Biology (BIOL) Courses

College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)

See How to read course descriptions for information about the formatting used.

BIOL 101 General Biology (3) A one-semester introductory biology course for non-majors.

BIOL 101L Gen Biol Lab (1) (lab) Laboratory for General Biology. (Optional but recommended)

BIOL 125 Intro Cell & Molecular Biol (3) Introduction to cell and molecular biology for majors in the natural and health sciences. Cell structure and function, the molecular basis of life, metabolic pathways, classical and molecular genetics, the molecular and biological evolution of the universe. Pre: high school biology (or BIOL 101), high school chemistry (or CHEM 151).

BIOL 156 Nat Hist & Conservatn Hawn Isl (3) The formation of the Hawaiian Islands, establishment of their native terrestrial and marine flora and fauna, and human impacts and conservation. (Same as MARE 156). (Attributes: GAHP, HPP)

BIOL 156L Nat History Field Trips (1) (lab) Field trips for Natural History and Conservation of the Hawaiian Islands. (Same as MARE 156L). (Attributes: GAHP)

BIOL 171 Introductory Biology I (3) Principles of cell structure, replication, and metabolism. Classical and molecular genetics, and evolution. Biodiversity of prokaryotes, viruses, fungi, and plants. Plant structure and function. Biology 171 and 172 are offered both semesters, and students may enroll in either (but not both) during the fall or spring semester. (Previously offered as BIOL 175)

BIOL 171L Introductory Biology I Lab (1) (lab) Laboratory for Introductory Biology I. Laboratory exercises covering cell structure, replication, and metabolism; classical and molecular genetics; evolution; and biodiversity of prokaryotes, viruses, fungi, and plants. (Previously offered as BIOL 175L)

BIOL 172 Introductory Biology II (3) Biodiversity of animal-like protistans, invertebrates, and vertebrates. Animal tissues, sensory reception and integration, endocrine systems, support and movement, circulation and immunity, gas exchange, digestion, kidney function, reproduction and development. Population and community ecology, energy flow and biogeochemical cycles. BIOL 171 and 172 are each taught both semesters, and students may enroll in either (but not both) during either fall or spring semester. (Previously offered as BIOL 176)

BIOL 172L Introductory Biology II lAB (1) (lab) Please contact the department or division office for more information about this course.

BIOL 190 Hawn Marine Field Experience (2) Provides a unique opportunity for students to experience the marine environment of the Big Island. Course consists of field trips to coastal and underwater sites around the island. Some swimming and snorkeling involved but not required. (Same as MARE 190). (Attributes: GAHP)

BIOL 205 Gen Entomology (3) Structure, classification and identification of insects. Pre: BIOL 171 or 172 or consent of instructor. (Same as ENTO 304).

BIOL 243 Human Anatomy & Physiology I (3) Basic structure and function of human tissue and organ systems, including skeletal, integumentary, muscular, respiratory, circulatory, and immune systems.

BIOL 243L Human Anatomy & Physio I Lab (1) (lab) Laboratory experience with the tissue and organ systems covered in BIOL 243 lecture. Hands-on training in tissue dissection, microscopy, physiological measurement, and safe lab technique. Pre: Concurrent enrollment in, or previous completion of BIOL 243 lecture.

BIOL 244 Human Anatomy & Physiology II (3) Basic structure and function of human tissue and organ systems, including digestive, urinary, nervous, endocrine, and reproductive systems. Pre: BIOL 243 or equivalent, or instructor's consent.

BIOL 244L Human Anatomy & Physio II Lab (1) (lab) Laboratory experience with the tissue and organ systems covered in BIOL 244 lecture. Hands-on training in tissue dissection, microscopy, physiological measurement, and safe lab technique. Pre: Concurrent enrollment in, or previous completion of BIOL 244, or instructor's consent.

BIOL 254 Fundamentals of Nutrition (3) Comparative animal digestive systems and metabolism. Essential nutrients, their functions, mechanisms of action and interrelationships. (Same as ANSC 254). (Attributes: GCC)

BIOL 270 Intermed Cell & Molecular Biol (3) Integrated cell and molecular biology for the science majors. Modern advances in recombinant DNA technology. Pre: BIOL 171, BIOL 172, and CHEM 162 or instructor's consent. Recommended: CHEM 242 which may be taken concurrently.

BIOL 270L Inter Cell & Molecular Bio Lab (1) (lab) Laboratory exercises in cell and molecular biology with an emphasis on the use of modern methods of DNA analysis. Pre: BIOL 171-171L, BIOL 172-172L, CHEM 162L and BIOL 270 or concurrent enrollment, or instructor's consent. Recommended: CHEM 242L which may be taken concurrently.

BIOL 275 Fund Microbiology (3) A survey or microbiology with emphasis on bacteria, viruses, infectious diseases and their control. Pre: one semester of college chemistry. Recommended: at least one semester of BIOL 101, 175 or 176. (Attributes: ALEX, GCC)

BIOL 275L Microbiology Lab (1) (lab) Required laboratory for Fundamentals of Microbiology.

BIOL 280 Biostatistics (3) Statistical analysis as applied to research in the Biological Sciences. Theory and applications of statistics; experimental design; basic statistical concepts; hypothesis testing; parametric and non-parametric analyses. Group and independent projects, computer analysis of data.

