Undergraduate Biology Courses

Note: For major and minor requirements as well as specific requirements for each of the five biology concentrations, consult the current Undergraduate Catalog.

BIO 102 Contemporary Issues in Biological Sciences Cr.3     

An interdisciplinary approach to investigating current issues within the biological sciences. Specific topics under the general categories of health, medicine, environment, genetics, and industrial technology will be identified, described and characterized. The science underlying the issue will be explored and the potential impact (past and future) of applied scientific advances within the respective disciplines will be examined in depth. Not applicable to a major or minor in biology. Offered occasionally.

BIO 103  Introductory Biology Cr. 4

A survey of modern biology. Subjects discussed include ecology, cell biology and genetics. Themes developed through the course are the use of the scientific method and the relationships between society, technology and science. This course is designed as a general education course for non-science or non-allied health majors. Lect. 3, Lab 2. Students cannot earn credit in both BIO 103  and 105.

BIO 105 General Biology Cr. 4

An introduction to biology including topics in ecology, population biology, nutrient cycling, food webs, cell structure and function, metabolism, photosynthesis, reproduction, genetics, molecular biology and evolution. This course provides a strong foundation for further science courses, and is designed for science majors, allied health majors and students with an interest in science. Lect. 3, Lab. 2. Students cannot earn credit in both BIO 103 and 105.

BIO 106 Nature Study Cr. 3

A study of common plants and animals of the area. Lect. 2, Lab 2. Not applicable to a major or minor in biology. Offered occasionally. 

BIO/PSY 107 Brain Basics: Linking Society and Neuroscience Cr. 3

Students will be introduced to the field of neuroscience, including an examination of the cells that make the brain operate, how they operate together to form structures and systems, and how the operation of these systems relates to human behavior. The range of behaviors to be examined will include everyday learning and memory, sleeping and dreaming, as well as an exploration of the brain when abnormal behaviors occur. We will also investigate the impact that advances in the neurosciences have had on society in general. (Cross-listed with PSY; may only earn credit in BIO or PSY.) Not applicable to Biology major. Offered occasionally.

BIO 203  Organismal Biology Cr. 4

A survey of the diverse form and function of prokaryotes, protistans, fungi, plants and animals. Basic ecology, natural history, evolution, biogeography and importance of organisms to humans will be emphasized. Lect. 3, Lab 2. Prerequisite BIO 103 or 105 and CHM 103 or concurrent enrollment. Not applicable toward general biology major, aquatic science or environmental science concentrations.  Not for credit if BIO 204 or BIO 210 taken. 

BIO 204 Plant Biology Cr. 3

An investigation of the general morphology and life patterns of plants, fungi, algae and bacteria — with emphasis on plants — and inquiry into their economic importance, ecology, evolution, growth and development. The importance of photosynthetic organisms will be a general theme throughout the course. Lect. 2, Lab. 2.  Prerequisite: BIO 103 or 105.

BIO 210 Animal Biology Cr. 3

A phylogenetic survey of the animal kingdom beginning with single-celled organisms and ending with vertebrates. Innovation of form and function of each major taxonomic group will be discussed along with their ecology, natural history, distribution and relationship to humans. Lect. 2,  Lab 2. Prerequisite: BIO 103 or 105.

BIO 260 Special Topics In Biology Cr. 1-3

Topics in biology of interest to selected groups. Topics will be offered with a specific title. May be staffed by resident faculty or visiting lecturers. Other departments may be invited to participate. Prerequisite: BIO 103 or 105. Offered occasionally.

BIO 302 Introductory Plant Identification Cr. 2

Introduction to the identification of trees, shrubs, and other herbaceous plants of both local native and cultivated species. Field trips required. Lect. 1, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: BIO 203 or 204.. Offered Sem. I, odd years.

BIO 303 Vertebrate Form and Function Cr. 4

Anatomy and physiology of the vertebrates with the rate as the basic study animal. Lect. 2, Lab 4. Prerequisite: BIO 103 or 105. Offered occasionally.

BIO 306 Genetics Cr. 4 

A comprehensive study of the basic principles of heredity, including Mendelian and Molecular Genetics. Lect. 3, Lab. 2. Prerequisites: BIO 103 or 105 and a second biology course applicable to the major.

BIO 307 Ecology Cr. 3 A study of interactions that determine the distribution and abundance of living organisms.  The basic principles of ecology are presented in order to develop an understanding of the nature of these interactions at the individual, population and community levels of biological organization.  Prerequisites: BIO 203 or BIO 204 and 210.

