Courses for ES Biology
A detailed examination of protein structure and function, focusing on the role of proteins in molecular recognition and catalysis. Topics include: techniques used to characterize proteins; enzyme kinetics and mechanisms; signal transduction across membranes; bioenergetics; catabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates; integration of metabolism and disease. Three lectures per week. Fulfills the Molecular/Cell Biology requirement for the Biology major. Prerequisites: Biology 111, Chemistry 246.
A detailed examination of nucleic acid structure and function, focusing on gene expression and mechanisms of gene regulation. Other topics include molecular biology of viruses, mobile genetic elements, the genetic basis of cancer, and principles of genomics. Three lectures per week. Required for BBMB majors. Fulfills the Molecular/Cell requirement for the Biology major. Prerequisites: Biology 205 and BBMB 325; consent of instructor required for non-BBMB majors.
Laboratory exercises in protein biochemistry, which will include biochemical reagent preparation, enzyme isolation and purification, enzyme and protein assays, and gel electrophoresis. One three- to four-hour laboratory per week. Fulfills the Molecular/Cell Biology requirement for the Biology major. Prerequisites: Biology 111 and Chemistry 136 or 140; Corequisite: BBMB 325. Chemistry 240 is strongly recommended. Open to other students only with consent of instructor.
Laboratory exercises in nucleic acid biochemistry, including molecular cloning, PCR, and DNA and RNA isolation and analysis techniques. One three-hour laboratory per week. Fulfills the Molecular/Cell Biology requirement for the Biology major. Prerequisite: BBMB 335; Corequisite: BBMB 326; consent required for non-BBMB majors.
The general principles common to all life. Topics are: chemical basis of life and cellular metabolism, cell and tissue structure and function, mitosis and meiosis, information storage and retrieval, and life support mechanisms. Although designed as an introduction to the major, non-major students are welcome. Laboratories will consist of exercises illustrating the principles covered in lecture. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Chemistry 125 and 135; or 140. Corequisites: Chemistry 126 and 136 (unless Chemistry 140 previously completed).
A survey of the major groups of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. The evolutionary history of living organisms is traced from the most simple prokaryotes to the highly complex plants and animals. Parallel trends and adaptations are discussed in addition to the unique features of each group. Laboratories consist of the examination of the structure and characteristics of the major groups. No prerequisites but prior completion of Biology 111 or the equivalent is recommended. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week.
The natural history of environments in and around Walla Walla County. Designed for non-science majors with special applicability for environmental studies majors. The course will emphasize applying basic ecological principles to the interpretation of the processes shaping biological communities. The core of the class will be weekly trips in which we develop and apply skills in observing and interpreting local environments from the Columbia River to the Blue Mountains. Through this process, students will become familiar with common plants, animals, and ecological communities of the region. Two one-hour lectures and one five-hour field trip per week. Field trips begin at 11 a.m. and extend through the lunch hour and into the afternoon. Offered in alternate years.
An introduction to the dynamic and interdisciplinary world of biological conservation. Fundamental principles from genetics, evolution, and ecology will be discussed and then applied to problems including extinction, species preservation, habitat restoration, refuge design and management, human population growth and its myriad impacts on our environment. Three one-hour lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: none. Designed for non-science majors with special applicability for environmental studies majors.
This course will explore the adaptations and relationships of organisms to their abiotic and biotic environments, with focus on the varied ecosystems of the Hells Canyon region of northeastern Oregon and the high desert ecosystems of northern New Mexico. Students will come to understand the forces impacting, and the impact of, individual organisms as they exist over time and space, as parts of higher levels of ecological constructs including the population, community, and ecosystem. A significant proportion of the class will be spent in the field quantifying vegetative associations and a selection of the fauna inhabiting those associations. The course is team-taught sequentially over two intensive, two-week periods. Laboratory sessions consist primarily of fauna and flora identification, ecological monitoring techniques including vegetative plot monitoring, dry pitfall monitoring, and avian transect monitoring. Environmental studies majors may substitute this course for Biology 130 or 115, as a foundation course in the sciences, with a lab, to satisfy environmental studies major requirements. Prerequisites: required of, and open only to, students accepted to Semester in the West.
An examination of life in the oceans, from the intertidal to the deep sea, with emphases on adaptations of organisms to major habitat factors and current environmental crises. Three lecture and/or discussion periods per week. Designed for non-biology majors and may not be taken for credit by those who have completed Biology 278. May be taken concurrently with Biology 179. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Offered in alternate years.
