Academic Calendar

BIOL – Biology

BIOL 020
Biology 20
5 Credits          Weekly (6-0-0)

Biology 20 is equivalent to Alberta Learning's Biology 20. The course deals with major concepts of systems, equilibrium, energy and matter. The major topics include cell dynamics, cellular pathways, the biosphere, cellular matter and energy flow, matter and energy exchange in ecosystems, and matter and energy exchange by the human organism.

Prerequisites: Minimum Grade of D in SCIE 010.

BIOL 030
Biology 30
5 Credits          Weekly (6-0-0)

Biology 30 is equivalent to Alberta Learning's Biology 30. The course concentrates on many aspects of the human body - its function and maintenance. The major topics include the nervous system, hormones and controls, reproduction and human development, cell division and classical genetics, heredity and molecular genetics, population dynamics and populations and communities.

Prerequisites: Minimum Grade of D in BIOL 020.

BIOL 101
Current Issues in Human Biology
3 Credits          Weekly (3-0-0)

This course enables students to discover, discuss, and analyze topics in biology that are of current concern. Students apply the scientific method and critical thinking to topics in human biology. Topics may include, but not be limited to: genetics, biotechnology, human diseases, immunology and vaccination. Note: This course cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained in BIOL 207 or BIOL 208.

BIOL 102
Nutrition and the Body
3 Credits          Weekly (3-0-0)

This course is designed to develop both content knowledge and critical thinking in basic nutrition. Physiological processes and how these are affected by various nutrients are considered. Possible topics include energy balance (weight loss and gain), the influence of nutrition on chronic disease and physical fitness. Note: This course cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained in BIOL 207 or BIOL 208.

BIOL 103
Humans and Their Environment
3 Credits          Weekly (3-0-0)

This course provides an overview of global and local environmental issues that have accompanied the population growth of humans. Principal areas in which critical decisions are now required are identified. Detailed case studies of specific environmental topics compare Canada (a developed country) with a developing country. Note: This course is intended for students that are not majoring in ecology or environmental science, and cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained in BIOL 207 or BIOL 208.

BIOL 107
Introduction to Cell Biology
3 Credits          Weekly (3-3-0)

The smallest unit of life is the cell. This course provides an introduction to the biology of the cell. Major topics include the chemical composition of cells, characterization of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells at both a structural and functional level, and energy transfer within the cell. The evidence leading to the elucidation of DNA as the genetic material is examined as are the processes which govern the flow of genetic information in the cell. Note: BIOL 107 and BIOL 108 may be taken in either order.

Prerequisites: Biology 30 and Chemistry 30.

BIOL 108
Organisms in Their Environment
3 Credits          Weekly (3-3-0)

From the origin of life on earth through the evolution of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms this course examines the diversity of life on earth. Using a phyletic approach to classification, the major taxonomic groups of organisms are introduced. These include prokaryotes, numerous protists, plants, fungi, and animals. Features that adapt these organisms to their environment are emphasized using Darwinian evolution as the underlying principle. Note: BIOL 108 and BIOL 107 may be taken in either order.

Prerequisites: Biology 30.

BIOL 201
Eukaryotic Cellular Biology I
3 Credits          Weekly (3-0-0)

This course provides an overview of the eukaryotic cell with a detailed dissection of selected aspects at the structural and functional levels. Emphasis is on protein targeting and transport within endomembrane and non-endomembrane systems, endocytotic and exocytotic pathways, cellular signaling pathways, biological membranes, and the cytoskeleton. Primary and review literature is used to elucidate cellular processes and advances in cell biology.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in BIOL 107 and in any 100-level CHEM.

BIOL 205
Principles of Molecular Biology
3 Credits          Weekly (3-3-0)

This course provides an introduction to the molecular mechanisms for the propagation and expression of the genome in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems. The application of modern molecular biological techniques to the study of gene structure, function and regulation are discussed. Basic techniques in molecular biology are introduced in the laboratory.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in BIOL 107.

BIOL 207
Principles of Genetics
3 Credits          Weekly (3-3-0)

This course provides an introduction to the fundamental principles of inheritance through an examination of transmission, distribution, arrangement, and alteration of genetic information. Topics include the structure of the genetic material, mutational processes, Mendelian inheritance, extensions to Mendelian inheritance, genetic linkage and linkage mapping, recombination and changes in chromosome structure. The emphasis throughout is on application of concepts to solve problems.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- BIOL 107.

BIOL 208
Principles of Ecology
3 Credits          Weekly (3-3-0)

Ecology is the study of the interactions between organisms and their environment. These include interactions at the individual, population, community, and ecosystem levels. Topics presented include: abiotic and biotic factors that form an organism's environment, models of population growth and factors controlling growth, competition and predator-prey interactions in communities, energy flow and nutrient cycling in ecosystems. Laboratories emphasize collection, analysis, interpretation, and communication of ecological data.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in BIOL 108.