BIO 312  Human Anatomy and Physiology I Cr. 4

A comprehensive study of general physiological principles, membrane physiology, body fluid compartments, the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems and the special senses. Lect. 3, Lab. 2. Prerequisites: BIO 103 or 105 and CHM 103.

BIO 313 Human Anatomy and Physiology II Cr. 4

A comprehensive study of the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, digestive system, urinary system, fluid/electrolyte balance, reproduction and the endocrine system. Lect. 3, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: BIO 312.

BIO 315 Cell Biology Cr. 4

A comprehensive overview of cell structure and function, including the nature of biomolecules, cellular metabolism and its regulation, the dynamics of membranes and the cytoskeleton, the execution and control of the cell cycle, cell interactions, and cell signaling. Lect.3, Lab. 3. Prerequisites: BIO 103 or 105, one additional semester of biology, MTH 145 or 250, and a minimum of three semesters of chemistry through organic chemistry.

BIO 321 Ornithology Cr. 3

Field identification and ecology of birds with emphasis on Wisconsin forms. Lect. 2, Lab. 3. Prerequisite: BIO 210 or 303. Offered occasionally.

BIO 337  Plant Physiology Cr. 3

An introduction to plant water relations, mineral nutrition, respiration, photosynthesis, growth, and development with emphasis on the physiology of seed plants. Prerequisite: BIO 203 or 204. Offered Sem. II, even years.

BIO 341  Limnology Cr. 3

This course includes fundamentals of aquatic ecology, with special reference to community ecology. Taxonomy, stratification and succession of organisms to be investigated. Energy traffic through aquatic ecosystems will also be investigated. Field trips required. Lect. 2, Lab. 3. Prerequisites: BIO 103 or 105, one additional biology course, and one semester of chemistry. Offered Sem. I.

BIO 390 Latin and Greek Roots in Scientific Terminology Cr. 2

Most scientific terminology comes to us as derived from Latin and Greek words. This course provides a solid background in scientific vocabulary by learning roots words, prefixes and suffixes, as well as a combination of two or more root words and prefixes. Prerequisite: BIO 103 or 105. Does not apply toward biology major or any concentration. Offered Sem. II. 

BIO 404/504  Plant Taxonomy Cr. 3

Collection, identification, classification, and evolution of the vascular plants with emphasis on local flora. Lect. 1, Lab. 4. Prerequisite: BIO 203 or 204. Offered Sem. II, alternate years.

BIO 405/505  Aquatic Vascular Plants Cr. 2

Identification and collection of vascular plants of aquatic and marsh habitats with emphasis on adaptive morphology and ecology of local species. Field trips required.  Lect. 1, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: BIO 203 or 204.

BIO 406/506  Parasitology Cr. 4

A survey of the major groups of animal parasites with regard to their taxonomy, morphology, life histories, host-parasite relationships, and economic importance. Lect. 2, Lab 4. Prerequisite: BIO 203 or 210 or 303. Offered Sem. I.

BIO 408/508  Developmental Biology Cr. 4

A study of primarily animal embryonic development including fertilization, cleavage, cell determination, gastrulation, organ-system development, pattern formation and cell differentiation. Genetic control of developmental processes using various vertebrate and invertebrate models will be integrated and emphasized. Lect. 2, Lab. 4. Prerequisites: BIO 210 or 303; BIO 306 or MIC 416; BIO 315 recommended. Offered Sem. I.

BIO 412/512  Mycology Cr. 4

A survey of all the major groups of fungi of the fungal kingdom (and relatives) in terms of systematics, anatomy, morphology, ecology, physiology, genetics, evolutionary relationships, and human and plant pathology. Laboratory includes microscopic and macroscopic study of the fungi, as well as making a collection of cultures and of fungal reproductive structures (including mushrooms) from selected groups. Lect. 2, Lab 4. Prerequisite: BIO 203 or 204 or MIC 230. Both are strongly recommended. Offered Sem. I.

BIO 413/513 Medical Mycology Cr. 3

A study of the increasing number of medically important fungi, including the yeasts, molds, other fungi, and actinomycetes that are pathogenic to humans and other animals. Emphasis is on laboratory techniques for isolation and identification of pathogenic fungi. Lect. 2, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: BIO 412/512 or MIC 230. Offered Sem. II.

BIO 414/514  Freshwater Invertebrate Zoology Cr. 3

Introduces the ecology and taxonomy of the metazoan, non–parasitic freshwater invertebrates. An extensive course designed to provide a foundation for taxonomic knowledge, and basic understanding of the biology and ecology of freshwater invertebrates for advanced students in aquatic and environmental sciences. Lectures will focus on ecology; labs on taxonomy and quantitative skills. A student reference collection and field trips will be required. Lect. 2, Lab. 2. Prerequisites: BIO 203 or 210 or 341. Offered Sem. I.