A week-long trip to a coastal location during spring break. Normally the trip will be to the University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories on San Juan Island, where we will trawl subtidal habitats on a research ship, investigate intertidal communities at various sites on the island, and conduct observations and experiments in a laboratory. There is a $200 fee for food and lodging on the San Juan trip. However, in some years, other locations may be used, with a higher fee. Designed for non-biology majors and may not be taken for credit by those who have completed Biology 279. May be taken concurrently with Biology 178. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Offered in alternate years. Fee: maximum $350.
The principles which underlie the hereditary processes observed in microbes, plants, and animals. Selected topics include structure, organization, function, regulation, and duplication of the genetic material; protein synthesis and its control; mechanisms and patterns of inheritance; population genetics. Prerequisites: Biology 111; Chemistry 125 and 126, or Chemistry 140; sophomore status.
This course will engage biology majors with the plants, animals and topography of a specific biotic province of our region (e.g., Blue Mountains or Walla Walla Valley) within the larger context of its geology and paleoecological history. The class will emphasize field experiences and interpretation of ecological and evolutionary processes shaping our surroundings with discussion of current environmental issues facing the area. One three-hour class per week, eight six-hour labs, some overnight. Fulfills the Ecology/Evolution major requirement. Prerequisites: Biology 112; Biology 215 or 277 recommended (or concurrent). Lab fee: maximum $20.
The diverse adaptations of plants to their abiotic and biotic environments from ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Lectures will address effects of climatic factors (water, light, temperature) and soils on plant morphology, physiology, growth, and reproduction, and the complex relationships of plants with other forms of life, especially insects. The laboratory will include several research projects and field trips. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Biology 111, 112. Offered in alternate years.
This course will place a strong emphasis on conceptual understanding of statistical methods and their proper application to research questions in biology. We will cover descriptive, inferential, and comparative statistics while highlighting hypothesis testing and appropriate experimental design. Topics will include parametric (normal) and nonparametric analyses of continuous and categorical variables to include t-tests, chi-square tests, correlation analysis, simple linear regression, and analyses of variance. Student achievement will be assessed through case studies, homework problems, and exams. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing in BBMB, biology or biology-combined majors. May not be offered every year.
In this field-oriented laboratory, students will explore aspects of plant form and growth, acquire basic skills for plant identification, and learn to recognize on sight the most common plant families in the western United States. At least one lab will be substituted by a field trip, and all students will be required to make a plant collection. This lab course is designed for biology majors, and meets concurrently with Biology 129. One three-hour laboratory per week. Fulfills the Ecology/Evolution major requirement. Prerequisite: Biology 112. Lab fee: maximum $20.
Field biology of a region with emphasis on ecology and evolution in a natural history context. Students will prepare for the trip by researching and developing a presentation that they will give to the group at the field site on a relevant aspect of the site’s biology. Students also will keep field notebooks, which will be turned in at the end of the trip and will be graded. Trips will usually be taken over long weekends (typically Thursday to Sunday). May be repeated for credit for different areas, but no more than two credits may apply toward required biology major (or biology-environmental studies or biology minor) electives. Fulfills the Ecology/Evolution major requirement. Prerequisites: Biology 111, 112, and declared biology or biology-environmental studies major or biology minor. Fee: maximum $75.
The structure and function of vertebrates within an evolutionary context. By the end of the course students should have gained a familiarity with the structural diversity of the 60,000 or so living vertebrates and some of their extinct ancestors, a detailed knowledge of the anatomy of a few “representative” vertebrates studied in lab, and an understanding of the major structural trends and innovations in the history of vertebrates. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. This course is especially recommended for students planning careers in medicine or veterinary medicine or with an interest in evolutionary biology. Fulfills the Organismal Biology major requirement. Prerequisites: Biology 111, 112. Lab fee: maximum $20.
The relationships of organisms to one another and to the abiotic environment. We will learn ecological concepts and principles important to populations, evolution, inter-specific interactions, communities, landscapes, energy flow, nutrient cycles, and conservation. Three one-hour lectures and one three-hour lab per week. Labs primarily involve field studies relevant to major concepts, along with data processing and analysis skills, and presentation of results in written and graphical form. Prerequisites: Biology 111, 112
Life in the oceans from the intertidal to the deep sea, with emphasis on anatomical, physiological, and biochemical adaptions of organisms to major environmental factors. Three lectures per week. Fulfills the Ecology/Evolution major requirement. Prerequisites: Biology 111, 112 and consent of instructor.
