Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

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Undergraduate Study

Within the Biological Sciences, studies of ecology, evolution, and organismal biology are essential in understanding the complex relationships of life on Planet Earth. Ecology focuses on the interactions among organisms as well as the interactions between organisms and their physical environments. Evolutionary theory addresses the origins and interrelationships of species. Organismal biology studies both the diversity of biological organisms and the structure and function of individual organisms.

The EEOB Department offers several undergraduate majors with other departments. Students interested in the areas of ecology, evolution, and organismal biology should major in Biology, Environmental Science, or Genetics. The Biology Major is administered and offered jointly by the EEOB and GDCB departments. The faculty of EEOB, together with those in GDCB and BBMB, administer and offer the Genetics Major. Faculty in EEOB, in cooperation with faculty from other departments on campus, administer and offer the Environmental Science Major. Each of these majors is available through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences or through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Faculty in the EEOB Department also teach undergraduate courses at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory (see the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory listing).

The Biology Major, the Environmental Science Major, and the Genetics Major prepare students for a wide range of careers in biological sciences. Some of these careers include conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, human and veterinary medicine, and life science education. These majors are also excellent preparation for graduate study in systematics, ecology, biological diversity, physiology, and related fields. Faculty members in EEOB contribute to the undergraduate courses listed below. The titles and descriptions of these courses are in the Biology section of the catalog.

BIOL 101Introductory Biology3
BIOL 110Introduction to Biology1
BIOL 111Opportunities in Biology0.5
BIOL 155Human Biology3
BIOL 173Environmental Biology3
BIOL 204Biodiversity2
BIOL 211Principles of Biology I3
BIOL 211LPrinciples of Biology Laboratory I1
BIOL 212Principles of Biology II3
BIOL 212LPrinciples of Biology Laboratory II1
BIOL 255Fundamentals of Human Anatomy3
BIOL 255LFundamentals of Human Anatomy Laboratory1
BIOL 256Fundamentals of Human Physiology3
BIOL 256LFundamentals of Human Physiology Laboratory1
BIOL 307Women in Science and Engineering3
BIOL 312Ecology4
BIOL 313Principles of Genetics3
BIOL 313LGenetics Laboratory1
BIOL 315Biological Evolution3
BIOL 335Principles of Human and Other Animal Physiology4
BIOL 336Ecological and Evolutionary Animal Physiology3
BIOL 351Comparative Chordate Anatomy5
BIOL 352Vertebrate Histology4
BIOL 353Introductory Parasitology3
BIOL 354Animal Behavior3
BIOL 355Plants and People3
BIOL 356Dendrology4
BIOL 364Invertebrate Biology3-4
BIOL 365Vertebrate Biology4
BIOL 366Plant Systematics4
BIOL 371Ecological Methods3
BIOL 381Environmental Systems I: Introduction to Environmental Systems3-4
BIOL 382Environmental Systems II: Analysis of Environmental Systems3
BIOL 393North American Field Trips in Biology1-4
BIOL 394International Field Trips in Biology1-4
BIOL 434Endocrinology3
BIOL 439Environmental Physiology3-4
BIOL 454Plant Anatomy4
BIOL 455Bryophyte and Lichen Biodiversity3
BIOL 456Principles of Mycology3
BIOL 457Herpetology2
BIOL 458Ornithology2
BIOL 459Mammalogy2
BIOL 462Evolutionary Genetics3
BIOL 471Introductory Conservation Biology3
BIOL 472Community Ecology3
BIOL 474Plant Ecology3
BIOL 476Functional Ecology3
BIOL 486Aquatic Ecology3
BIOL 486LAquatic Ecology Laboratory1
BIOL 487Microbial Ecology3
BIOL 488Identification of Aquatic Organisms1
BIOL 489Population Ecology3
BIOL 490Independent Study1
BIOL 491Undergraduate Teaching Experience1-2
BIOL 494Biology Internship1-3
BIOL 495Undergraduate Seminar1-3
BIOL 498Cooperative EducationR

Graduate Study

The department offers graduate work leading to both Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. EEOB graduate students major in one of several interdepartmental majors including Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Science, Genetics, Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies, Neuroscience, and Toxicology. The EEOB faculty members are active in the interdepartmental graduate majors and teach a wide range of graduate courses. Faculty research programs cover a wide range of specializations including physiology and physiological ecology; Microbiology; animal behavior; evolutionary genetics of plants and animals; modeling of evolutionary and ecological processes; plant and animal systematics; neurobiology; developmental biology; aquatic and wetland ecology; functional, population, community, landscape, and ecosystem ecology; and conservation biology. For further information on faculty research interests check the EEOB web site (www.eeob.iastate.edu). Some EEOB faculty teach graduate courses at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. Field Station courses are also available through the Gulf Coast Marine Laboratory and the Organization for Tropical Studies (see the Biology listing).

