Biology

Biology bridges the physical and social sciences in the study of living systems and how they interact - both with each other and the nonliving world. Western's Biology program provides broad training in the biological or life sciences and the rapidly advancing knowledge at the discipline’s forefront.

In addition to general biology, Western offers programs in the following areas:

What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?

You will take a core of basic courses and choose one of five different emphases for your major. No matter your path, the biology program provides you with an excellent background for graduate and professional school, or for employment in biological science. Student successes include conducting independent, cutting-edge research and presenting at conferences.

Beyond the Classroom

Through hands-on activities at our outstanding indoor laboratories and in the living laboratory of the Gunnison Basin, you will work side by side with your faculty to explore wildlife biology, conservation, developmental biology, evolutionary ecology, aquatic ecology, virology and genomics.

After Graduation

Our small classes mean you receive individual attention and faculty mentoring, making Western's biology program ideal for career preparation, or for medical, professional or graduate school. We’ll help you find your future in the life sciences.

Courses

 BIOL 130 - ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY GSC2 (3 credits)

An introduction to basic biological principles as they apply to interactions between organisms and their environment. Consideration is given to biotic and abiotic interactions, energy flow, biogeochemical cycling, population growth, biodiversity, basic cell biology, genetics, and evolution with a special emphasis on human impacts on these biological systems. This course establishes a strong foundation in applied biology from a scientific perspective.

 BIOL 135 - ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY LAB GSC1 (1 credits)

An experimental approach in both the field and laboratory to explore fundamental biological principles including biotic and abiotic interactions, energy flow, biogeochemical cycling, population growth, biodiversity, basic cell biology, genetics and evolution. Prerequisite or corequisite: BIOL 130.

 BIOL 150 - BIOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES GSC1 (4 credits)

An introduction to the central unifying concepts of biology including the biochemical foundations of life, cell structure and function, cell metabolism, genetics, and evolution. Laboratories introduce students to the process and methods of science through investigative experiences. This course is designed for the science major. Prerequisites: A year of high school biology

 BIOL 150 - BIOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES LAB (0 credits)

An introduction to the central unifying concepts of biology including the biochemical foundations of life, cell structure and function, cell metabolism, genetics, and evolution. Laboratories introduce students to the process and methods of science through investigative experiences. This course is designed for the science major. Prerequisites: A year of high school biology

 BIOL 151 - DIVERSITY PATTRNS OF LIFE GSC1 (4 credits)

An overview of organismal diversity and ecology. Through a taxonomic survey, students are introduced to prokaryotic and eukaryotic diversity including microorganisms, plants, and animals. Organismic anatomy and physiology, as well as fundamentals of ecology, are also considered. Laboratories introduce students to the process and methods of science through investigative experiences. This course is designed for the science major. Prerequisites: A year of high school biology and a year of high school chemistry or CHEM 111.

 BIOL 151 - DIVERSITY PATTERNS OF LIFE LAB (0 credits)

An overview of organismal diversity and ecology. Through a taxonomic survey, students are introduced to prokaryotic and eukaryotic diversity including microorganisms, plants, and animals. Organismic anatomy and physiology, as well as fundamentals of ecology, are also considered. Laboratories introduce students to the process and methods of science through investigative experiences. This course is designed for the science major. Prerequisites: A year of high school biology and a year of high school chemistry or CHEM 111.

 BIOL 301 - GENERAL ECOLOGY (3 credits)

An introduction to basic ecological principles and their relationships to natural systems. Human impact on the natural systems is assessed. Prerequisites: BIOL 150 and BIOL 151

 BIOL 302 - ECOLOGY LABORATORY RECITATN (2 credits)

An experimental approach in both field and laboratory to explore fundamental ecological principles. Students gather and analyze data to address ecological hypotheses, learn practical ecological skills (performing field techniques, using statistical and graphical tools, and interpreting ecological software), and develop oral and written communication skills. Prerequisites: BIOL 150, BIOL 151, and CHEM 113. Prerequisite or corequisite: BIOL 301.

 BIOL 310 - CELL BIOLOGY (3 credits)

An introduction to cellular function and structure. Prerequisites: BIOL 150 and BIOL 151. Prerequisite or corequisite: CHEM 231 or CHEM 331

 BIOL 312 - GENETICS W RECITATION (4 credits)

A course in Mendelian inheritance, linkage, chromosomal aberrations, molecular genetics, gene regulation, genetic engineering, and population genetics. Prerequisites: BIOL 301, BIOL 310, CHEM 105, and CHEM 109

 BIOL 327 - FIELD ENTOMOLOGY W LAB (4 credits)

An introduction to the world of the most diverse and abundant form of animal life on Earth through an experiential, field, and laboratory class. The course emphasizes field study, collection and preservation, identification, ecology, and natural history. Prerequisite: BIOL 301 or instructor permission.