A field trip to a coastal location for one week during spring break. Normally, the trip will be to the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor marine laboratory on San Juan Island, where we will trawl subtidal habitats on a research ship, investigate intertidal communities at various sites on the island, and conduct observations and experiments in a laboratory. There is a $200 fee for food and housing on the San Juan trip. However, in some years, other locations for the trip may be used, with a higher fee. Fulfills the Ecology/Evolution major requirement. Prerequisites: Biology 111, 112 and consent of instructor. Fee: maximum $350.
Biology 287 Ecology Lab (1 credit)
Field research designed to expose students to ecological processes in the field and to give students experience in all stages of ecological science, including observing patterns to develop questions, searching primary literature as part of a process of developing hypotheses, identifying testable predictions, initiating experiments and gathering data in the field, processing data, statistical analysis of data, and presenting results in written and graphical form. Field work will involve various physical demands such as hiking and working off-trail on steep slopes. One three or four hour lab per week. Approximately six times during the semester we will depart at noon rather than 1 pm. Applies to the Ecology/Evolution major requirement. Pre- or corequisite: Biology 277. Optional corequisite: Biology 277. Lab fee: maximum $20.
The relationship between plants and human societies, drawing examples from different geographical regions and placing emphasis on plants used for food, medicine, clothing, and shelter. Topics will explore the various uses of plants, implications of altering natural habitats and cultural traditions, origins and histories of cultivated plants, development of agriculture and ecological aspects of its practices, including soil management, pest control, plant breeding, and preservation of genetic diversity. Three lectures per week, plus one optional weekend field trip. Fulfills the Ecology/Evolution major requirement. Prerequisites: Biology 111 and 112; or consent of instructor. Offered in alternate years.
The ultrastructure and function of cells. This course will examine in detail the major molecular processes in eukaryotic cells to include: biological molecules, membranes and cell surfaces, cell signaling, cellular energetics and metabolism, motility, protein processing and transport, cell cycle regulation, etc. Principles will be illustrated by examining various scenarios that occur when cellular processes are disrupted, as in the case of cell-based diseases, including but not limited to cancer development. Three lectures per week. Prerequisites: Biology 111 and Chemistry 245. Biology 112 is recommended.
Biology 304 Cell Biology Laboratory (1 credit)
The laboratory extension of Biology 303, the exercises will illustrate principles of eukaryotic cellular biology, with emphasis on modern instrumentation techniques, particularly protein isolation and cell culture techniques. One three-hour laboratory session per week. Applies to the Molecular/Cell Biology major requirement. Prerequisites: Biology 111 and Chemistry 245. Biology 112 is recommended. Lab fee: maximum $20.
This class will cover the essentials of cell biology and can be used in place of Biology 303 to fulfill the cell biology requirement for biology majors (when Biology taken concurrently with Biology 306) and is suitable as an elective for BBMB majors. In particular, this class will emphasize the role of cellular membranes and signaling machinery in regulating proper cell function. Diversity in cellular signaling will be illustrated through investigation of various strategies used to mediate changes in the physiology of single cells and potentially, the organism. Cell communication is critical to cell survival and adaptation. It is an area of biological study that incorporates biochemistry, cell biology/physiology and membrane biophysics — all of which will be specifically highlighted through literature review and discussion sessions. Three lectures per week. Prerequisites: Biology 111; Chemistry 245; or consent of instructor. Corequisites (to fulfill biology major requirements): Biology 306. Chemistry 246 is recommended.
Laboratory exercises in cellular biology will incorporate cell labeling, microscopy, biochemical analysis, and pharmacological manipulation to assess cell physiology (e.g., motility, metabolism, development, and signaling). One three-hour laboratory per week. Applies to the Molecular/Cell Biology major requirement. Pre- or corequisite: Biology 305. Lab fee: maximum $20.