Prospective graduate students need a sound background in the physical and biological sciences, as well as in mathematics and English. Interested students should check the Graduate Program link from the EEOB web site for specific admission procedures and updates. The department and majors require submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) aptitude test scores. Subject area GRE scores are recommended. International students whose native language is other than English must also submit TOEFL or IELTS scores with their application.

Students who are enrolled in the interdepartmental graduate majors with EEOB affiliation are required to participate in departmental seminars, to participate in research activities, and to show adequate progress and professional development while pursuing their degree. For both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, it is expected that research conducted by the student will culminate in the writing and presentation of a thesis or dissertation. Requirements and guidelines for study are provided by the Graduate College, the EEOB faculty, and the individual student’s major professor and Program of Study Committee. General information about graduate study requirements can be found at the web site for the Graduate College and requirements for the interdepartmental majors can be found by following the links from the EEOB web site above. Although not a formal requirement, the EEOB faculty recommends that students pursuing the Ph.D. include teaching experience in their graduate training.

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Courses

Courses primarily for graduate students, open to qualified undergraduates:

(3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: Graduate standing, BIOL 354, or permission of instructor
Analysis of current research in animal behavior. Topics covered may include behavioral ecology, mechanisms of behavior, evolution of behavior, applications of animal behavior to conservation biology, and applications of animal behavior to wild animals in captivity.

(Dual-listed with BIOL 414). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: BIOL 315 or equivalent recommended.
Evolution of ecological adaptations at the individual, population, and species level. Emphasis is on evolutionary mechanisms and adaptive strategies related to life histories and reproduction; age and size at maturity; lifespan and senescense; offspring size/number trade-offs; sex and mating systems; sex determination and sex ratios.

(Cross-listed with A ECL). (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: BIOL 312; BIOL 313 or graduate standing
Examination of conservation issues from a population and a community perspective. Population-level analysis will focus on the role of genetics, demography, and environment in determining population viability. Community perspectives will focus on topics such as habitat fragmentation, reserve design, biodiversity assessment, and restoration ecology.

(Cross-listed with A ECL, IA LL). Cr. 4. Alt. SS., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: IA LL 312I
Population-and community-level examination of factors influencing the viability of plant and animal populations from both demographic and genetic perspectives; assessment of biodiversity; design and management of preserves.

(Dual-listed with BIOL 434). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: BIOL 211, BIOL 212
Chemical integration of vertebrate organisms. The structure, development, and evolution of the endocrine glands and the function and structure of their hormones.

(Cross-listed with ENSCI, NREM). (2-3) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: BIOL 366 or BIOL 474 or graduate standing
Theory and practice of restoring animal and plant diversity, structure and function of disturbed ecosystems. Restored freshwater wetlands, forests, prairies and reintroduced species populations will be used as case studies.

(Cross-listed with A ECL, ENSCI, IA LL). Cr. 4. Alt. SS., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: A course in ecology
Ecological principles for the restoration of native ecosystems; establishment (site preparation, selection of seed mixes, planting techniques) and management (fire, mowing, weed control) of native vegetation; evaluation of restorations. Emphasis on the restoration of prairie and wetland vegetation.

(Dual-listed with BIOL 439). Cr. 3-4. Alt. S., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: BIOL 335; physics recommended
Physiological adaptations to the environment with an emphasis on vertebrates.

(Cross-listed with B M S, FS HN, GDCB, HORT, NREM, NUTRS, V MPM, VDPAM). Cr. 1. Repeatable. F.S.SS.


Sessions in basic molecular biology techniques and related procedures. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

(Cross-listed with B M S, BBMB, FS HN, GDCB, HORT, NREM, NUTRS, V MPM, VDPAM). Cr. 1. Repeatable. F.S.


Includes genetic engineering procedures, sequencing, PCR, and genotyping. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

(Cross-listed with B M S, BBMB, FS HN, GDCB, HORT, NREM, NUTRS, VDPAM). Cr. 1. Repeatable. S.SS.