BIOL 211
Introduction to Microbiology
3 Credits          Weekly (3-3-0)

This course deals with the cell structure and physiology of microorganisms. Major topic areas include the structural and functional characterization of microbial groups, the metabolic diversity of microbes, factors affecting microbial growth, and environmental sensing and response of microbes. Throughout the course, examples of economically and medically important applications of microbes are used to illustrate major concepts. Laboratory exercises introduce students to common microbiological techniques used in environmental microbiology, molecular microbiology, and microbial biotechnology.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in BIOL 207 and in any 100-level CHEM course.

BIOL 300
Eukaryotic Cellular Biology II
3 Credits          Weekly (3-3-0)

This course is a continuation of the structural and functional analysis of eukaryotic cells initiated in Biology 201. Emphasis is on understanding and applying the tools and techniques used by cell biologists to investigate cellular processes at both theoretical and practical levels. Regulation of the cell cycle, tissue formation and intercellular junctions, cellular differentiation and death, and cancer mechanisms are discussed.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in BIOL 201 and in BIOL 205.

BIOL 310
Freshwater Ecology
3 Credits          Weekly (3-3-0)

This course examines the adaptations and ecological roles of bacteria, fungi, plants, protists, and animals that inhabit streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. Abiotic and biotic interactions that contribute to freshwater ecology are discussed. Discussions will emphasize, but not be limited to, Alberta environments. The laboratory exposes students to a number of empirical techniques commonly used in studying and measuring ecological processes in aquatic systems.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in BIOL 208.

BIOL 312
Terrestrial Ecology
3 Credits          Weekly (3-3-0)

This course examines the abiotic and biotic interactions that contribute to the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems and landscapes. Principles of ecosystem and landscape ecology will be discussed. Topics include: soils, energy and nutrient cycling, plant productivity, climate patterns and impacts, and causes and consequences of landscape structure. Discussions will emphasize, but not be limited to, Alberta environments. The laboratory focuses on a range of techniques used in studying and measuring ecological processes in terrestrial systems, and the critical evaluation, analysis and effective communication of ecological information.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in BIOL 208.

BIOL 313
Animal Developmental Biology
3 Credits          Weekly (3-3-0)

Students explore how molecular and cellular mechanisms work together to drive the development of vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Discussion topics include gene regulation and expression related to ontogeny. The laboratory focuses on quantifying these mechanisms and explores animal models of development.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in BIOL 201 and in BIOL 205.

BIOL 314
Population Ecology
3 Credits          Weekly (3-1-0)

This course offers an in depth examination of the central principles of population ecology and current practical applications in this field. Topics include population structure, demographics and dynamics, foraging theory, life history evolution, interspecific interactions and applications to species harvesting, control, conservation and recovery. The laboratory focuses on quantitative modeling techniques commonly used to model population parameters and dynamics.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in BIOL 208 and in any one of MATH 114, MATH 120, or MATH 125.

BIOL 315
History of Biology
3 Credits          Weekly (3-0-1)

This course traces the scientific foundations of biological discovery from the ancient Greeks to the present. The course presents the origins and evolution of modern concepts in biology and introduces students to the people that were largely responsible for these ideas.  The course involves a major written component involving critical evaluation of biological literature, an oral presentation and peer work.  Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions. Note: This course is intended for students in their 3rd year of study.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in 6 credits of 200-level BIOL of which one must be BIOL 207 or BIOL 208.

BIOL 316
Community Ecology
3 Credits          Weekly (3-1-0)

Students explore the patterns and processes determining the structure, function and dynamics of ecological communities. Topics include ecological interaction networks, species coexistence, community succession and stability, metacommunities, causes and consequences of biodiversity variation, and applications related to resource management, restoration, conservation, and community-level responses to global environmental change. The laboratory focuses on quantitative techniques commonly used to describe and model community dynamics in space and time.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade C- in BIOL 208 and in any one of MATH 114, MATH 120, or MATH 125.

BIOL 321
Mechanisms of Evolution
3 Credits          Weekly (3-0-0)

This course introduces the major principles of biological evolution including micro and macroevolutionary processes. Students gain a basic understanding of population genetics, variation, natural selection, adaptation, coevolution, speciation, and extinction.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in BIOL 108 and BIOL 207.

BIOL 323
Introduction to Population Genetics
3 Credits          Weekly (3-0-0)

This course is a comprehensive examination of population genetics, emphasizing the statistical foundation of evolutionary theory. The importance of identifying the patterns of genetic variation within and between populations, and the evolutionary forces behind the variation are emphasized. Problem-solving in seminar sessions  familiarize students with the mathematics behind the models.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in BIOL 207 and BIOL 208.