An advanced-level examination of the biological functions that allow self-maintenance, reproduction, and regulation in various environments. Animals in general will be covered, but with emphasis on mammals. An initial overview examines the principles of traditional organ-systems physiology and how these are increasingly being altered by evolutionary biology and Darwinian medicine, molecular and cellular physiology, and genomics. This overview will be integrated with organismal functions including hormonal and neural regulation, defense, support and movement, excretion and osmotic balance, circulation and transport, respiration, energy balance, and reproduction. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week; the latter will parallel the lecture topics. Prerequisites: Biology 111; Chemistry 245; or consent of instructor. Biology 112 and 303 and 304 or 305 and 306 are recommended.
This upper level seminar course will focus on current topics in developmental biology (e.g. stem cells and cloning, evolutionary development, epigenetic modifications of the genome and thinking in 4-D). Most readings will come from the primary literature, and the class will be a mix of presentations and discussion, with overviews and background material given by the instructor. Fulfills the Molecular/Cell Biology major requirement. Prerequisites: Biology 111 and 205.
This course emphasizes the cellular and molecular biology of neurons as a basis for understanding how the nervous system controls behavior. Topics include the structure and function of neurons and glia, synaptic transmission, brain development and regeneration, sensory and motor systems, brain mechanisms of learning and memory, clinical issues and becoming a neuroscientist. The laboratories will emphasize hands-on experience with techniques used to study the brain in current research including neuroanatomy, neurocytology, neurophysiology, analysis of neuronal gene expression and observation of living neurons in culture. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Fulfills the Molecular/Cell Biology major requirement. Prerequisites: Biology 111 and 205. Biology 112 and 303 and 304 or 305 and 306 are recommended. Lab fee: maximum $20.
This course will introduce students to the multidisciplinary field of neurophysiology from cellular processes to integrated central and peripheral nervous systems functions. The course will examine core principles of neuroanatomy, membrane excitability, neuronal signaling, sensory and motor function, neuroendocrine regulation of integrated organismal physiology (e.g., cardiovascular), and abnormalities that give rise to neurological disorders. Laboratory exercises will emphasize core concepts and methodology, and will incorporate lectures/demonstrations by clinicians/patients and integrative case studies. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Applies to the Organismal Biology major requirement. It is also a suitable elective for BBMB majors. Prerequisites: Biology 111; Chemistry 245; or consent of instructor. Biology 303 or 305 or BBMB 325 are highly recommended. Lab fee: maximum $20.
Herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles. In this course, taxonomy, life history, behavior, physiology, ecology, etc. of frogs, salamander, turtles, lizards, snakes, crocodiles, and others will be presented in the context of the evolutionary history of this diverse assemblage of vertebrates. Labs will focus on study of preserved specimens, and identification of species from all over the world. Students also will learn to identify all local species in preparation for field-based labs in the spring. In the course of the semester, students will prepare an essay on a herpetological topic of their choice. Three lectures and one three-hour lab per week. Fulfills the Ecology/Evolution major requirement. Prerequisites: Biology 112 required, other organismic level courses desirable. Lab fee: maximum $20.
Evolution and development are inexorably linked and genetics is the tie that binds them. This interdisciplinary class explores how genetic and developmental mechanisms have evolved to produce biological diversity. Through lectures, class discussions, and activities, and analysis of both classic and cutting-edge scientific papers, we will examine the contributions of all three research areas to the emerging field of “evo-devo”. Three lectures per week. Fulfills the Organismal major requirement. Prerequisite: Biology 111 and 205. Optional corequisite: Biology 338
This upper-level course addresses how a complex multicellular organism arises from a single cell, the fertilized egg. The course is framed by questions formulated using classic experiments in experimental embryology and current molecular and cellular approaches that yield new answers to these questions. Emphasis is on how specialized form and pattern develop in animals; ethical and social issues relevant to developmental biology also are discussed. Labs emphasize independent experimentation and current techniques including timelapse and digital microscopy of living cells and organisms. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Fulfills the Molecular/Cell Biology major requirement. Prerequisites: Biology 111, 205; Chemistry 245. Biology 112, and Biology 303 and 304 or 305 and 306 or BBMB 325 are recommended. Lab fee: maximum $20.
A survey of the functions of the human body using disease states to illustrate key physiological processes. This course will examine a sample of pathological states as a springboard for understanding: the basic principles of systems physiology; the cellular/tissue processes that give rise to abnormal function; and the effectiveness of preventative/therapeutic approaches. This course will cover in detail the cardiovascular, endocrine, neuromuscular, renal, and immune systems and will offer an overview of integrative body functions such as electrolyte and nutritional regulation. Basic principles of physiology will be emphasized through laboratory work. Lab sessions will incorporate guest lectures by clinicians/patients or tours of hospital clinics and simulated clinical data and patient case studies. This course can be used in place of Biology 310 to fulfill the physiology requirement for biology majors, and is suitable as an elective for BBMB. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory session per week.
