Page Settings

  • Show menu: true
  • Use horizontal menu: true
  • Show sidebar: right
  • Page class: staticSubnav
  • Skip to main content

    Organismal Biology and Ecology

    Applicable for the 2020-2021 academic year.

    Organismal Biology and Ecology Website

    Professors HATHAWAY, LINKHART, SNYDER; Associate Professors GRAY, HESCHEL, WILSON; Assistant Professor JABAILY; Visiting Associate Professor DRUMMOND; Visiting Assistant Professor KHORSAND.

    The Department of Organismal Biology and Ecology (OBE) studies the structure and function of organisms in an ecological and evolutionary context. OBE encompasses cross-disciplinary approaches such as physiological ecology, evolutionary ecology, systematics, and biogeography, which all provide complementary insights into the processes of evolutionary diversification and adaptation to life on earth.

    Our research foci include botany, animal and plant ecology, comparative physiology, conservation biology, and molecular ecology. We strive to perform cutting-edge research and include students in these opportunities.

    Download the Major's Handbook for Organismal Biology and Ecology for all information pertinent to our major.

    Major Requirements

    THE OBE MAJOR: SHORT GUIDE – 15 units

    1. Twounits - Introductory Organismal Biology: BE105 Biology of Plants and/or BE106 Biology of Animals and/or BE107 Biology of Microbes
    2. One unit - Ecology: BE208
    3. One unit - Intro to Molecular and Cellular Biology: MB131
    4. One unit - Population Genetics or Genetics: BE280Population Genetics or MB201 Laboratory in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Genetics
    5. Threeunits - Chemistry: CH107 General Chemistry and CH108 General Chemistry II and CH250 Structures of Organic Molecules
    6. Twounits - Mathematics: one in calculus and one in statistics OR math modeling
    7. Fiveapproved OBE Electives: at least three must be upper-level and one of the three must be a capstone course in your last two semesters at CC.
    8. Attend and write abstracts for 3 OBE-approved seminars – first abstract is due junior year!! BEGIN EARLY!!

    THE OBE MAJOR: FULL GUIDE – 15 units

    1. (2) Twounits in Introductory Organismal Biology:
      • BE105Biology of Plants, AND/OR
      • BE106Biology of Animals, AND/OR
      • BE107Biology of Microbes
      • Note: AP/IB credit cannot replace these organismal courses (but may count towards a lower level elective or as credit for MB131), see below
    2. (1) BE208 Ecology
    3. (1) MB131Intro to Molecular and Cellular Biology
      • An IB-HL score of 6-7 fulfills this requirement or may count as one lower-level elective credit; a Biology AP score of 5 does not fulfill this requirement but does count as one lower-level elective credit.
    4. (1) One unit in Population Genetics or Genetics:
      • BE280 Population Genetics, OR
      • MB201 Lab in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Genetics
    5. (3) Threeunits in Chemistry:
      • CH107 General Chemistry I, AND
      • CH108General Chemistry II, AND
      • CH250 Structures of Organic Molecules
      • If you have Chemistry AP or IB credit on your transcript, you may obtain OBE credit by receiving a high score on your bypass exam for CH107. Ask the Chemistry Department to notify your OBE advisor about your score on the bypass exam.
      • Note: Graduate schools often require BOTH CH250 and CH251 Reactions of Organic Molecules.
    6. (2) Twounits in Mathematics:
      • Oneunit of calculus from:
        • MA126Calculus I, OR
        • MA127Calculus I and II accelerated, OR
        • MA129Calculus II, OR
        • AP or IB creditrecognized by the registrar in calculus
        • Note: The Mathematics Department website has a flowchart to assist you in deciding on the most appropriate class for you (see “Mathematics,” “Resources,” “deciding on your first CC math class”).
      • Oneunit of statistics or math modeling from:
        • BE220Biostatistics and Experimental Design, OR
        • MA256 Mathematical Models in Biology, OR
        • MA117Probability and Statistics, OR
        • MA217Probability and Statistical Modeling, OR
        • EV228Analysis of Environmental Data, OR
        • AP or IB creditrecognized by the registrar in statistics
        • Note: While the statistics/modeling requirement is fulfilled by AP credit in statistics, students with this AP credit will benefit from taking BE220.
    1. (5) Fiveapproved OBE Electives:
      • Of these 5, at least 3 must be upper level (300 or 400) and at least two of your upper level electives must be a BE course;
      • One of these upper-level BE electives will be your senior capstone coursethis requirement must be completed in the last two semesters prior to graduation. The following courses count as capstone:
        • BE409 (if it meets the “Senior Capstone” requirements - ask the faculty member supervising your research);
        • BE499 Senior thesis;
        • BE308, BE365, BE366, BE367, BE370, BE390, BE410, BE412, BE415, BE421, BE475, BE332, BE440 (check with your advisor as options vary from year to year).
      • You may ONLY choose electives from the following:
        • All BE courses (EXCEPT BE100), all MB courses (the FYE MB109 only counts as 1 elective) AN207, AN306, CH382, EV422, GY205, HK204, HK304, or HK321.
        • Up to TWO research blocks (BE309/BE409/BE499) may count as electives.
        • BE280 may count as an upper-level elective IF taken after MB201 or MB231.
        • AP/IB Biology credit may count as one unit of lower level elective credit (ask your advisor).
        • Note: you may petition the department to consider other courses (such as new offerings) to count as electives.
    1. Three Seminar abstracts: attend three OBE-approved seminars as a junior/senior, summarize each in an abstract (see appendix III for example), and submit each abstract electronically to both Donna Sison and your advisor no later than the first Monday of the block following the seminar. Students must turn in at least their first abstract by the end of junior year.

    Courses

    Organismal Biology & Ecology

    BE100 Studies in Organismal Biology and Ecology

    Presents students not majoring in organismal biology and ecology with inquiries into contemporary issues and phenomena in the biological sciences. Activities include lectures, readings, discussions, and laboratory or field experiences. May not be counted toward a OBE major. (May meet the laboratory/field requirement for critical perspectives.)

    1 unit — Gray, Snyder, Wilson

    BE101 Biology and Chemistry of the Colorado Wetlands

    (Summer only 2020-21).

    .75 units

    BE105 Biology of Plants

    The study of plants with an emphasis on the flowering plants. Relationships between form and function, growth and development and evolutionary and ecological relationships are examined with attention given to the chemical bases of plant life, the fundamentals of metabolic pathways, and the integrative nature of plant structures from cellular to ecological levels. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement.

    Prerequisite: Strong high school Chemistry highly recommended.

    1 unit — Heschel, Jabaily, Khorsand

    BE106 Biology of Animals

    An introduction to the biology of invertebrate and vertebrate animals. Evolution and functional architecture of animal body plans, patterns of structure and function, survival strategies, principles of animal ecology and evolution, and phylogeny of animal groups examined through lab, discussion, and investigative activities. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement.

    Prerequisite: Strong high school chemistry highly recommended.

    1 unit — Gray, Linkhart, Snyder

    BE107 Biology of Microbes

    An introduction to the world of Bacteria, Archaea, microscopic Eukarya and viruses. Emphasizing the role of microbes as causal agents of major human disease (TB, AIDS, malaria); as essential components of the human microbiome; as critical elements in biogeochemical processes; and as tools in agriculture, industry and food production. Lecture, discussion, student presentations and laboratory projects. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement.

    Prerequisite: Strong high school Chemistry highly recommended.

    1 unit — Wilson

    BE202 Field Botany

    A field course involving collection, identification, and preservation of vascular plants, emphasizing evolution, ecology and biogeography. Takes advantage of the major ecosystems of the Pikes Peak region. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement.

    Prerequisite: Organismal Biology and Ecology 105.

    1 unit — Jabaily

    BE208 Ecology

    The analysis of distributions, abundances, and interrelationships of organisms. Populations, communities, and ecosystems are investigated, and implications for humans considered. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement.

    Prerequisite: Chemistry & Biochemistry 107 and 1 unit from Organismal Biology and Ecology 105, 106, 107 Geology 130 or 140.

    1 unit — Khorsand, Linkhart, Snyder

    BE220 Biostatistics and Experimental Design

    Emphasis on application rather than theory or derivation. Topics: measures of central tendency and variability, correlation, regression, t-tests, Chi-square, analysis of variance, selected non-parametric methods, statistical inference and experimental design. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement. (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: At least 1 college organismal biology and ecology course or consent of instructor.

    1 unit

    BE240 Special Topics in Organismal Biology and Ecology

    Special topics in Organismal Biology and Ecology not offered on a regular basis.

    1 unit — Jabaily

    BE244 Histotechnique

    Students will acquire the basic knowledge necessary to prepare animal and plant tissues for examination by light microscopy. Theoretical aspects of fixation, paraffin embedding, sectioning techniques, and the art of staining will be emphasized. Interpretation of results will be facilitated through lecture/discussion sessions highlighting the basics of histology. (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: Organismal Biology and Ecology 105 or 106 recommended.

    .5 to 1 unit

    BE249 Special Topics in Organismal Biology and Ecology

    (Not offered 2020-21).

    1 unit

    BE280 Population Genetics

    Classical genetics as it applies to understanding the evolution of populations. This course examines the following topics: genetic issues of small and isolated populations, Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, factors affecting allele frequencies, variance and F-statistics, molecular methods, and quantitative genetics. This course also includes discussions of contemporary issues in applied population genetics and laboratory investigations.

    Prerequisite: Molecular Biology 131, Organismal Biology and Ecology 208, and Chemistry 108; or consent of instructor.

    1 unit — Heschel

    BE302 Advanced Field Research Methods in Botany

    This class will build upon the introductory field botany skills acquired in BE202 and BE208. Using local environments and field problems, the class will investigate local and regional issues of plant diversity, conservation, and biotic interactions. We will focus on expanding botanical skills in plant identification, vegetation assessment, and biodiversity documentation that are valuable for research, internships, and job applications, and employ these skills in the context of answering questions related to field-based botanical issues. The class will involve extensive field, laboratory, and herbarium work, as well as the development of an individual field-based research project. Local and regional field trips, some possibly overnight with camping. Students should be prepared for long hours under sometimes inclement weather conditions. (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: Organismal Biology and Ecology 105 & 106 and Organismal Biology and Ecology 208 or Environmental Program 209.

    1 unit

    BE308 Advanced Ecology

    Field studies and theoretical topics selected to illustrate the research process and ecological thought. Will include use of ecological literature.

    Prerequisite: consent of instructor or Organismal Biology and Ecology 208.

    1 unit — Khorsand

    BE309 Research Problems in Organismal Biology and Ecology

    Independent research projects based on laboratory or field investigation. Experimental studies completed away from campus must receive prior departmental approval. (Class, laboratory or field activities arranged.) (Only 2 units from 309, 409 or 499 may count toward the OBE major.)

    Prerequisite: consent of instructor & 2 from Organismal Biology and Ecology 105, 106, 107 or Molecular Biology 131 (total 3) & arranged 1 block ahead.

    1 unit — Gray, Heschel, Jabaily, Khorsand

    BE330 Parastic Protozoa

    The biology of parasitic protozoa in humans and other animals. Lecture, laboratory and readings will focus on host-parasite relations, life histories, morphology, and physiology of parasitic protozoa. (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: Organismal Biology and Ecology 106 or consent of instructor.

    1 unit

    BE331 Parastic Helminths

    The biology of worms parasitic in humans and other animals. Lecture, laboratory and readings will focus on host-parasite relations, life histories, morphology, and physiology of parasitic helminths. (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: Organismal Biology and Ecology 106 or consent of instructor.

    1 unit

    BE332 Animal Behavior

    A comparative study of the diversities of behavioral systems of animals. Lecture, laboratory and field work include ethological theories and methods, emphasizing observation, denotation and analysis of behavior. (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: Organismal Biology and Ecology 208 and 106 or consent of instructor.

    1 unit

    BE341 Special Topics in Organismal Biology and Ecology:

    Special topics in Biology not offered on a regular basis.

    .5 unit — Hathaway, Heschel

    BE342 Special Topics in Organismal Biology and Ecology:

    (Not offered 2020-21).

    1 unit

    BE343 Special Topics in organismal Biology and Ecology

    (Not offered 2020-21).

    1 unit

    BE344 Scanning Electron Microscopy

    Basic principles of electron optical systems, image formation, specimen preparation, and photography. Individual instruction in the care, use and operation of the instrument as a research tool is emphasized. in the natural sciences.

    Prerequisite: Sophomore standing & prior course work in natural science.

    1 unit — Hathaway

    BE345 Transmission Electron Microscopy

    Basic principles of electron optical systems, image formation, specimen preparation, ultramicrotomy, and photography. Individual instruction in the care, use, and operation of the instrument as a research tool is emphasized. (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: Molecular Biology 131 or Sophomore Standing.

    1 unit

    BE348 Special Topics in Organismal Biology and Ecology:

    (Not offered 2020-21).

    1 unit

    BE349 Special Topics in Organismal Biology and Ecology:

    (Not offered 2020-21).

    1 unit

    BE362 Plant Ecology

    Descriptive and analytical studies of plant communities and populations. Field work includes sampling techniques and their application to answer specific research questions. Readings and discussions cover the various perspectives and theories of plant ecology.

    Prerequisite: Organismal Biology and Ecology 208,BE 105.

    1 unit — Heschel

    BE365 Plant Physiology

    Whole plant physiology with an emphasis on growth and development through examination of structure and function of cells and organs, metabolism, stress biology, and phytohormones. Includes discussions of primary literature in the discipline, a laboratory investigation and an emphasis on writing a scientific paper. (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: 1)BE 105;2)MB 131 and 3)Chemistry 250 or consent of instructor.

    1 unit

    BE366 Comparative Animal Physiology

    A whole-animal perspective on survival and maintenance of homeostasis in variable and often stressful environments. We will focus on aspects of water balance, feeding, digestion, metabolism, respiration and circulation. Course includes field and laboratory investigations.

    Prerequisite: Organismal Biology and Ecology 208 and Molecular Biology 131, and Organismal Biology and Ecology 106; or consent of instructor.

    1 unit — Gray

    BE367 Animal Ecology

    A field course involving collection, identification, and population and life-history studies of animals of regional ecosystems. Principles of animal ecology, behavior, and biogeography, are emphasized through field case studies and discussion of primary literature. Field work includes sampling techniques and their application to answer specific research questions.

    Prerequisite: Organismal Biology and Ecology 106, & Organismal Biology and Ecology 208.

    1 unit — Linkhart

    BE369 Tropical Ecology

    Introduction to the ecology of tropical wet forests and coral reefs, with emphasis on the high biological diversity common to these ecosystems. The course is linked to BE 370 Tropical Forest and Coral Reef Ecology, and students must enroll in both courses. (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: Jr or Sr standing, Organismal Biology and Ecology 208 & enrollment in Organismal Biology and Ecology 370.

    .5 unit

    BE370 Tropical Forest and Coral Reef Ecology

    Ecology of tropical wet forests and coral reefs taught at forest and reef sites in the tropics. Field studies, theoretical topics, and primary ecological literature will be used to explore interactions in these systems, with emphasis on selected organisms and system characteristics. The course is linked to cross-cultural experience with local people. The course is linked to BE 369 Tropical Ecology, and students must enroll in both courses. EXTRA EXPENSE.

    Prerequisite: Jr or Sr standing, Organismal Biology and Ecology 208, 369 & good swimming ability. EXTRA EXPENSE.

    1 unit — Snyder

    BE375 Environmental Microbiology

    Study of the ecology of microbes in environments as diverse as deep-ocean volcanic vents; termite hind guts; the lithosphere; the human guts; plant roots; ice of the Arctic and Antarctic; and terrestrial models of extra-terrestrial environments. Emphasis on discussion of primary literature in environmental microbiology and microbial ecology. Significant laboratory component and minor field component. (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: Organismal Biology and Ecology 107, , Molecular Biology 131, Molecular Biology 231 and Chemistry 108; or consent of instructor.

    1 unit

    BE389 Patagonian Ecology and Biogeography

    Introduction to the ecology and biogeography of Patagonia, including montane, steppe and coastal ecosystems. The course is linked to BE 390 Ecology and Biogeography of Patagonia, and students must enroll in both courses. (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing. Organismal Biology and Ecology 208 and enrollment in Organismal Biology and Ecology 390.

    .5 unit

    BE390 Ecology and Biogeography of Patagonia

    On-site investigations of the ecology and biogeography of Andean mountain forests and Patagonian steppe and studies of the ecology of several marine vertebrate species at the Atlantic coast. Students will read and present original literature, meet with local scientists at their study sites, and develop hypotheses that could be tested in the ecosystems we visit. (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing, Organismal Biology and Ecology 208, Organismal Biology and Ecology 389 (half-block), and consent of instructor. (taught in Patagonia) Extra Expense.