BIOL 337
Biostatistics and Research Design
3 Credits          Weekly (3-3-0)

This course introduces students to the methods and steps used in biological experimental design, data collection, organization, analysis, and presentation of biological data. Evaluation of different sampling designs and the benefits and limitations of various data types for testing biological hypotheses are discussed. A wide variety of statistical tests are compared and contrasted. Laboratory activities illustrate how database, spreadsheets, and statistical software are used in data analysis.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in any 200-level BIOL course and STAT 151.

BIOL 361
Marine Biology
3 Credits          Weekly (3-3-0)

This course provides an introduction to the adaptations of organisms that live in various marine habitats. The essential physical features of the marine environment are considered as well as overviews of the diversity of marine prokaryotes, protists, plants, and animals. The community ecology of marine organisms and the threats to and human impacts on oceans are discussed. The laboratory emphasizes the identification of a variety of marine organisms and includes an optional field trip to a coastal area. Note: ZOOL 250 is strongly recommended.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in BIOL 208.

BIOL 365
Tropical Rainforest Ecology
3 Credits          Total (20-70-0)

This course provides an introduction to the biodiversity and ecology of organisms found in the world's most biologically rich ecosystem, the tropical rainforest. The physical and biotic forces that contribute to this incredible diversity are investigated, and the most serious threats to the conservation of the tropical rainforest ecosystem are explored. The course includes a field trip to the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the lowland rainforest of eastern Ecuador, a visit to a high-elevation cloud forest in the Andes, and travel to other biological and cultural sites in Ecuador.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in BIOL 208 and consent of the department.

BIOL 367
Conservation Biology
3 Credits          Weekly (3-0-0)

This course introduces the principles of conservation biology with an emphasis on ecological processes operating at population, community, and ecosystem levels of organization. Threats to biological diversity, ranging from species introductions to habitat destruction will be discussed along with conservation solutions ranging from the design of protected areas through conservation legislation. The course involves a major oral presentation and peer work. Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in BIOL 208.

BIOL 371
Animal Behaviour
3 Credits          Weekly (3-3-0)

This course provides students with a biological and ecological approach to the general question of "how and why animals behave as they do." The primary focus is on the biological and evolutionary processes that shape behaviour in general. An additional important objective is to clearly differentiate between proximate and ultimate explanations of behaviour.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in BIOL 208 or in PSYC 373 with consent of the department.

BIOL 385
Wildlife Forensics
3 Credits          Weekly (3-3-0)

This course examines the use of molecular biology and other biological techniques in wildlife forensics. Genetic markers and the technologies employed to characterize them are discussed. Emphasis is on the questions, as they pertain to wildlife management, that can be addressed through the application of DNA-based and other biological methods. Extensive use is made of scientific literature to illustrate specific examples of the value and usefulness of wildlife forensics in wildlife conservation and management.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in BIOL 207 and ZOOL 225.

BIOL 399
Honours Proposal
3 Credits          Total (0-0-60)

Under the direction of a faculty supervisor, the student explores a specific topic in depth through a comprehensive and critical review of the scientific literature. Based on the literature review, the student develops a detailed proposal for an independent research project. Students participate in group discussions of scientific literature. To be granted enrollment in the course, the student must have made prior arrangements with a faculty supervisor. Note: This is a required course for the biological science honours designation and only available for enrollment by students registered in the honours program.

BIOL 410
Techniques in Field Ecology
3 Credits          Weekly (0-6-0)

This course provides students with experience in designing an ecological research project and collecting biological information in a field setting. Students gain skills in a range of field techniques and research design methods commonly used to study various biota in terrestrial, freshwater, and/or wetland ecosystems. Students collect, analyze, and communicate field data using various methods, critically evaluate the field techniques, and design and carry out an independent research project culminating in a final scientific paper. Note: This course may be taken up to two times, provided the course project is different.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in any two of BIOL 310, BIOL 312, BIOL 314, BIOL 337, or BIOL 371.

BIOL 413
Advanced Animal Developmental Biology
3 Credits          Weekly (3-0-0)

Building on their knowledge of animal developmental biology, students review, analyze, and discuss topics in the primary literature related to inductive mechanisms that determine the growth and development of embryos. Emphasis is placed on regulation of morphogenetic processes to establish the animal body plan. Topics may include evolutionary developmental biology, tissue regeneration, and environmental and/or teratogenic influences on embryo development. Examples from invertebrate and vertebrate animals are discussed.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in BIOL 313.