Prereq: Graduate classification
Techniques. Includes: fermentation, protein isolation, protein purification, SDS-PAGE, Western blotting, NMR, confocal microscopy and laser microdissection, Immunophenotyping, and monoclonal antibody production. Sessions in basic molecular biology techniques and related procedures. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

(Cross-listed with B M S, BBMB, FS HN, GDCB, HORT, NREM, NUTRS, V MPM, VDPAM). Cr. 1. Repeatable. F.S.


Includes: immunophenotyping, ELISA, flow cytometry, microscopic techniques, image analysis, confocal, multiphoton and laser capture microdissection. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

(Cross-listed with B M S, BBMB, FS HN, GDCB, HORT, NREM, NUTRS, V MPM, VDPAM). Cr. 1. Repeatable. S.


Includes: Agrobacterium and particle gun-mediated transformation of tobacco, Arabidopsis, and maize, and analysis of tranformants. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

(Cross-listed with B M S, BBMB, FS HN, GDCB, HORT, NREM, NUTRS, V MPM, VDPAM). Cr. 1. Repeatable. F.


Includes: two-dimensional electrophoresis, laser scanning, mass spectrometry, and database searching. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

(Cross-listed with B M S, BBMB, FS HN, GDCB, HORT, NREM, NUTRS, V MPM, VDPAM). Cr. 1. Repeatable. F.


Includes: metabolomics and the techniques involved in metabolite profiling. For non-chemistry majoring students who are seeking analytical aspects into their biological research projects. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

(Cross-listed with B M S, BBMB, FS HN, GDCB, HORT, NREM, NUTRS, V MPM, VDPAM). Cr. 1. Repeatable. S.


Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

(Dual-listed with BIOL 451). (3-3) Cr. 4. F.

Prereq: BIOL 315 or equivalent.
Survey of land plant evolution; phylogenetic comparison of anatomical, reproductive, and life history specializations. Relationships among bryophytes, lycophytes, pteridophytes, gymnosperms, and angiosperms emphasizing significant evolutionary changes documented by paleobotanical, morphological, and molecular studies.

(2-3) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: BIOL 366
Structure, identification, classification, phylogeny, and economic aspects of grasses and related families.

(Dual-listed with BIOL 455). Cr. 3.

Prereq: BIOL 211, BIOL 211L
Introduction to the biology and ecology of mosses, liverworts, and lichens. Emphasis on identification and diversity of local representatives of these three groups of organisms. Required field trips and service-learning.

(Cross-listed with A ECL). (2-0) Cr. 2. S.

Prereq: A ECL 365 or BIOL 351
Dual-listed with BIOL 458. Biology, ecology, evolution, and taxonomy of birds. Emphasis on structure, physiology, behavior, communication, navigation, reproduction, and conservation.

(Dual-listed with BIOL 459). (2-0) Cr. 2. S.

Prereq: BIOL 351 or A ECL 365
Biology, ecology, and evolution of mammals. Emphasis on structure, physiological adaptation to different environments, behavior, reproduction, roles of mammals in ecosystems, and conservation.

(3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: Permission of instructor; BCBIO 444 recommended.
Use of genomic and other "omic" data in evolution and ecology. Review of data-generation platforms, computational methods, and examples of how phylogenomics, metagenomics, epigenomics, and population genomics are transforming the disciplines of evolution and ecology.

(3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Seminar/discussion course covering the genetic basis of evolutionary processes in multicellular organisms.

(2-3) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: BIOL 313 and BIOL 315
An overview of the theory underlying phylogenetic analysis and the application of phylogenetic methods to molecular datasets. The course emphasizes a hands-on approach to molecular phylogenetics and combines lecture presentations with computer exercises and discussion of original scientific literature.

(Dual-listed with BIOL 464). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: 15 credits in biological sciences.
Ecology, classification, creation and restoration, and management of wetlands. Emphasis on North American temperate wetlands.

(Cross-listed with ENSCI, IA LL). Cr. 4. SS.

Prereq: IA LL 312I
Ecology, classification, creation, restoration, and management of wetlands. Field studies will examine the composition, structure and functions of local natural wetlands and restored prairie pothole wetlands. Individual or group projects.

(3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Seminar/discussion course covering the fundamentals of molecular evolution. Emphasis is placed on original scientific literature and current topics, including rates and patterns of genetic divergence; nucleotide and allelic diversity; molecular clocks; gene duplications; genome structure; organellar genomes; polyploidy; transposable elements; and modes and mechanisms of gene and genome evolution.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: Permission of instructor
An overview of fundamental population genetic theory and the ecological and evolutionary factors underlying the distribution of genetic variation within and among natural populations. Emphasis on the analysis of inbreeding, breeding systems, parentage, relatedness, spatial autocorrelation, effective population size, hierarchial population models, and phylogeography.