    1 to 2 units

    BE409 Research Problems in Organismal Biology and Ecology:

    Independent research projects based on laboratory or field investigation., consent of instructor, and registration at least one block prior to the block in which the research is to be initiated. Experimental studies completed away from campus must receive prior departmental approval. (Class, laboratory or field activities arranged.) (Only 2 units from 309, 403, 409 or 499 may count toward the Organismal Biology and Ecology major.)

    Prerequisite: consent of instructor & 2 from 105, 106, 107, Molecular Biology 131 (total 3) & arranged 1 block ahead.

    1 unit — Gray, Heschel, Jabaily, Khorsand

    BE410 Ornithology

    Identification, taxonomy, anatomy, physiology, behavior and ecology of birds, including field and laboratory work.

    Prerequisite: consent of instructor or Organismal Biology and Ecology 367.

    1 unit — Linkhart

    BE412 Entomology

    Evolution, taxonomy, structure, physiology, development, behavior and ecology of insects. Laboratory includes identification, dissection, experimentation, curation and field work.

    Prerequisite: Organismal Biology and Ecology 106, and Organismal Biology and Ecology 208 or consent of instructor.

    1 unit — Drummond

    BE415 Seminar in Evolutionary Biology

    A capstone course primarily for upper level organismal biology and ecology students. We will examine and critique classical concepts of evolutionary theory and their modern extensions through reading scientific literature and by drawing upon students' previous knowledge and experience in diverse fields of biology. (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: 2 units from Organismal Biology and Ecology 105, 106, 107, and 1 unit from Molecular Biology 231, Organismal Biology and Ecology 280.

    1 unit

    BE421 Conservation Biology

    Conservation issues of plant and animal species, habitats, and ecological systems will be examined through reading, discussion, and project-based exploration of local, national, and global examples. Core components of conservation biology theory such as habitat fragmentation, problems of small populations, rarity, genetic erosion, reserve design, and invasive species will be emphasized in the context of the local environment. (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: Organismal Biology and Ecology 105, 208, Organismal Biology and Ecology 106, and Molecular Biology 131.

    1 unit

    BE422 Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Ecology

    This course explores links between the biosphere, geosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere across many different scales, from the microorganism to the globe. The primary focus will be on the cycling of biologically important elements in natural and managed ecosystems with an emphasis on how these cycles will change under increased human influence. Students will gain hands-on research experience using analytical techniques in the field and the laboratory, and they will share their results in a formal scientific paper and presentation. (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: (BE/EV 209) & (Environmental Program 155 or Geology 130 or 140) & (Mathematics 117 or Organismal Biology and Ecology 220 or Economics 200) or consent of instructor.

    1 unit

    BE440 Special Topics in Organismal Biology and Ecology:

    Special Topics in Organismal Biology and Ecology. Special topics in Organismal Biology and Ecology not offered on a regular basis.

    Prerequisite: consent of instructor & Junior or Senior standing.

    1 unit — Gray, Jabaily

    BE442 Special Topics in organismal Biology and Ecology:

    (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

    1 unit

    BE443 Special Topics in Organismal Biology and Ecology:

    (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: Organismal Biology and Ecology 208.

    1 unit

    BE446 Special Topics in Organismal Biology and Ecology:

    (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

    1 unit

    BE447 Special Topics in Organismal Biology:

    (Not offered 2020-21).

    Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

    1 unit

    BE475 Techniques in Molecular Ecology and Systematics

    A course on the techniques employed in molecular ecology and molecular systematics, such as DNA fingerprinting, DNA sequencing, phylogenetics and 'DNA barcoding.' The class will discuss primary literature in the areas of ecology, systematics, conservation biology and biodiversity, with an emphasis on the appropriate application of molecular techniques in these disciplines and on the interpretation of molecular data. Laboratory projects will involve DNA sequencing and phylogenetics.

    Prerequisite: Organismal Biology and Ecology 208 and either Organismal Biology and Ecology 280 or Molecular Biology 231 or consent of instructor.

    1 unit — Wilson

    BE499 Senior Thesis

    Writing of the senior thesis based on data from an undergraduate research project. The thesis topic is to be chosen by the student following consultation with a member of the Biology Department faculty who agrees to serve as the project and thesis advisor. (Only 2 units from 309, 403, 409 may count toward the Organismal Biology and Ecology major; only 1 unit of 499 may count toward the major.)

    .5 to 2 units