Academic Calendar

BIOL – Biology

BIOL 020
Biology 20
5 Credits

Biology 20 is equivalent to Alberta Education'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, evolution and natural selection, cellular matter and energy flow, matter and energy exchange in ecosystems, and matter and energy exchange by the human organism.

Prerequisites: SCIE 010 or equivalent.

BIOL 030
Biology 30
5 Credits

Biology 30 is equivalent to Alberta Education'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: BIOL 020 or equivalent.

BIOL 101
Current Issues in Human Biology
3 Credits

This course explores “hot topics” in biology. Topics may include genetics, biotechnology, human diseases, immunology, and vaccines. Students evaluate valid and non-valid sources of information and build the skills to apply this knowledge in everyday life. 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

Misinformation about diet is ubiquitous in popular culture. This course teaches the skills to evaluate valid and non-valid sources of nutritional information. The course explores food selection, metabolism, nutrients, and impacts of diet on health. 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

This course provides an overview of global and local environmental issues that have accompanied human population growth. The course will explore examples of where critical actions are required to resolve environmental issues. Case studies compare environmental issues across countries. Note: This course 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

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.

Prerequisites: Biology 30 and Chemistry 30.

BIOL 108
Organisms in Their Environment
3 Credits

From the origin of life on earth through the evolution of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms, this course examines biological diversity. Using a phylogenetic approach to classification, the major taxonomic groups of organisms are introduced. Features that adapt these organisms to their environment are highlighted. Darwinian evolution and associated mechanisms are emphasized throughout.

Prerequisites: Biology 30.

BIOL 201
Eukaryotic Cellular Biology I
3 Credits

This course studies eukaryotic cellular processes including protein targeting and transport, secretion and endocytosis, and cellular signaling pathways. Common experimental techniques used to study cellular processes are discussed. Students dissect aspects of cellular function by interpreting examples of data from primary literature.

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

BIOL 205
Principles of Molecular Biology
3 Credits

This course develops an understanding of 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 is emphasized. Basic techniques in molecular biology, data collection, and data analysis are fundamental to the laboratory component.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in BIOL 107.

BIOL 207
Principles of Genetics
3 Credits

This course introduces principles of inheritance and explores the relationship between genotype and phenotype. Topics include the structure and replication of DNA, mutation, simple inheritance, genetic linkage, and gene interactions. Key historical experiments and the scientists responsible for them are discussed. The laboratory provides opportunity to investigate genetic principles using a variety of model organisms.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in BIOL 107.

BIOL 208
Principles of Ecology
3 Credits

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, and energy flow and nutrient cycling in ecosystems. Laboratories emphasize collection, analysis, interpretation, and communication of ecological data.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in BIOL 108.

BIOL 211
Introduction to Microbiology
3 Credits

This course introduces the cell structure, physiology, and metabolism of microorganisms. Students investigate how microbes interact with their environment and with humans through examples of economically- and medically-important microbes. The ability to communicate this information to a non-scientific audience is developed through written work. Laboratory projects develop competency in key techniques common to microbiological research and diagnostic labs.

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

BIOL 300
Eukaryotic Cellular Biology II
3 Credits

Students apply cell biology techniques to analyze eukaryotic cell function. A theoretical understanding of these techniques is used to discuss topics including cellular differentiation, the cytoskeleton, cell cycle regulation, tissue formation, and cancer mechanisms. Practical competency in techniques is developed in relevant laboratory projects. Students evaluate their own experimental results as well as data within primary literature and communicate their findings in both written and oral form.

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

BIOL 310
Freshwater Ecology
3 Credits

This course explores a range of freshwater ecosystems including lakes, rivers, groundwater, and a spectrum of wetland types with emphasis on Alberta environments. An examination of the physical and chemical aspects of water and nutrients is conducted. Adaptations and ecological roles of microbes, fungi, plants, and higher organisms are discussed. Critical abiotic and biotic interactions are considered. Laboratory and field activities introduce common techniques for collecting, studying, and measuring organisms and ecological processes in freshwater systems.

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

BIOL 312
Terrestrial Ecology
3 Credits

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

Students explore how molecular and cellular mechanisms drive the development of vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Topics include differential gene regulation, intercellular communication, and morphogenesis related to development. Laboratory activities allow students to observe embryos and manipulate animal developmental processes.

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

BIOL 314
Population Ecology
3 Credits

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

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, 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: Minimum grades of C- in two 200-level or higher Biological Sciences courses, of which one must be BIOL 207 or BIOL 208.

BIOL 316
Community Ecology
3 Credits

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 317
Biotechnology and Society
3 Credits

Students examine topical biotechnology applications such as, but not limited to, gene edited and genetically engineered food, de-extinction, biobanking, and prenatal genetic testing. This course emphasizes a scientific understanding of these applications, while considering social, legal, and ethical perspectives that influence their use. Contemporary issues are examined within a historical context. A Canadian perspective will be emphasized within the global context.

