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Graduate courses offered by the Department of Biology are listed below. The list is divided into two thematic areas: Environmental Biology and Evolutionary Biology, plus miscellaneous other courses. Of the required non-dissertation course work for doctoral students, at least 9 credit-hours must be completed in environmental biology and 9 in evolutionary biology; this requirement does not apply to master’s students, who can choose from any course on the list (with advisor approval).

Environmental Biology

  • 407(G). ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY. (3, 3, 4). Overview of occurrence of pollutants in aquatic and terrestrial environments and the atmosphere, pollutant dynamics and metabolism, and pollutant effects on biota at different organizational levels. Laboratory centers on methodology, instrumentation, and other practical aspects. Prereq: BIOL 110, 111; CHEM 107, or permission of instructor required.

  • 408(G). PLANT PHYSIOLOGY (3, 0, 3). Water relations, mineral nutrition, respiration, photosynthesis and light regulation, phytohormones, and movements of plants.

  • 409(G). PLANT PHYSIOLOGY LABORATORY. (0, 5, 2). Laboratory exercises on quantitative physiological effects and enzyme, protein, light and hormonal control. Coreq: BIOL 408(G)

  • 412(G). CONSERVATION BIOLOGY AND BIODIVERSITY. (3, 0, 3). Application of ecological and evolutionary theory to the management of rare and threatened species, communities, and ecosystems. Emphasis on human threats to wildlife species and habitats. Prereq: BIOL 203.

  • 415(G). BIOGEOGRAPHY. (3, 0, 3). Integration of concepts of ecology, evolutionary biology, geology, and physical geography relative to distribution of species.

  • 418(G). MICROSCOPY THEORY AND APPLICATIONS. (3, 0, 3). Includes light, electron, fluorescence, and scanning probe microscopy. Emphasis on computer-based acquisition and processing of images. Prereq: BIOL 110, CHEM 108.

  • 423(G).  NEUROBIOLOGY. (0, 3, 1). Nervous system structure, development, cell types, and function. This course will review the cellular physiology of sensory systems, Neural and glial physiology, major circuits, response to environment, evolutionary relationships, neurobiology of behavior and nervous system disorders.

  • 424(G).  NEUROBIOLOGY LABORATORY. (0, 3, 1). Lab component to Neurobiology.  Instructor: Smith, Karen Time: W 1:00 - 3:50 PM VLW 409

  • 427(G). EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN AND ANALYSIS. (3, 2, 4). Fundamentals of designing and implementing field experiments from the initial planning stage to data analysis, interpretation, and publication.

  • 428(G). THE HISTORY OF ECOLOGICAL MODELING. (1, 0, 1). Modeling and applications of mathematical models to ecological questions.

  • 440(G). ESTUARINE ECOLOGY & COASTAL MARINE BIOLOGY. (3, 3, 4). Ecological processes in coastal marine environments from estuaries to the continental shelf. Focus on ecological interactions among organisms and their environment; influence of the land-sea interface on community dynamics; and current and emerging issues in coastal marine ecosystems. Required weekend field trip. Prereq: BIOL 203, CHEM 108.

  • 441(G). LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY. (3, 3, 4). Origins, geology, physics, chemistry, and biological productivity of inland water bodies, estuaries, and oceans. Laboratory centers on methodology, instrumentation, and other practical aspects of freshwater and marine studies; required field trips. Prereq: BIOL 203, 204, CHEM 108.

  • 446(G). FISH ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT. (3, 3, 4). Biotic interactions among fishes and their environment and effects of conservation and management practices on fish ecology, ecosystem function, and human well-being. Prereq: BIOL 203, BIOL 360.

  • 457(G). ADVANCED CELL BIOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Mechanisms and pathways responsible for membrane transport, metabolism, gene expression, protein synthesis and secretion, membrane trafficking, cytoskeleton dynamics, and cell signaling. Prereq: BIOL 212 and 8 hours of BIOL.

  • 458(G). ADVANCED CELL BIOLOGY LABORATORY. (0, 4, 2). Molecular basis of fundamental processes. Emphasis on experimentation using live cells. Coreq: BIOL 457(G).

  • 461(G). AQUATIC AND WETLAND VASCULAR PLANTS. (2, 4, 4). Identification, ecology, and adaptations of vascular aquatic and wetland plants.

  • 480(G). MARINE MICROBIOLOGY. (2, 0, 3). Ecology, function, and physiology of marine microorganisms.

  • 481(G). MARINE MICROBIOLOGY LABORATORY. (0, 3, 1). Sampling and culturing of microorganisms from the sea.

  • 482(G). COMPARATIVE PHYSIOLOGY. (2, 4, 4). Comparative aspects of regulatory, metabolic, and sensory physiology in animals. Emphasis on adaptations to environmental stress. Integrated laboratory. Prereq: Biol 325 or if prerequisites not met permission of instructor required.

  • 502. QUANTITATIVE ECOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Quantitative methods for analysis in Ecological studies including ecological models, model selection, maximum likelihood estimation, and mark-recapture analysis.

  • 503. ECOLOGICAL MODELS AND DATA. (3, 0, 3). Presents advanced statistical techniques that are a framework for comparing alternative mechanistic ecological models to empirical data. The combination of statics and models provides a quantitative basis for inferring the processes at work in an ecological system.

  • 504. ADVANCED MICROSCOPY. (1-3). Tutorial research methods in contemporary microscopy. Restr: Permission of instructor required.

  • 575. STATISTICAL ECOLOGY. (4, 0, 4). Design, analysis, and presentation of results of ecological experiments and field studies, with emphasis on hypothesis testing and statistical modeling. Prereq: STAT 417(G) or permission of instructor required.

  • 580. MARINE ECOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Discussions of basic principles of marine ecology, including productivity, dynamics of populations, factors affecting distribution, and interactions between organisms.

  • 590. ANALYTICAL TECHNIQUES. (3-6). Training in the use of advanced research instrumentation including chromatography, fluorometry, image analysis and data interpretation. Restr: Permission of instructor required.



  • 615. BIOCHEMICAL ADAPTATION TO THE ENVIRONMENT. (3, 0, 3). Modification of basic biochemical structure and function that enable organisms to exist in extreme environments; enzymatic and metabolic adaptation to hypoxia, salinity, temperature, pressure, humidity and light.

Evolutionary Biology

  • 403(G). FUNDAMENTALS OF VIROLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Structure, assay, classification, biochemistry and molecular biology of viruses.

  • 405(G). MAMMALOGY. (3, 2, 4). Emphasis on structure, classification, distribution, life history, evolution, and identification of mammals of the world. Participation in extended field trips is required. Restr: Permission of instructor required.

  • 413(G). HERPETOLOGY. (3, 4, 4). Biology of amphibians and reptiles, including studies of diversity, evolution, behavior, ecology, physiology, and conservation. Laboratory focuses on diversity, systematics, biogeography, and conservation. Required field trips. Prereq: BIOL 203 or permission of instructor required.

  • 414(G). ORNITHOLOGY. (3, 3, 4). Avian evolution, ecology, physiology, and behavior. Laboratories include required field trips and focus on identification, life history, and conservations of birds. Prereq: BIOL 215. Restr: Permission of instructor required.

  • 425(G). DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Basic embryology, molecular aspects of development, and some model developmental processes including the controls of differentiation, regeneration and pattern formation. Prereq: 12 hours of BIOL.

  • 426(G). DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY LABORATORY. (0, 3, 1). Observation and experimentation using embryos of sea urchin, frog and chick. Histological preparations. Coreq: BIOL 425(G).

  • 433(G). PLANT SYSTEMATICS AND BIODIVERSITY. (3, 2, 4). Origin, evaluation, and relationship of flowering plants. Prereq: BIOL 333. Restr: If prerequisites not met permission of instructor required.

  • 434(G). HISTOLOGY. (2, 4, 4). Study of vertebrate tissues. Prereq: BIOL 111.

  • 436(G). COMPARATIVE VERTEBRATE MORPHOLOGY. (3, 3, 4). Evolution of vertebrate organ systems and morphology in terms of ontogenetic origins, structure, function, and adaptation. Laboratory dissection of vertebrates. Prereq: BIOL 203, 233.

  • 445(G). ICHTHYOLOGY. (2, 4, 4). Classification, zoogeography, and evolution. Includes ecological factors affecting fish community structure, adaptations of specialized fish fauna, including those of deep sea, epipelagic, polar, and coral reef habitats. Required field trips. Prereq: BIOL 203, 204. Restr: If prerequisites not met permission of instructor required.

  • 453(G). MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR ENGINEERING. (3, 3, 4). Fundamental concepts of genetic engineering as they are currently being applied to the development of superior strains of microbes, plants, and animals for use in industry and biomedicine. Prereq: BIOL 325, CHEM 317. Coreq: BIOL 454(G). Restr: If prerequisites not met permission of instructor required.