The Evolutionary Developmental Biology Lab is designed to accompany the associated lecture course (Biology 328). Students will gain hands-on experience in acquiring and analyzing data using a variety of techniques common in the field of “evo devo”, and will then work in small groups to apply these skills to develop and test hypotheses regarding a “mystery” developmental mutant of either the mustard plant Arabidopsis or the fruit fly Drosophila. Applies to the Organismal major requirement. Prerequisite: Biology 111 and 205. Optional corequisite: Biology 328. Lab fee: maximum $20.
Bacteria, viruses, and eukaryotic microbes. Cell structure and chemistry, metabolism, evolution, and ecology will be themes emphasized throughout the course as other topics such as pathogenesis, disease, the immune system, cultivation, taxonomy, and practical applications for microorganisms are discussed. The laboratory will establish sterile techniques and stress the structure and biochemical differentiation of bacterial species. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Fulfills the Molecular/Cell Biology major requirement. Prerequisites: Biology 111 and a year of college chemistry. Biology 112 is recommended. Lab fee: maximum $20.
An advanced course providing an introduction to the new and rapidly growing field of genomics, emphasizing functional genomics and the value of genome resources for diverse types of biological, biomedical, and biotech research. Aspects of structural genomics and genome evolution will be included. For context, we will also discuss classical strategies of gene discovery including forward genetics and protein- and RNA-based gene identification methods. Class will include student presentations on primary research literature, lectures to provide background information, and some hands-on work with genome databases, DNA/RNA isolation and analysis techniques. Applies to the Molecular/Cell requirement of the Biology major. Prerequisites: Biology 205 and Chemistry 246. Consent required for non-Biology majors.
Designed for the upper-level biology major, this course emphasizes the importance of evolutionary theory to biology. Using modern examples in population biology, molecular evolution and phylogenetics, students will gain a firm foundation in the mechanisms of evolution, speciation, and extinction, and an appreciation of the applicability of evolutionary principles to current issues in areas such as conservation, medicine, and social behavior. Three lectures and one three-hour lab per week. Prerequisites: Biology 111, 205. Biology 112 and 277 or 215 are recommended.
Plant physiology is the study of how plants function, internally as well as in relation to their environment. We will investigate how plants use light, water, and minerals to grow and reproduce, at both whole-plant and molecular levels. How do plants cope with stressful environments? How do they adapt to strange or extreme environments? How can a better understanding of plant physiology improve our ability to deal with social issues such as famine, malnutrition, and the conservation of biodiversity? Through lecture, written exercises, discussions of research articles, and laboratories, we will consider these and other key aspects of plant physiology. Three lectures and one three-hour lab per week. Applies to the Organismal major requirement. Prerequisites: Biology 111 and 112. Lab fee: maximum $20.
Research or data analysis to be described in senior thesis and seminar (Biology 490). Projects may involve laboratory experiments, fieldwork, and/or data analysis and can be carried out in the senior, junior, and/or sophomore year. Students must register with a research/thesis adviser from biology or BBMB, and the research itself must be carried out with guidance from that adviser, or (if done off-campus), a qualified research supervisor. Pre- or corequisite: consent of research/thesis adviser, and senior standing as a biology major.
Continuation of Biology 489. Each student will finish data collection and write a thesis on the research in accepted scientific style. One or more initial drafts of the thesis will be required before the final version is due in the last week of classes. Each student also is required to give a short seminar presentation of his/her results to the faculty and other biology majors. Prerequisite: Biology 489 (may be taken concurrently by students completing requirements in December) or consent of supervising professor.
Continuation of Biology 489 and required of senior honors candidates, who will conduct more extensive research than students in Biology 490. Honors students will finish data collection and write a thesis on the research in accepted scientific style. One or more initial drafts of the thesis will be required before the final version is due in the library. Presentation of results to the staff and other biology majors is required. Credit cannot be earned simultaneously for Biology 498 and 490. Prerequisites: Biology 489, consent of supervising professor, and admission to honors candidacy.