveying best practices for clean energy around the country.

Marine Science Outreach Tutorial
This is an opportunity for students to learn about both formal and informal science education through reading primary literature, working in small groups on outreach projects, participating in science education workshops, and working with local k-12 teachers.

Tropical Ecology
students will conduct independent study on aspects of tropical ecology and conservation, including ethnobotany, canopy ecology, rain forest conservation, logging practices, and nutrient cycling.

Studies of local bird populations with accompanying literature review on bird population dynamics and ecology

Green Tutorial
Natural Florida Landscaping, By Dan Walton and Laurel Schiller, 2007; Pineapple Press, Inc. Your Green Home, A Guide to Planning a Healthy, Environmentally Friendly New Home, By Alex Wilson, 2006; Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green-House, By Carol Venolia & Kelly Lerner, 2006; Lark Books, Division of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

To find out more about the Biology AOC and course listings, check out our general catalog.

You can also click here to read the Biology Academic Learning Compact.


24 New College graduates have been named National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows, one of academia's most prestigious awards.

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