BIO 419/519 Quantitative Methods in Ecology 3 Cr.

An introduction to field and laboratory procedures used by ecologists to describe and analyze the interactions between organisms and their environments. The course will emphasize quantitative techniques, including the use of computer technology, for collecting, recording and interpreting ecological data. Lect. 2, Lab. 2. Prerequisites: BIO 307 or BIO 341. Offered Sem. I.

BIO 422/522  Ichthyology Cr. 3

A study of the taxonomy, anatomy, physiology, and ecology of fish, with emphasis on the fresh water fishes. Lect. 2, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: BIO 203 or 210 or 303.

BIO 424/524  Endocrinology Cr. 3

A comprehensive study of the production, regulation, structure, molecular to whole body actions, metabolism, and excretion of biochemical signaling molecules. The classical and more recently recognized neurotransmitter and hormone pathways and clinical considerations of each will be explored using lecture, laboratory exercises, and case studies.  Prerequisites: BIO 303 or BIO 312 and 313. Offered Sem I. 

BIO 428/528  Animal Metabolism, Nutrition and Disease Cr. 3

An in-depth coverage of animal digestion, absorption and metabolism (biochemical pathways) of key nutrients, including protein, lipids, carbohydrates and essential vitamins and minerals. There will also be substantial consideration of energy balance, nutrient partitioning, life span dietary recommendations for humans, food nutrient content and the role of nutrient metabolism in disease. Prerequisite: BIO 313.

BIO 429/529  Evolution Cr. 3

Consideration of the principles and the record of organic evolution of plants and animals. Lect. 3. Prerequisite: BIO 306. Offered Sem. I.

BIO 432/532  Biology of Cancer Cr. 2

A survey of the current knowledge of cancer biology. The course will include lectures, readings and discussions on a wide range of cancer topics, including: characteristics of cancer cells, carcinogenesis, cancer genes, tumor classification, invasion, metastasis, impact of cancer on body functions, epidemiology, inheritance, immunology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Prerequisites: BIO 303 or 313, and BIO 306 or MIC 416. Offered Sem. II.

BIO 433/533  Radiation Biology Cr. 3

Applications and effects of nuclear radiation on biological systems. Lect. 2, Lab. 3. Prerequisites: BIO 103 or 105, one additional course in biology, and CHM 103. Offered Sem. II.

BIO 435/535  Molecular Biology Cr. 3

A study of molecular biology with an emphasis on eukaryotic systems. The course will focus on the molecular aspects controlling biological processes. The impact of recombinant DNA technology on biotechnology and medicine will also be examined. Prerequisites: BIO 306 and 315, or MIC 416, and three semesters of college chemistry including organic chemistry. Biochemistry strongly recommended. BIO 436 is an optional laboratory which can be taken concurrently. Offered Sem. I.

BIO 436/536  Molecular Biology Laboratory Cr. 1

A study of molecular biology with an emphasis on eukaryotic systems. Laboratory emphasis is on recombinant DNA technology, current techniques used to express recombinant proteins in eukaryotic cells, computer based DNA analysis, macromolecular modeling using computers, and quantitative assay techniques. This lab is optional for those enrolled in BIO 435. Lab. 3.  Prerequisite: BIO 435 must be taken concurrently. Offered Sem. I.

BIO 437/537  Plant Growth and Development Cr. 3

Discussion of experiments and analysis of research data obtained from the living plant. Prerequisite: BIO 203 or 204 or equivalent.

BIO 439/539  Plant Anatomy Cr. 3

A detailed examination of plant structure and development as revealed with the light and electron microscopes. Primarily seed plants will be examined. Structure and development will be studied as a means by which plants cope with their ecology, evolution and function. Lect. 2, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: BIO 203 or 204 or an equivalent general botany course. Offered Sem. II, alternate years.

BIO 443/543 Molecular Mechanism of Disease and Drug Action Cr. 3

A survey of the leading non-infectious and non-cancerous diseases in the industrialized world. This course will explore the molecular mechanisms of disease, clinical symptomology, and pharmacological treatment. Students will be expected to conduct thorough research on a given disease and present their results in a poster session. Prerequisites: BIO 306, 313 and CHM 300 or 304. Offered Sem. II.