 BIOL 342 - MICROBIOLOGY WITH LAB (4 credits)

An introduction to microbial morphology, identification, physiology, genetics, and microbiology laboratory techniques. A brief consideration is given to fungi. Prerequisites: Biology Nucleus

 BIOL 362 - EVOLUT BIOLOGY-THEORY APPLIC (3 credits)

This course provides a comprehensive overview of evolutionary processes and mechanisms within an applied framework. Evolutionary perspectives in human health and medicine,environmental and conservation biology, agriculture and natural resource management, and biotechnology are covered. Topics include organismic adaptation to changing environments and long-term responses to environmental perturbation, and insights into many issues of growing social importance such as climate change, land use change, and emerging diseases. Prerequisites: BIOL 312

 BIOL 372 - HUMAN ANATO PHYSIOLOGY I LAB (0 credits)

An introduction to regulatory mechanisms which maintain normal body function. Specific topics include cytology, histology, integumentary system, skeletal system, muscular system, and nervous system. The course is designed for allied health and exercise and sport science students. Prerequisites: BIOL 150

 BIOL 372 - HUMAN ANATOMY PHYSIOLOGY I (4 credits)

An introduction to regulatory mechanisms which maintain normal body function. Specific topics include cytology, histology, integumentary system, skeletal system, muscular system, and nervous system. The course is designed for allied health and exercise and sport science students. Prerequisites: BIOL 150

 BIOL 444 - COLORADO ECOREGIONS (3 credits)

A survey of the three main ecoregions of Colorado including the Great Plains, the Southern Rocky Mountains, and the Colorado Plateau. Students travel throughout Colorado and explore the ecology and natural history of the ecosystems by hiking, backpacking, and river rafting. Content includes an evolutionary perspective on ecosystem features and the adaptations of species characterizing each system, as well as applied issues in natural resources management. Prerequisite: BIOL 301 or instructor permission.

 BIOL 481 - FOREST ECOLOGY W LABORATORY (4 credits)

Ecology of forest species, communities, landscapes, and ecosystems, with a focus on the Gunnison Basin. Topics include tree physiology, species interactions, fire and disturbance, succession, forest types, climate, forest management and restoration. Labs and field trips will provide hands-on experience and practical skills in tree identification, forest mensuration, vegetation sampling, statistics and GIS. Students will develop and conduct independent/group research projects. Prerequisites: BIOL 301, MATH 213

 BIOL 495 - SR SEM: CLIMATE CHANGE ECOLOGY (1 credits)

An examination of biological subdisciplines through an investigation of the primary literature. The professional practices, procedures, and standards of the subdiscipline are discussed. This course may be repeated for credit and must be taken twice to fulfill the Capstone Course requirement. Graded Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory only. Prerequisites: Biology Nucleus and MATH 213.

 BIOL 495 - SR SEM: MAMMAL SIZE ECOLOGY (1 credits)

An examination of biological subdisciplines through an investigation of the primary literature. The professional practices, procedures, and standards of the subdiscipline are discussed. This course may be repeated for credit and must be taken twice to fulfill the Capstone Course requirement. Graded Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory only. Prerequisites: Biology Nucleus and MATH 213.

 BIOL 495 - SR. SEM: EPIGENOMICS (1 credits)

An examination of biological subdisciplines through an investigation of the primary literature. The professional practices, procedures, and standards of the subdiscipline are discussed. This course may be repeated for credit and must be taken twice to fulfill the Capstone Course requirement. Graded Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory only. Prerequisites: Biology Nucleus and MATH 213.

 BIOL 495 - SR. SEM: PLANT BEHAVIOR (1 credits)

An examination of biological subdisciplines through an investigation of the primary literature. The professional practices, procedures, and standards of the subdiscipline are discussed. This course may be repeated for credit and must be taken twice to fulfill the Capstone Course requirement. Graded Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory only. Prerequisites: Biology Nucleus and MATH 213.

Scholarships

Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309.

 Charlesworth, William Memorial Scholarship

Available to:
The applicant has applied to and has been accepted for admission to Western State Colorado University and is pursuing a major in mathematics or related natural sciences. The applicant has demonstrated a need for financial assistance. The applicant has demonstrated an interest and is active in inter-collegiate athletics. Preference should be given to entering freshmen; however, all classes, freshmen through senior, are eligible. Preference should be given to applicants whose study time is limited by family obligations or the need to earn income. No preference should be given based on the sex of the applicant. Preference should be given to applicants from Delta County, Colorado, or from the Western Slope of Colorado.

Provided by:
Established with the Western State Colorado University Foundation to perpetuate the memory of William Charlesworth, a 1954 graduate of Western State Colorado University. The express purpose of the fund is to provide financial assistance to student-athletes pursuing majors in mathematics or related natural sciences.

Amount:
Award depends on funds available.

Selected by:
Chaired by the chairman of Mathematics and Computer Information Science and shall include a representative from the Athletic Department appointed by the Athletic Director. A representative from the Natural Sciences Deptartment shall be on the selection committee.