  • 455(G). MOLECULAR BIOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Structure, function and evolution of biological systems at the molecular level with emphasis on gene structure and regulation. Prereq: 12 hours of BIOL.

  • 485(G). MARINE BOTANY. (4). Comparative study of marine and coastal algae, including classification, morphology, life cycles, and ecology. Emphasis on field and laboratory studies. Restr: 16 hours of biology and permission of instructor required.

  • 501. POPULATION GENETICS. (3, 0, 3). Theoretical and empirical approaches to the genetics processes in natural populations. Topics include models of selection, inbreeding, and genetic drift as well as methods for the estimation of population genetic parameters.

  • 507. MOLECULAR EVOLUTION. (3, 0, 3). Phylogenetic variations in DNA, RNA, proteins, and polysaccharides in plants and animals; genetic basis of evolutionary diversity.

  • 519. ADVANCED INVERTEBRATE ZOOLOGY. (3, 3, 4). Evolution, comparative structure, functional adaptation and life history of invertebrate animals, excepting insects. Readings focus on current research literature. Laboratory centers on diversity and comparative structure. Restr: Permission of instructor required.

  • 526. ADVANCED MICROBIAL PHYSIOLOGY AND GENETICS. (3, 0, 3). Microbial nutrition, growth, metabolic reactions and control mechanisms. Prereq: BIOL 261 or permission of instructor required.

  • 542. EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Ecological processes as phenomena that are subject to evolutionary change. Topics include optimality theory, predator-prey interactions, life-history strategies, sexual selection, and sociality. Prereq: A course in statistics.

  • 554. ADVANCED PATHOGENIC MICROBIOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Mechanisms of bacterial virulence functions in mounting infections in vertebrate hosts and evasion of their immune responses. Functional adaptation and evolution of virulence functions from related structures of nonpathogenic species.

  • 558. EVOLUTION AND ADAPTATION OF THE ARTHROPODS. (2, 4, 4). Studies center on the significance of arthropodization and subsequent adaptations in form and function; convergence and homology are discussed in perspective of modern phylogenetic schemes; habitats and symbiotic relationships are discussed in the course of examining life histories. Laboratory emphasizes morphology, taxonomy, systematic literature, and field studies.

  • 559. SYSTEMATIC METHODS. (2, 4, 4). Lectures emphasize uses and interpretation of various data sources for classification. Laboratories emphasize acquisition of methods and skills such as chromosomal analysis, enzyme electrophoresis, restriction enzyme analysis of nucleic acids, phenetic and cladistic analysis using computer software.


  • 609. BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Evolutionary game theory, optimal foraging theory, sexual selection theory, and kin theory.

  • 670. EVOLUTIONARY PROCESSES. (3, 0, 3). In-depth consideration of processes of micro- and macroevolution with emphasis on current theoretical debates including the claim of tautology, units of selection, punctuated equilibrium, adaptationism and evolutionary constraints, modes of speciation. Prereq: BIOL 501.

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Other Courses

These courses do not count toward the 9+9 requirement.

  • 550. COLLOQUIUM IN BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES. (1, 0, 1). Attendance and participation in seminars covering research topics in biology. Restr: Required for all graduate students throughout their residence. Grading option: S/U.

  • 551-552. GRADUATE SEMINAR I, II. (1, 0, 1 ea.). Variable topic seminar designed to provide experience in proper presentation of scientific papers and in scientific criticism. Topics emphasize current biological problems.

  • 560. ADVANCED PROBLEMS IN BOTANY. (2-6). Research problems in plant science in areas other than that of the student's thesis or dissertation.

  • 561. ADVANCED PROBLEMS IN ZOOLOGY. (2-6). Research problems in zoology in areas other than that of the student's thesis or dissertation.

  • 564. TOPICS IN MARINE SCIENCE. (1-6). Advanced lecture, laboratory, and field work on a selected topic in the marine sciences at a coastal laboratory of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) Restr: Permission of advisor and instructor required.

  • 565. SPECIAL PROBLEMS IN MARINE SCIENCE, GRADUATE. (2-6). Directed research and study at Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) or other departmentally approved coastal laboratory. Restr: Permission of advisor and instructor required.

  • 595. SPECIAL PROJECTS. (1-6). Training/research project in areas other than that of the student’s thesis or dissertation. Content varies and alternate subtitles will appear on the student’s transcripts. See Current Course Offerings for upcoming topics. Restr: Permission of instructor required.

  • 599. THESIS RESEARCH AND THESIS. (1-9). Grades: S, U, W.


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