BIOL 414
Invasion Ecology and Management
3 Credits          Weekly (3-0-0)

Biological invasions are increasing in frequency worldwide and are a leading cause of global biological change, with significant impacts on ecosystem function, economic resources, and human health. In this course, students synthesize and communicate their ecological knowledge as they explore the causes, consequences, prevention, and management of biological invasions in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Research approaches in invasion ecology through critical analyses of primary literature will be emphasized; discussion will emphasize local invasive species.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in any two of BIOL 310, BIOL 312, BIOL 314, BIOL 316, BIOL 323, BIOL 365, BIOL 367, BIOL 371, and BOTN 305.

BIOL 421
Techniques in Molecular and Cellular Biology
3 Credits          Weekly (0-6-0)

This is a laboratory-based course in current molecular, biochemical, and cell biology techniques with an emphasis on the isolation, analysis, characterization and expression of genes and gene products. An understanding of the theory and application of experimental methods and skills in the analysis and presentation of experimental data is developed through work in a project-based research setting. Projects vary and are announced prior to registration. Note: This course may be taken up to two times, provided the course project is different.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of B- in BIOL 205 and in any two of BICM 310, BICM 320, BICM 330, BIOL 300, BIOL 313, GENE 369, GENE 370 or consent of the department.

BIOL 422
Methods in Experimental Ecology
3 Credits          Weekly (0-6-0)

This is a project based course, using current ecological methods with emphasis on collection and analysis of quantitative data. This course develops students’ understanding of ecological theory and application of experimental methods. Skills in the analysis and presentation of data are developed through work in a laboratory or field-based research setting. Projects vary and are announced prior to registration. Note: This course may be taken up to two times, provided the course project is different.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of B- in BIOL 208 and in BIOL 337, and at least one of: BIOL 310, BIOL 312, BIOL 314, BIOL 365, BIOL 367, or BIOL 371.

BIOL 430
Pathobiology: The Cellular Basis of Disease
3 Credits          Weekly (3-0-0)

This course is an investigation of pathological changes to cells and tissues as they manifest in human disease. Building on their knowledge of cell biology, students review, analyze, and discuss topics from the primary literature related to the cellular mechanisms that drive disease pathogenesis. Selected disease therapies are explored. Topics may include cancer, aging, physiology, immunology, microbiology, and virology. Note: BICM 320 Recommended.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in BIOL 300.

BIOL 492
Field Placement
3 Credits          Total (0-0-45)

This course offers students experience in a biological laboratory and/or a field setting. Supervised by a cooperating agency, organization, or institution, in conjunction with a faculty member, students apply their knowledge and skills to practical assignments in a specific area of biological sciences. Note: This course is intended for students in the final year of their degree. Enrolment is dependent on availability of appropriate field placements.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in a 300-level BIOL course relevant to the field placement and with consent of the department.

BIOL 495
Special Topics
3 Credits          Weekly (0-0-3)

This course involves reading, discussing and critically evaluating current research on specialized topics of interest to senior students in Biological Sciences. Topics covered vary with the interests of students and faculty. Students should consult with faculty members in the Department of Biological Sciences for details regarding current offerings. Note: This course is intended for students in the final year of their degree. This course may be taken up to two times.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of B- in 300-level BIOL relevant to the special topic.

BIOL 498
Advanced Independent Study
3 Credits          Total (0-0-72)

In this course, students plan, conduct, and communicate the results of an independent research project in Biological Sciences under the direction of a faculty supervisor. Registration is contingent on the student having made prior arrangements with a faculty member willing to supervise the research. Note: This course is intended for students in the final year of their degree. This course may be taken up to two times for credit.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of B- in 300-level BIOL relevant to the proposed research.

BIOL 499A
Honours Thesis I
3 Credits          Total (0-0-72)

In this course, students plan, conduct, and communicate the results of an independent research project in Biological Sciences under the direction of a faculty supervisor. Registration is contingent on the student having made prior arrangements with a faculty member willing to supervise the research. Note: This course is intended for students in the final year of their degree. This course is open only to students in the Biological Sciences honours program. Students complete BIOL 499A and BIOL 499B in consecutive terms.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of B- in a 300-level course in BIOL relevant to the proposed research and a minimum grade of B- in BIOL 399.

BIOL 499B
Honours Thesis II
3 Credits          Total (0-0-72)

In this course, students plan, conduct, and communicate the results of an independent research project in Biological Sciences under the direction of a faculty supervisor. Registration is contingent on the student having made prior arrangements with a faculty member willing to supervise the research. Note: This course is intended for students in the final year of their degree. This course is open only to students in the Biological Sciences honours program. Students complete BIOL 499A and BIOL 499B in consecutive terms.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of B- in a 300-level course in BIOL relevant to the proposed research and a minimum grade of B- in BIOL 399.