BIO/MIC 440/540 Bioinformatics Cr. 2

In this course, students will use computers to study and compare the sequence of nucleotides in DNA or RNA, or amino acids in protein. Being able to manipulate and study this information is the basis for the current revolution in Biotechnology. Topics include evolution, taxonomy, genomics and understanding disease. This course provides students an opportunity to explore the relationships between biology, microbiology, chemistry and computer science. Prerequisite: BIO 306 or MIC 230 (BIO 435 or MIC 416 recommended). Lect. 2, Lab 1. Half-semester course (2 weeks in J Term). Cross-listed with MIC 440/540; may only earn credit in MIC or BIO. Offered Sem. II  and J Term.

BIO 441/541 Environmental Toxicology  Cr. 3

The study of the lethal and sublethal effects of chemical contaminants on ecosystems and humans. Topics covered include environmental legislation, chemical distribution and fate in the environment, methods of toxicity testing, assessment of exposure and risk, effects of chemical contaminants on humans, and fish and wildlife populations, communities and ecosystems, and toxicity of specific chemical groups. Prerequisite: BIO 307 or 341; CHM 104. Offered Sem. II, alternate years.

BIO/MIC 442/542  Plant Microbe Interactions Cr. 3

This course will explore in depth various ways that plants interact with microbes in the environment, at the macroscopic, cellular, and molecular levels. Case studies will include both parasitic and mutualistic (symbiotic) interactions. Microbes include fungi, bacteria, nematodes, and viruses. Includes plant pathology and studies of the beneficial relationships between plants and microbes. Inquiry based labs are integrated into the lecture and discussion sessions. Prerequisite: BIO 203 or 204, MIC 313, plus either BIO 306 or MIC 416. Lect. 2, Lab. 2. Offered Sem. II, even years. 

BIO 443/543 Molecular Mechanism of Disease and Drug Action Cr. 3

A survey of the leading non-infectious and non-cancerous diseases in the industrialized world. This course will explore the molecular mechanisms of disease, clinical symptomology, and pharmacological treatment. Students will be expected to conduct thorough research on a given disease and present their results in a poster session. Prerequisite: BIO 306, 313 and CHM 300 or 304. Offered Sem. II. 

BIO 447/547 Standard Methods and Quality Assurance of Water Analysis Cr. 3

This course will instruct students on the use of standard methods for analysis of selected biological, chemical, and physical constituents commonly included in water quality analysis. Quality assurance procedures, including Good Laboratory Practice Standards (GLPS) will be integrated into all activities. Materials covered include: principles of methods used; evaluation of precision, bias, and contamination; proper reporting and interpretation of results; and environmental sources and significance of constituents analyzed. Lect. 1, Lab. 4. Prerequisites: BIO 203 or 204 or  210 or 303, MIC 230, and three semesters of college chemistry. BIO 341 recommended. Offered Sem. II.

BIO 449/549  Microtechnique and Electron Microscopy Cr. 3

Principles and techniques of specimen preparation and microscopy. Students develop proficiency in light microscope, scanning electron microscope, and transmission electron microscope operation and learn how to prepare biological specimens for viewing and resulting photographs for presentation. Lect. 1, Lab. 4. Prerequisites: junior standing and BIO 315 or MIC 361. Offered Sem. I, alternate years.

BIO 450 Internship in Biology Cr. 1-3

An academically relevant field experience in government, industry, business, or community agencies. Students must have their internships approved and be advised by the department. Students must be on their internship worksite during the semester for which they are registered for academic credit. Credits earned will count only toward university electives and not toward the completion of any major or minor unless listed. Repeatable for credit — maximum 8. Pass/Fail grading.

BIO 460/560 Symposium in Biology Cr. 1-3

Studies in biology of interest to specific groups. Varying topics will be offered at intervals with a specific title assigned to each. May be staffed by resident faculty or visiting lecturers. Other departments may be invited to participate. Prerequisite: four semesters of biology. Repeatable for credit — maximum 6. Variable offerings — check registration schedules.

BIO 463/563  Aquatic Animal Health Cr. 3

The study of pathogens of aquatic animals, including fish, shellfish, crustaceans, amphibians, waterfowl and mammals. Sections on nutrition and toxicology are included. Emphasis is on laboratory techniques for isolation and identification of pathogenic bacteria, viruses and parasites. Field trips required. Lect. 2, Lab. 3. Prerequisites: BIO 103 or 105, 210 or 303, and CHM 103; MIC 230 strongly recommended. Offered Sem. II, alternate years.

BIO 464/564 Stream and Watershed Ecology Cr. 3

Introduces key concepts and theory pertinent to understanding and managing fluvial ecosystems (rivers and streams) and their watersheds. The course will emphasize rivers as large-scale physical and biological systems. Course work includes a comparative case study of distinctive types of temperate, tropical, and polar rivers. Lect. 3,  Lab. 2. Prerequisites: BIO 341 or BIO 307.  Offered Sem. II.

