Jul 14, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

Biology Department


Jacob L. Kerby, Chairperson
191 Churchill-Haines Laboratories
(605) 658-6543
biology@usd.edu 

www.usd.edu/biology

FACULTY

Professors:

Mark D. Dixon, Landscape and Plant Ecology, Riparian Ecosystems 
Jacob L. Kerby, Ecotoxicology, Conservation Biology, Behavioral Ecology, Disease Ecology
Karen L. Koster, Plant Stress Physiology, Cell Biology, Seed Biology
Daniel A. Soluk, Aquatic Ecology, Behavioral Ecology, Conservation Biology
Cliff H. Summers, Neuroendocrinology, Reproductive Biology, Vertebrate Stress Physiology
David L. Swanson, Physiological Ecology of Vertebrates, Ornithology, Vertebrate Cold Adaptation
Jeff Wesner, Food Webs, Aquatic Ecology, Community and Ecosystem Ecology, Ecotoxicology

Associate Professors:

Christopher V. Anderson, Functional Morphology, Biomechanics, Muscle Physiology, and Physiological Ecology
Andrea L. Liebl, Ecological Physiology, Stress Physiology, Ecological Epigenetics, Animal Behavior, Cooperation
Bernie Wone, Metabolism, Aging, Metabolomics, Functional Genomics, Abiotic Stress, and Biostatistics

 Assistant Professors:

Yohaan Fernandes, Ph.D., University of Toronto. Specializations: Behavioral Neuroscience, Behavioral Genetics, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Gene by Environment Interactions and Effects on Behavior
Ranjeet John, Ph.D. University of Toledo. Specializations: Landscape and Ecosystem Ecology, Biogeography, Ecological Modeling, Remote Sensing
Omera B. Matoo, Ph.D., University of North Carolina. Specializations: Ecological and Evolutionary Physiology

Lecturer:

James Ladonski, Survey of Biology, General Biology

Instructors:

Laura Dixon, Introductory Laboratory Coordinator, GTA Supervisor
Beate Wone, Genetics, Histology, Cell Biology, General Biology

Emeritus Professors:

Hugh B. Britten, Population Genetics, Evolution, Conservation Biology
Kaius Helenurm,  Plant Conservation Genetics, Evolution of Island Plants
Paula Mabee, Developmental Biology, Systematics, Ichthyology, Informatics
Kenneth J. Renner, Neuroendocrinology, Reproductive Physiology
Lynn Riley, Introductory Biology, Botany, Genetics, Plant Ecology

MAJORS:

Biology, B.S., Human Dynamics Specialization 
Medical Biology, B.S.  
Conservation Biology, B.S. 
Physiology, Cell & Molecular Biology, B.S. 

SPECIALIZATIONS:

Human Dynamics Specialization-Biology, B.S.

MINORS:

Biology

Conservation & Biodiversity

The Department of Biology offers courses that provide a broad background in biology, as well as concentrations in particular areas. The teaching and research interests of the faculty are diverse, ranging from physiology and cell biology to ecology and evolution. Particular strengths of the department include conservation biology, environmental stress physiology, neuroendocrinology, and population and evolutionary ecology.  

Four majors are offered by the Department of Biology. Students who complete one of the majors within Biology are nationally competitive for graduate programs. 

  1. The Biology major offers a specialization in Human Dynamics and is a broad-based degree that provides many options for our students. The Human Dynamics Specialization is linked with the 3+3 program in Physical Therapy which provides students in that program with a head start into a professional degree.  
  2. Conservation Biology serves students interested in ecology, evolution, systematics, conservation biology, wildlife/fisheries biology, and other areas of biology. This major also complements the Sustainability major for those wishing to complete a double major.  
  3. Physiology, Cell and Molecular Biology is recommended for students interested in careers in medicine, other health professions, biomedical engineering, biomedical research, physiology, cell and molecular biology, and biotechnology. Outside of biology, graduates also pursue interdisciplinary careers such as public policy and law, pharmaceutical development and sales, education, and bioethics. 
  4. Medical Biology provides a more specialized focus for students intending to pursue careers in medicine and health-related fields. The curriculum is designed to help students achieve the competencies recommended for entrance to medical school. This major also provides training for students interested in pursuing graduate or professional degrees in health care, biotechnology, physiology, and cellular and molecular biology. The Medical Biology major includes a number of courses offered by the Sanford School of Medicine. 

In addition, to its majors, the Department of Biology offers a minor in Biology and a more specialized minor in Conservation and Biodiversity. Both minors are open to any USD undergraduate who is not a Biology major, except Medical Biology majors may not add a general minor in Biology.  The minor in Conservation and Biodiversity provides additional depth in biology that is particularly suited for students majoring in Sustainability and others with an interest in ecology or natural resources.