(Cross-listed with ENT). (2-3) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Principles and practice of systematic biology; taxonomy, nomenclature and classification of plants and animals; sources and interpretation of systematic data; speciation; fundamentals of phylogenetic systematics.

(3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: BIOL 315 or equivalent; permission of instructor
Principles underlying the geographic distribution of organisms throughout the world; biological influences of geological history and tectonic movements; role of climate, migration, dispersal, habitat, and phylogeny on past and present organismal distribution patterns; biogeographic methods.

(Cross-listed with A ECL). (2-3) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: Permission of instructor; EEOB 588; a course in calculus
The study of ecological and evolutionary processes within a spatial context with emphasis on behavior, population, and community dynamics.

(Cross-listed with A ECL, IA LL). Cr. 1-2. Repeatable. SS.


The development and implementation of laboratory exercises suitable for inclusion in elementary, middle, high school, and community college biology and environmental courses. Exercises will be built around common organisms and ecosystems in Iowa. Field trips.

(Cross-listed with A ECL, IA LL). Cr. 1-2. Repeatable. SS.


The development and implementation of laboratory exercises suitable for inclusion in elementary, middle, high school, and community college biology and environmental courses. Exercises will be built around common organisms and ecosystems in Iowa. Field trips.

(Cross-listed with IA LL). Cr. 1-2. Repeatable. SS.


The development and implementation of laboratory exercises suitable for inclusion in elementary, middle, high school, and community college biology and environmental courses. Exercises will be built around common organisms and ecosystems in Iowa. Field trips.

(Cross-listed with IA LL). Cr. 1-2. Repeatable. SS.


The development and implementation of laboratory exercises suitable for inclusion in elementary, middle, high school, and community college biology and environmental courses. Exercises will be built around common organisms and ecosystems in Iowa. Field trips.

(Cross-listed with IA LL). Cr. 1-2. Repeatable. SS.


The development and implementation of laboratory exercises suitable for inclusion in elementary, middle, high school, and community college biology and environmental courses. Exercises will be built around common organisms and ecosystems in Iowa. Field trips.

(Cross-listed with IA LL). Cr. 1-2. Repeatable. SS.


The development and implementation of laboratory exercises suitable for inclusion in elementary, middle, high school, and community college biology and environmental courses. Exercises will be built around common organisms and ecosystems in Iowa. Field trips.

(Cross-listed with IA LL). Cr. 1-2. Repeatable. SS.


The development and implementation of laboratory exercises suitable for inclusion in elementary, middle, high school, and community college biology and environmental courses. Exercises will be built around common organisms and ecosystems in Iowa. Field trips.

(Cross-listed with A ECL, IA LL). Cr. 1-2. Repeatable. SS.


The development and implementation of laboratory exercises suitable for inclusion in elementary, middle, high school, and community college biology and environmental courses. Exercises will be built around common organisms and ecosystems in Iowa. Field trips.

(Cross-listed with IA LL). Cr. 1-2. Repeatable. SS.


The development and implementation of laboratory exercises suitable for inclusion in elementary, middle, high school, and community college biology and environmental courses. Exercises will be built around common organisms and ecosystems in Iowa. Field trips.

(Cross-listed with A ECL, IA LL). Cr. 1-2. Repeatable. SS.


The development and implementation of laboratory exercises suitable for inclusion in elementary, middle, high school, and community college biology and environmental courses. Exercises will be built around common organisms and ecosystems in Iowa. Field trips.

(Cross-listed with IA LL). Cr. 1-2. Repeatable. SS.


The development and implementation of laboratory exercises suitable for inclusion in elementary, middle, high school, and community college biology and environmental courses. Exercises will be built around common organisms and ecosystems in Iowa. Field trips.

(Cross-listed with IA LL). Cr. 1-2. Repeatable. SS.


The development and implementation of laboratory exercises suitable for inclusion in elementary, middle, high school, and community college biology and environmental courses. Exercises will be built around common organisms and ecosystems in Iowa. Field trips.

(Cross-listed with A ECL, IA LL). Cr. 1-2. Repeatable. SS.


The development and implementation of laboratory exercises suitable for inclusion in elementary, middle, high school, and community college biology and environmental courses. Exercises will be built around common organisms and ecosystems in Iowa. Field trips.

(Cross-listed with IA LL). Cr. 4. Alt. SS., offered even-numbered years.


Identification and classification of the common fungi; techniques for identification, preservation, and culture practiced with members of the various fungi groups.

(Dual-listed with BIOL 476). (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: BIOL 312
The nature of adaptations to physical and biotic environments. Biophysical, biomechanical, and physiological bases of the structure, form, growth, distribution, and abundance of organisms.

(2-0) Cr. 1. Alt. F., offered even-numbered years.


Readings and discussion of influential ideas in ecological and evolutionary theory, with an emphasis on how models are used as conceptual tools for building synthetic paradigms. Topics are chosen according to student interests; may include spatial ecology, behavioral theory, chaos, community assembly and biodiversity, and others.

(3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: 1 semester of calculus or permission of instructor.
Quantitative exploration of classic models and results in ecological and evolutionary theory. Introduction to conceptual, mathematical, and programming tools needed to build and analyze models.

(Cross-listed with IA LL). Cr. 4. SS.


Field and laboratory study of freshwater diatoms; techniques in collection, preparation, and identification of diatom samples; study of environmental factors affecting growth, distribution, taxonomic characters; project design and execution including construction of reference and voucher collections and data organization and analysis.

(Dual-listed with BIOL 381). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). Cr. 3-4. F.

Prereq: 12 credits of natural science including biology and chemistry
Introduction to the structure and function of natural environmental systems. Emphasis on the analysis of material and energy flows in natural environmental systems and the primary environmental factors controlling these systems.

(Dual-listed with BIOL 382). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (2-2) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: ENSCI 381
Continuation of ENSCI 381. Systems approach to the analysis of material and energy flows in natural environmental systems and the primary environmental factors controlling these systems.

(Cross-listed with ENSCI). (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: Combined 12 credits in biology, chemistry, and physics.
Advanced studies of ecosystems and the biological and physical factors that influence their properties and dynamics. Conceptual foundations and modern approaches to ecosystem studies. Interactions among organisms, biological diversity, and ecosystem attributes. Quantitative analyses of accumulations, transformations, and fluxes of nutrients, water, and energy within and among ecosystems. Global change issues.

(2-3) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: BIOL 312
Factors controlling species diversity, species abundance, and the structure and function of communities in space and time. Relationships between species diversity and ecosystem process rates and community stability.

(Dual-listed with BIOL 486). (Cross-listed with A ECL, ENSCI). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: BIOL 312 or ENSCI 381 or ENSCI 402 or NREM 301
Structure and function of aquatic ecosystems with application to fishery and pollution problems. Emphasis on lacustrine, riverine, and wetland ecology.

(Dual-listed with BIOL 486L). (Cross-listed with A ECL, ENSCI). (0-3) Cr. 1. F.

Prereq: Concurrent enrollment in BIOL 486
Field trips and laboratory exercises to accompany 486. Hands-on experience with aquatic research and monitoring techniques and concepts.

(Dual-listed with BIOL 487). (Cross-listed with ENSCI, MICRO). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: Six credits in biology and 6 credits in chemistry
Introduction to major functional groups of autotrophic and heterotrophic microorganisms and their roles in natural systems.

(Dual-listed with BIOL 489). (Cross-listed with A ECL). (2-2) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: BIOL 312, STAT 101 or STAT 104, a course in calculus, or graduate standing
Concepts and theories of population dynamics with emphasis on models of growth, predation, competition, and regulation.

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: 10 credits in biology, permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: 10 credits in biology, permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: 10 credits in biology, permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: 10 credits in biology, permission of instructor

(Cross-listed with A ECL, ANTHR, IA LL). Cr. 1-4. Repeatable. SS.

Prereq: Graduate classification and permission of instructor

(Cross-listed with PHIL). (3-0) Cr. 3.

Prereq: Graduate classification in biological or environmental sciences/studies with at least one course in ecology
Analysis of conceptual and methodological debates in ecology. Historical development of competing research traditions and philosophies. Topics include i) methodological issues in ecological science, ii) conceptual issues in theoretical ecology, iii) conceptual issues in applied ecology, iv) relation of ecology to environmental and social issues.

Cr. arr.


Research toward nonthesis master's degree.

Courses for graduate students:

Cr. 1. Repeatable.


Meetings of graduate students and faculty to discuss recent literature and problems under investigation.

Cr. arr. Repeatable.


Research for thesis or dissertation. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

(Cross-listed with A ECL, ANTHR, GDCB, IA LL). Cr. arr. Repeatable.


Research for thesis or dissertation. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.