Prerequisites: Minimum grades of C- in BIOL 207 and BIOL 208.

BIOL 321
Mechanisms of Evolution
3 Credits

This course examines the major principles of biological evolution including micro- and macroevolutionary processes. Students gain a fundamental understanding of phylogeny and systematics, genetic variation at the individual and population level, natural selection, adaptation, coevolution, speciation, and extinction.

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

BIOL 323
Introduction to Population Genetics
3 Credits

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

Statistics is a cornerstone of biological research. This course introduces students to the methods used in 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 variety of statistical tests are compared and contrasted. Laboratory activities include developing effective means of data collection and understanding how databases, spreadsheets, and statistical software are used in data analysis, including the presentation of results.

Prerequisites: Minimum grades of C- in STAT 151 and in any 200-level BICM, BIOL, BOTN, or ZOOL.

BIOL 361
Marine Biology
3 Credits

Over 70% of our planet is covered by ocean. If you can imagine a life form, it likely exists in the oceans. We now recognize our oceans are no longer a vast inexhaustible resource and play a vital role in the health of the biosphere. This course explores the organisms and their adaptations to habitats from the deep sea to open ocean to intertidal habitats. Students will design research proposals to address knowledge gaps and debate human impacts on the oceans. This course includes an optional field trip to a coastal area.

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

BIOL 365
Tropical Rainforest Ecology
3 Credits

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

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

This course provides students with an evolutionary and ecological approach to the general question of "how and why animals behave as they do." The primary focus is on the structural and functional processes that shape a variety of behaviours. Students will differentiate between proximate and ultimate explanations of behaviour and create testable hypotheses for each.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in BIOL 208 or in PSYC 358 and with consent of the department.

BIOL 399
Honours Proposal
3 Credits

In collaboration with a faculty mentor, the student develops a proposal for their Honours research project. In seminar, students evaluate primary literature through discussion of experimental design across a range of biological disciplines. Note: This course is restricted to students enrolled in the Biological Sciences Honours program. Consent of the department is required to enrol.

BIOL 410
Techniques in Field Ecology
3 Credits

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 topic is different.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in any two of BOTN 305, BIOL 310, BIOL 312, BIOL 314, BIOL 316, BIOL 337, BIOL 365, or BIOL 371, and consent of the department.

BIOL 413
Current Topics in Animal Developmental Biology
3 Credits

Students explore primary literature related to mechanisms that determine the growth and development of embryos. Emphasis is placed on regulation of processes that establish the animal body plan. Topics may include evolutionary developmental biology, tissue regeneration, and environmental and/or teratogenic influences on embryo development.

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

BIOL 414
Invasion Ecology and Management
3 Credits

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, or BOTN 405.

BIOL 421
Techniques in Molecular and Cellular Biology
3 Credits

This is a guided laboratory research project in which students engage in scientific inquiry. The theory and application of techniques in molecular and cellular biology are used to develop and test hypotheses in a collaborative research environment. An emphasis on scientific writing allows students to communicate their analyses of experimental results. Note: Course projects vary and are announced prior to registration. The course may be taken up to two times, provided the course project is different.

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

BIOL 422
Methods in Experimental Ecology
3 Credits

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

This course investigates pathological changes to cells and tissues as they manifest in human disease. Selected disease therapies are explored. Students review, analyze, critique, and discuss topics from the primary literature related to the cellular mechanisms that drive disease pathogenesis. Oral presentation, peer review, and group work skills are emphasized. The specific cellular processes examined change based on student interest and recent topics of importance within the field. Note: BICM 320 recommended.

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

BIOL 492
Field Placement
3 Credits

This course provides students with experience in a professional setting where they develop skills and engage in professional conduct. Students will reflect on the roles and responsibilities of biologists in society, as well as on ethical challenges relevant to the placement. Students will communicate regularly with their faculty mentor. Enrolment is dependent on availability of appropriate field placements and a faculty member willing to act as a mentor.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in at least one 300-level Biological Sciences course; specific prerequisites may be required according to the field placement and with consent of the department.

BIOL 495
Special Topics
3 Credits

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

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: A minimum grade of B- in at least one 300-level Biological Sciences course; faculty mentors may require specific prerequisites according to the project needs.

BIOL 499A
Honours Thesis I
3 Credits

In this course, students develop research skills by conducting an independent research project in collaboration with a faculty mentor. This work will culminate in an Honours Thesis and public presentation. Students complete BIOL 499A and 499B in consecutive terms.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of B- in BIOL 399.

BIOL 499B
Honours Thesis II
3 Credits

In this course students develop research skills by conducting an independent research project in collaboration with a faculty mentor. This work will culminate in an Honours Thesis and public presentation. Students complete BIOL 499A and 499B in consecutive terms.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of B- in BIOL 399.