Application:
Contact the Mathematics and Computer Information Science Department or the Athletic Department for application and deadline information.

MCIS Department: (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128

Athletic Department: (970) 943-2079 - Paul Wright Gym 201

 Ferchau, Hugo A. Memorial Scholarship

Available to:
A full-time student at Western State Colorado University. Must maintain a cumulative GPA average of 3.0 and have obtained at least sophomore status. Must demonstrate an interest and capability to pursue studies and/or research in the area of botany and native plant research. Preference will be given to those with financial need.

Provided by:
Family and friends to honor Dr. Ferchau for the never-ending assistance he gave to students at Western.

Amount:
Award depends on funds available (Anticipated award $2400).

Selected by:
Sciences Scholarship Selection Committee.

Application:
Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128

 Lawrence, A. W. Memorial Scholarship

Available to:
Students majoring in Biology or Chemistry.

Provided by:
Family and friends of Aubrey W. Lawrence who served as Professor of Chemistry and Chairman of the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics.

Amount:
Award depends on funds available.

Selected by:
Science Scholarship Selection Committee.

Application:
Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128

 Light, Dr. Mason and Betty Scholarship

Available to:
Recipient must be a junior or senior and a full-time student attending Western State Colorado University for the term following the scholarship award; must have obtained at least a 3.0 GPA; must be engaged in pre-medical studies.

Provided by:
Dr. Mason Light, who served the college community for over forty years while he was a practicing physician in Gunnison. He and his wife established this scholarship.

Amount:
Award depends on funds available.

Selected by:
Donor Scholarship Committee (Family of Mason Light) in cooperation with Western State Foundation and the Director of Financial Aid.

Application:
Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128

 Mckenny, Casey James Memorial Scholarship

Available to:
Full-time students at Western who are Juniors or Seniors (qualified Juniors shall be given preference over Seniors). Must be a declared major in Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences. Must maintain a GPA of 3.2 or greater. Recipients must follow Casey's example of academic promise, love for the outdoors and service to fellow students demonstrated by volunteering in the community and involvement in campus activities and service.

Provided by:
Gifts by Bill and Monica McKenny, Casey's parents, as well as other family members and friends.

Amount:
Award depends on funds available.

Selected by:
Western NAES faculty in consultation with the Dean of Students and Bill and Monica McKenny.

Application:
Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128.

 Nauman, James D. Scholarship

Available to:
Full-time, Colorado residents who have a major in a field within the Department of Natural & Environmental Sciences. Must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 and demonstrated financial need.

Provided by:
Dr. James Nauman, who attended Western from 1945-49.

Amount:
Award depends on funds available.

Selected by:
Sciences Scholarship Selection Committee.

Application:
Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128

 Walker, C. Ralph and Florence Memorial Scholarship

Available to:
Full-time students at Western State Colorado University; must have declared a major in Biology, Chemistry or Physics.

Provided by:
Gifts from members of the Walker family to perpetuate the memory and to commemorate the service and devotion of C. Ralph and Florence Walker who both served the College and the Gunnison community in an exemplary manner for many years. Professor Walker was Chairman of Western's then Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Amount:
Award depends on funds available.

Selected by:
Sciences Scholarship Selection Committee.

Application:
Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Professor of Biology
B.A., University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D., University of North Texas
Phone: (970) 943-3405
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143C
Professor of Biology
B.A., University of Vermont; M.A., Ph.D., University of Colorado.
Phone: (970) 943-3355
Office Location: Hurst Hall 222
Assistant Professor in Biology and Environment & Sustainability
B.A., Biology, University of California–Santa Cruz, 1995, Ph.D., Botany, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2005
Phone: (970) 943-2565
Office Location: Kelley Hall 105
B.A., Colorado College, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder
Phone: (970) 943-2543
Office Location: Hurst Hall 16D
Professor of Biology
B.S., St. Joseph’s University; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University.
Phone: (970) 943-2094
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238B
Assistant Professor of Biology
B.A., University of Colorado; B.A., University of Colorado; Ph.D., University of Oregon
Phone: (970) 943-2552
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238C
Biology Laboratory Coordinator
B.A., Western State College of Colorado; M.S., San Francisco State University.
Phone: (970) 943-2437
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143B
Thornton Chair in Biology
B.S, Colorado State University. M.S., University of Missouri; Ph.D., University of Missouri.
Phone: (970) 943-7121
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143A
Associate Professor of Biology
B.S., Allegheny College; Ph.D., Dartmouth College.
Phone: (970) 943-3181
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238A
B.S., Louisiana State University, M.S., University of Kansas, Ph.D., University of Kansas
Phone: (970) 943-2015
Office Location: Hurst Hall 128
Lecturer in Biology
B.A., University of Boulder , M.A., University of Denver and Health Sciences, Ph.D., University of Denver and Health Sciences
Phone: (970) 943-2145
Office Location: Hurst Hall 218
Emeritus Professor of Biology
B.S., University of California-Davis; Ph.D., University of Idaho.
Phone:
Office Location: