Biological Resources Focus

The biological resources focus area addresses the ecological and organism processes that produce and maintain biodiversity. Courses examine the genetic, physiological, population, and community-level processes that can influence the distribution and abundance of species.

Biological resources can prepare students for careers including environmental education, natural resource management, wildlife biology, forestry, and fisheries.

Some focus courses available include:

  • animal behavior
  • behavioral ecology and sociobiology
  • comparative ecophysiology
  • biology of algae
  • plant systematics and evolution
  • invertebrate zoology
  • fish ecology and evolution
  • evolution and ecology of birds
  • plant ecology
  • conservation biology
  • marine biology
  • genetics

Recommended Focus Courses

BIO SCI 289 - Internship in Biological Sciences, Lower Division (1-6 units; U)
Application of basic principles of biological sciences in a business, organizational, educational, political, or other appropriate setting. Specific topics may satisfy major area req; consult dept. One cr earned for academic work based on 40 hrs in internship. Retakable to 6 cr max; combined limit of 3 cr in Bio Sci 289 & 489 counts toward Bio Sci major. Prereq: intro course in Bio Sci; 2.50 gpa; cons supervising faculty member.
BIO SCI 315 - Cell Biology (3 units; U)
Cell structure and function at the molecular level. Flow of material, energy, and information within prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. 3 hrs lec. Cell & Molec Bio; Microbio. Prereq: grades of C or better in both Bio Sci 152(P) & Chem 104(P).
BIO SCI 325 - Genetics (4 units; U)
Principles of inheritance. Fundamental concepts of genetics. 3 hrs lec, 2 hrs dis. Cell & Molec Bio; Microbio. Prereq: grade of C or better in Bio Sci 150(P); Bio Sci 152(C) or 203(P); Chem 104(C).
BIO SCI 358 - Birds of Wisconsin (2 units; U)
Bird taxonomy and ecology, including the identification of Wisconsin birds. 4 hrs lab & field work. Field trip schedules (if any) and fees will be announced in class. Prereq: jr st; Bio Sci 150(P).
BIO SCI 370 - Animal Physiology (3 units; U)
Cellular and organ system physiology and comparative aspects of structure-function relationships. Cell & Molec Bio. Prereq: Bio Sci 315(P) or cons instr.
BIO SCI 383 - General Microbiology (4 units; U)
Nature and properties of microorganisms. Molecular biology and genetics of bacteria and viruses. Major groups, ecological relationships, and taxonomy. 3 hrs lec, 4 hrs lab. Cell & Molec Bio; Microbio. Prereq: grade of C or better in Bio Sci 325(P) or cons instr; Chem 341(C) or 343(C).
BIO SCI 406 - Marine Biology (3 units; U/G)
Marine biology with a strong ecological focus; physical and chemical constraints that marine environments impose on organisms; specialized adaptations of marine organisms in response. 3 hrs lec, 1 hr dis. Prereq: jr st; grades of C or better in Bio Sci 152(P) & 310(C) or consent of instructor.
BIO SCI 407 - Plant Systematics and Evolution (3 units; U/G)
Survey of important plant families; plant systematic theory, current techniques in data collection and analysis. 2 hrs lec/dis; 4 hrs lab. Prereq: jr st; Bio Sci 152(P); Bio Sci 310(C) or 325(C); or grad st; or cons instr.
BIO SCI 430 - Animal Behavior-Ethology (3 units; U/G)
Animal behavior from the biologist's point of view, relating species-characteristic behavior to environment, internal function, ontogeny, and evolution. 3 hrs lec/dis. Prereq: jr st; Bio Sci 310(P) or 316(C).
BIO SCI 458 - Community Ecology (3 units; U/G)
Theories and models in community ecology. Analysis of biological communities emphasizing the origin, maintenance and consequences of species diversity within local communities. Prereq: jr st; Bio Sci 152(P) & 310(P) or cons instr; or grad st.
BIO SCI 465 - Biostatistics (3 units; U/G)
Simple distribution; statistical inference; simple regression theory; experimental design; analysis of variance and covariance as they relate to biology. Prereq: jr st; Bio Sci 150(P); Math 105(P).
BIO SCI 475 - Tropical Biology: (3 units; U/G)
Ecology and biogeography of various types of tropical forests, including required field trip to area being studied. Required field trip at participants' expense. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: jr st; BioSci 310(P); cons instr.
BIO SCI 480 - Ecological Genetics (3 units; U/G)
Origin and maintenance of genetic variation within and among populations. Fundamental theory and application to ecology and conservation. 3 hrs lec/dis. Prereq: jr st, Bio Sci 310(P) & 325(P); or equiv.
BIO SCI 489 - Internship in Biological Sciences, Upper Division (1-6 units; U)
Application of advanced principles of biological sciences in a business, organizational, educational, political, or other appropriate setting. Specific topics may satisfy major area req; consult dept. One cr earned for academic work based on 40 hrs in internship. Retakable to 6 cr max; combined limit of 3 cr in Bio Sci 289 & 489 counts toward Bio Sci major. Prereq: jr st; 300-level or above course in Bio Sci; 2.50 gpa; cons supervising faculty member.
BIO SCI 500 - Plant Physiology (3 units; U/G)
Major biological activities of plants; including growth, development, and metabolism. 3 hrs lec/dis. Cell & Molec Bio. Prereq: jr st; Bio Sci 325(P); Bio Sci 310(P) or 315(P) or cons instr.
BIO SCI 505 - Conservation Biology (3 units; U/G)
Genetic and ecological approaches to the conservation of biological diversity. Topics include biology of rare plants and animals, design of nature reserves, and restoration ecology. 3 hrs lec. Prereq: jr st; Bio Sci 152(P) & 325(260)(P).
BIO SCI 511 - Ichthyology (3 units; U/G)
The diverse biology of fishes focusing on behavioral, biomechanical, genetic, and physiological adaptations to diverse ecological systems. Bio Sci 511 & FrshWtr 511 are jointly offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: jr st; grade of C or better in Bio Sci 310(P); or cons instr.
BIO SCI 512 - Limnology I (3 units; U/G)
The ecology of freshwater ecosystems as influenced by physical and chemical processes. Prereq: jr st; Bio Sci 150(P) & 152(P), course in chem; or cons instr.
BIO SCI 523 - Evolution and Ecology of Birds (3 units; U/G)
Study of the origin and maintenance of diversity in birds. Topics include systematics, biogeography, life-history behavior, and conservation. 3 hrs lec. Prereq: jr st; Bio Sci 152(P) & 310(P).
BIO SCI 532 - Behavioral Ecology (3 units; U/G)
Behavioral adaptations of organisms in relation to their environment, including social organization, territoriality, cooperation and conflict, parental care, breeding strategies, foraging. Prereq: jr st; Bio Sci 310(P).
BIO SCI 540 - Microbial Diversity and Physiology (3 units; U/G)
Physiology, ecology, and diversity of microorganisms. 3 hrs lec. Cell & Molec Bio; Microbio. Prereq: jr st; Bio Sci 383(P).
BIO SCI 562 - Topics in Field Biology: (1-2 units; U/G)
Intensive mini-course on applied and basic field biology topics, e.g. vegetation sampling; natural area management; wetland delineation; identification, ecology of a taxon. On-line component; 2 or more days (depending on topic) in-person instruction. Retakable w/chg in topic to 6 cr max. Prereq: jr st; Bio Sci 310(P) or equivalent; add'l prereqs may be required depending on topic.
BIO SCI 611 - Seminar on Recent Advances in Limnology and Oceanography: (2 units; U/G)
Lectures and discussion of current issues in limnology and oceanography; focus on a specific issue or research topic. Retakable w/chg in topic to 6 cr max. Prereq: jr st; Bio Sci 512(P) or cons instr.
CIV ENG 492 - Environmental Impact Assessment (3 units; U/G)
Study and evaluation of the impacts of large scale projects on the quality of the environment with emphasis on the assessment of physical and community impacts. Impact statement preparation. Prereq: sr st.
ECON 328 - Environmental Economics (3 units; U)
Evaluating public policy of environmental and natural resources. Regulation of pollution, endangered species, natural resources, and other case studies. Prereq: Econ 103(P).
FRSHWTR 502 - Aquatic Ecosystem Dynamics (3 units; U/G)
Interdisciplinary, quantitative approach to understanding large lake dynamic processes, including geological formation, hydrology, hydrodynamics, chemistry and the dynamics of plankton and fish communities. Prereq: jr st; 1 sem calculus or algebra; 2 sem Physics, Chem, or Bio Sci; or cons instr.
GEOG 340 - Biogeography (3 units; U)
An introduction to the geography of the biosphere, the earth's surface, and the plants and animals which live there. Prereq: jr st; a physical geog or a biology course recom.
GEOG 475 - Geography of Soils (3 units; U/G)
Systematic and regional study of soils, interrelationships of soils with the physical and cultural landscape. 2 hrs lec, 2 hrs lab. Prereq: jr st; Geog 120(P), 121(P), or 125(P) or equiv.
GEO SCI 697 - Seminar in the Geological Sciences: (1-3 units; U/G)
Specific credits and add'l prereqs announced in Schedule of Classes each time course offered. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: jr st.