For more information about the department, please check our web site.

SCHOLARSHIPS

Please contact the department for additional information about available scholarships and awards. Also see College of Arts & Sciences  for college/school level scholarships.

  • Biology Department Scholarship Fund
  • Dr. Edward P. & Nellie A. Churchill Scholarship
  • Janet Rogge Dugle Biology Scholarship 
  • Dr. Bruce & Ila Lushbough Scholarship 
  • Nelson Family Scholarship
  • Nolop Institute Scholarship for Medical Biology
  • Gladys Ripper Scholarship 
  • Scholars in Medical Biology
  • Webster Sill Scholarship
  • Lucile B. Wendt Memorial Scholarship 

Student Learning Outcomes for Biology (B.S.)

  1. Students will design, evaluate, and implement a strategy to answer an open-ended question or achieve a desired goal. 
  2. Students will recognize when there is a need for information and identify, locate, evaluate and effectively and responsibly use and convey that information to address the need or problem at hand. 
  3. Students will interact with other students and evaluate the effort put into team tasks, interactions with others, and the quantity and quality made to team discussions. 
  4. Students will comprehensively explore issues, ideas, artifacts and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion, and combine or synthesize existing ideas, images or expertise in original ways reflecting a high degree of innovation, divergent thinking, and risk taking. 
  5. Students will be able to systematically explore issues, objects or works through the collection and analysis of evidence that results in informed conclusions or judgments, and break down complex topics or issues into parts to gain a better understanding of them. 
  6. Students will demonstrate that they have developed understanding of core concepts appropriate to biology.  Students are expected to demonstrate basic understanding of five core concepts deemed relevant to all biology students: Evolution, Structure/Function Relationships, Information Flow, Energy Transformations, and Interactions of Systems.    Understanding as it relates to each specialization (either (a) Conservation & Biodiversity, or (b) Physiology, Cell & Molecular Biology) will be assessed in the courses particular to that specialization. 
  7. Students will demonstrate their ability to apply the processes of science.   
  8. Students will demonstrate proficiency in a laboratory or field setting appropriate to their specialization. 
  9. Students will demonstrate competency in quantitative reasoning, and analysis, evaluation, and interpretation of data. 
  10. Students will demonstrate that they can write effectively in a manner appropriate to biology.

Student Learning Outcomes for Conservation Biology (B.S.)

  1. Students will demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge of biological concepts to solve novel problems or develop hypotheses appropriate to conservation. 
  2. Students will demonstrate the ability to identify, use, and cite scientific literature appropriate for the conservation thesis being studied (ecology and evolution). 
  3. Students will demonstrate the ability to collect and appropriately analyze data associated with a theoretical or applied conservation question. 
  4. Students will understand the core concepts relevant to an understanding of biology as a discipline. 

Student Learning Outcomes for Medical Biology (B.S.)

  1. Students will be able to systematically explore issues, objects or works through the collection and analysis of evidence that results in informed conclusions or judgments, and break down complex topics or issues into parts to gain a better understanding of them. 
  2. Students will recognize when there is a need for information and identify, locate, evaluate and effectively and responsibly use and convey that information to address the need or problem at hand. 
  3. Students will interact with other students and evaluate the effort put into team tasks, interactions with others, and the quantity and quality made to team discussions. 
  4. Students will comprehensively explore issues, ideas, artifacts and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion, and combine or synthesize existing ideas, images or expertise in original ways reflecting a high degree of innovation, divergent thinking, and risk taking. 
  5. Students will design, evaluate, and implement a strategy to answer an open-ended question or achieve a desired goal. 
  6. Students will be able to apply quantitative reasoning and appropriate mathematics to describe or explain phenomena in the natural world. 
  7. Students will understand the process of scientific inquiry and explain how scientific knowledge is discovered and validated. 
  8. Students will understand and apply core knowledge relevant to biomedical science.  (These combined core knowledge areas are listed in Supplementary Table 2.  A more detailed list is given in Supplementary Table 3.)

Student Learning Outcomes for Physiology, Cell, and Molecular Biology (B.S.)

  1. Students will demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge of biological concepts to solve novel problems or develop hypotheses appropriate to biology. 
  2. Students will demonstrate the ability to identify, use, and cite scientific literature appropriate for the biological thesis being studied. 
  3. Students will demonstrate the ability to collect and appropriately analyze data associated with a theoretical or applied biological questions. 
  4. Students will understand the core concepts relevant to an understanding of biology as a discipline. 

Programs