The University of St. Thomas

Biology Department Core Courses


Biology 207: Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution

A consideration of the mechanisms of heredity, evolution, population genetics, and population ecology emphasizing hypothesis testing, case studies, and quantitative and experimental approaches to population biology. Topics include: Mendelian genetics, genetic mapping, population genetics, selection theory and the process of adaptation, speciation, macroevolution and phylogenetics, and the growth and regulation of populations. Laboratory work emphasizes techniques for data analysis, including computer simulation and modeling. Three laboratory hours per week. This course fulfills the core-area in natural science in the Natural Science and Mathematical and Quantitative Reasoning requirement in the core curriculum.


Biology 208: Biological Communication & Energetics

The purpose of this course is to introduce the structure and function of cells, and how structure and function drives organismal physiology and diversity. By the end of this course, through lecture and laboratory exercises, students should have an understanding of the basic components of cells, how cells and organisms transfer genetic information to future generations, how communication is integral to cellular and organismal function, and how cells and organisms generate and process energy to drive physiological functions. In addition, students will continue to improve skills for scientific inquiry through activities designed to increase familiarity with the scientific literature and science terminology, improve skills to design and critically analyze experiments, foster ability to work within a scientific team, and provide opportunities to improve scientific writing. Any one topic covered in this course has enough material for a course of its own. However, this course will give a basic overview of a series of selected topics that are meant to introduce students to the vast field of cellular and organismal biology and the use of biological science in life.


Biology 209: Biology of Sustainability

Influences of humans on the global environment have reached unprecedented levels, increasing the need for society to strive to live in a sustainable manner. Many issues facing the environment have a biological basis. Thus, an understanding of basic biology is necessary to understand and address many environmental issues. This course will cover the fundamental biology involved with five environmental issues at the global scale: climate change, excessive nutrient loading into ecosystems, agricultural production, chemical contaminants, and loss of biodiversity. Specific biological principles to be covered include energy and nutrient mass balance by organisms and ecosystems, homeostasis and organismal physiology, and population dynamics and conservation biology.