BIO 465/565 Neurophysiology Cr. 3.

An examination of the nervous system beginning at the cellular level and working up to neuronal systems. Topics covered include the ionic basis of membrane potentials, synaptic communication, organization of functional circuits of neurons, and systems within the brain and/or spinal cord which control learning and memory, vision and motor function. Exploration of these fundamental neurophysiology topics from the basis for understanding a variety of student-selected topics which will be covered later in the semester. Late-semester topics often include higher-order aspects of brain function or challenges to the nervous system, such as the repair of brain or spinal cord injury, degenerative disease states, dyslexia, or gender differences. BIO 467 is an optional laboratory course which can be taken concurrently. Prerequisite: BIO 312. Offered Sem. II. 

BIO 466/566  Human Genetics Cr. 3

A study of the basic principles of heredity in humans. Focus will be on modern molecular techniques used in isolating human disease genes and modes of inheritance of human traits and disorders. Ethical issues in human genetics will also be discussed. Prerequisite: BIO 306.  Offered. Sem. I.

BIO 467/567 Neurobiology Laboratory Techniques Cr. 2

An introduction to common laboratory techniques in neurobiology, including electrophysiology with invertebrate preparations, mammalian neuronal cell culture, and computational modeling. Students will receive training in techniques while performing classical experiments, then design their own novel experiments and carry them out. Prerequisite: BIO 312; BIO 465 or concurrent enrollment. Offered Sem II. 

BIO 468/568 Human Molecular Genetics Lab Cr. 1

A study of the techniques used in doing research in human molecular genetics with a focus on commonly used model organisms in the study of human genetic disorders. Laboratory emphasis is on phenotype analysis, library screening, DNA microarray analysis, gene mapping, and bioinformatics. This lab is optional for those enrolled in BIO 466/566.  Prerequisite: BIO 306.   Offered Sem. I.

BIO 479  Biology Laboratory Assistant Cr. 1-2

An opportunity to assist in the preparation and instruction of a biology laboratory. Students will be expected to assist in preparation of course materials, demonstrate proper techniques, and evaluate student performance. Lab. 2-6. Admission by instructor consent. Repeatable for credit — maximum 4. Pass/Fail grading.

BIO 489  Independent Study in Biology Cr. 1

A directed reading project or job shadowing experience within the discipline but outside that offered through regularly scheduled courses. Under the direction of the supervising faculty member (and in coordination with mentoring professional for job shadowing experience). A written report is an expected outcome. Admission by instructor consent and department approval. Repeatable for credit — maximum 2.

BIO 490/590 Current Topics in Biology Education Cr. 1-3

Biological researchers produce new discoveries almost daily. To better understand these new discoveries, it is important that students be exposed to some of the current technologies used in biological research. The purpose of this course is to train high school teachers in the current technologies used in biological research and to demonstrate the current approaches to teaching these materials. The course will be offered as a two-day workshop where teachers will learn several exercises that have been designed specifically for high school biology classes. Repeatable for credit under different topics. Departmental option for Pass/Fail grading.

BIO 491 Capstone Seminar in Biology Cr. 1

A seminar-style course designed for students to review and discuss basic concepts necessary for a career in the biological sciences and to assess their major in biology. This course will cover basic concepts of resume and cover letter writing, quantitative skills, computer literacy and current topics in biology. Students are expected to actively participate in an assessment of their major, and participate in discussions on major issues and developments in the biological sciences. Students will present a seminar on a contemporary biological topic incorporating primary literature. Prerequisite: senior standing.

BIO 492  Honors Capstone Seminar in Biology  Cr. 1

A seminar-style course designed for students to review and discuss basic concepts necessary for a career in the biological sciences and to assess their major in biology. This course will cover basic concepts of resume and cover letter writing, quantitative skills, computer literacy and current topics in biology. Students are expected to actively participate in an assessment of their major, and participate in discussions on major issues and developments in the biological sciences. Students will present a seminar on a contemporary biological topic incorporating primary literature. Prerequisite: senior standing.

BIO 499  Independent Research Cr. 1-3

Individual research projects. Open to advanced students. Prerequisites: four semesters of biology and the completion of a consent form signed by the project director. Students may enroll for 1-3 credits per semester for a maximum of 6 credits. A maximum of two credits can be applied to the major in biology.


Return to the Biology Department Homepage

Copyright 2009 , the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin. If you have any questions about or additions to these pages please contact: gillis.rick@uwlax.edu