Preview of Courses

The following are courses that have been offered or are usually offered by the Department of Biology. For a comprehensive list of courses, please refer to the current Schedule of Classes or Course Catalog. 

Core Courses

BIOL 151. Cell & Molecular Biology
An introduction to the structure and function of cells. Emphasis will be on how molecules are organized within cells to allow for energy production, synthesis of new materials, communication with other cells, replication of genetic information, and reproduction. The laboratory will introduce many ways of studying cells and molecules, including various forms of microscopy and basic recombinant DNA techniques.

BIOL 152.  Biology of Organisms
An introduction to the structure and function of the organism as a whole. The course provides an introduction to the origin and diversity of life, and discusses the central problems that all organisms, both plants and animals, must solve to survive in different environments. Problems to be examined include feeding strategies, gas exchange, water balance, waste disposal, circulation, thermoregulation, dealing with gravity, and locomotion. Lectures and laboratories

BIOL 251. Ecology & Evolution of Organisms
An introduction to the structure and function of populations of plants and animals. Topics to be covered include growth and behavior of populations, ecology of communities, ecosystem function, transmission genetics, and the evolution of populations and species. Lectures, laboratories, and field trips. Prerequisite: 151 and 152 or Environmental Science 100.

Upper Division Courses

BIOL 331. Immunology
The study of the innate and adaptive immune mechanisms of organisms in response to foreign pathogens. The physiological function of the immune system in health and disease is also discussed. Lectures, journal seminars, and laboratory exercises. Prerequisite: 251.

BIOL 379. Conservation Biology
Conservation biology deals with the study of preserving biodiversity. Topics to be covered include the effects of habitat fragmentation on populations, reserve design, the effect of fragmentation on levels of diversity, and issues surrounding the problem of maintaining genetic diversity. Lectures and field work. Prerequisite: 251 or ENVS 100. Cross-listed with ENVS 379.

BIOL 381. Molecular Genetics
In-depth study of how genetic information is stored and utilized by cells, including DNA replication, transcription and translation, and the control of gene expression. Emphasis will be split between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Prerequisite: 251 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 384. Marine Biology
The physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the marine environment; emphasizes factors affecting the distribution and abundance of marine organisms. Prerequisite: 251.

BIOL 428. Animal Physiology
Investigation of how animals function in their environment. This course will compare the major physiological systems in vertebrates and discuss adaptations to these systems that allow animals to thrive under diverse environmental conditions. Lectures and laboratories.

BIOL 435. Oncology
The study of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of cancer.  Cellular signaling, genetic variables, viral implications and environmental factors involved in cancer development will also be discussed. This course will cover the findings of three decades of recent cancer research. Lectures, journal seminars, and laboratory exercises. Prerequisite: 251.

BIOL 473. The Southern California Flora: Ecology, Evolution, and Taxonomy
Taxonomic and ecological study of native plants. Lectures, laboratory, and field work. Permission. Prerequisite: 251 or ENVS 100.