BIOL 281 General Ecology (3) General ecological and evolutionary principles. Relationship of plants and animals to their environments. Processes regulating growth and evolution of populations. Community structure and ecosystem function. Pre: BIOL 171 or BIOL 172. Recommended: Completion of both BIOL 171 and BIOL 172, and high school algebra or equivalent.

BIOL 281L General Ecology Lab (2) (lab) Laboratory supporting BIOL 281. Field trips to view and sample representative ecosystems, instruction in basic field biology, identification of Hawaiian organisms, laboratory demonstrations. Basics of experimental design and hypothesis testing and use of simple statistics, culminating in written laboratory reports in scientific paper format. Pre: BIOL 171L and BIOL 172L.

BIOL 309 Biogeography (3) Basic evolutionary and ecological principles underlying the dynamics of plant and animal populations. Mechanisms of isolation, speciation, dispersal, migration, and competition as they affect past and present world distribution patterns. Island biogeography. Pre: GEOG 101; BIOL 101 or 175 or 176; or instructor's consent. (Same as GEOG 309). (Attributes: GAHP)

BIOL 323 Mammal Physiology (3) Structure and function of the animal body. A general study of anatomy, but emphasis placed on understanding the physiology. (Same as ANSC 350)

BIOL 340 Cellular Neurobiology (3) Cellular and molecular mechanisms in the form and function of the nervous system. Topics include electrophysiology, synaptic integration and plasticity, sensory and motor systems, neuromodulation, and molecular neuropathology. Prerequisite: BIOL 270, equivalent, or instructor permission.

BIOL 357 Evolution (3) Organic evolution as a unifying theory of biology. Topics include the history of ideas of evolution, adaptation of populations, genetic drift, molecular evolution and the neutral theory, quantitative genetics, speciation and phylogeny, biogeography and macro-evolutionary trends, and mass extinctions. Pre: BIOL 125 or 175 or 176.

BIOL 357L Evolutionary Genetics Lab (1) (lab) A laboratory and field course to be taken in conjunction with BIOL 357 lecture. Laboratory exercises will introduce students to the techniques in evolutionary genetics with special reference to Hawaiian plants and animals. Topics to be covered include: quantitative genetics, natural selection molecular genetics analysis of populations and species, ecological genetics and adaptation, and conservation genetics. Pre: BIOL 270, BIOL 270L and BIOL 280.

BIOL 360 Marine Resources (3) A survey of human use of the marine environment including physical and biological resources. Topics covered include: fisheries, mariculture, marine mineral and energy resources, chemical resources of sea water, the use of coastal lands and waste disposal in the sea. Pre: MARE 201 or BIOL/MARE 171, or consent of instructor. (Same as MARE 360).

BIOL 366 Trop Marine Rsrch Investigatn (3) Research projects on marine-related problems. Students will do a literature search; develop experimental design; collect, reduce and analyze data; do a written final report; and present findings at a symposium. Projects will be selected from a list of topics or can be original with the consent of the instructor. Pre: consent of instructor. (Same as MARE 366).

BIOL 371 Biology Of Marine Invertebrate (3) A survey of the major groups of invertebrates focusing on those dominant in the marine environment. Students will learn methods used to identify and classify invertebrates and will survey the anatomy, physiology, and natural history of the major groups. Pre: MARE 265 or BIOL 172 or their equivalent, concurrent enrollment in BIOL/MARE 371L. (Same as MARE 371)

BIOL 371L Bio Of Marine Invertebrate Lab (1) (lab) Direct exposure to the major groups of invertebrates in marine environment, focusing on those present in Hawaiʻi. Students will learn to identify and classify invertebrates and will survey the anatomy and natural history of the major groups. Pre: BIOL/MARE 371 or concurrent enrollment. (Same as MARE 371L).

BIOL 375 Biology of Microorganisms (3) Fundamental principles of microbiology combined with recent developments in and applications to microbial evolution, ecology, molecular genetics and immunology. Pre: BIOL 270 and 270L.

BIOL 375L Biology of Microorganisms Lab (1) (lab) Required laboratory for BIOL 375 covering fundamental principles of microbiology (culturing and identification). Supplemental components include specific labs in microbial ecology, molecular immunology, and genetics. Pre: BIOL 270 and 270L.

BIOL 376 Genetics (3) Classical, molecular, and population genetics. Pre: BIOL 270.

BIOL 376L Genetics Lab (2) (lab) Classical genetics usually including crosses with flies, worms and yeast. Molecular genetics usually including DNA gel analysis, construction of recombinant DNA molecules and their expression in transgenic organisms, and Polymerase Chain Reaction amplification of DNA. Optional laboratory for genetics. Pre: concurrent enrollment in BIOL 376 and completion of BIOL 270L or consent of the instructor.

BIOL 381 Conservation Biology (3) Principles of conservation biology and their applications to the maintenance and enhancement of biodiversity. Philosophical basis for conservation, scientific theories and research methods used by conservation biologists, and case studies of studies of scientific and socio-political interactions in conservation problems. Pre: BIOL 281 or instructor's consent.

BIOL 384 Primatology (3) Evolutionary approach to the nonhuman primates. Biological and behavioral adaptations of primates to their ecological setting. Implications of primate adaptations for understanding human biology and behavior. Pre: ANTH 215 or BIOL 172. (Same as ANTH, ENSC 384)

BIOL 392 Biology & Philosophy (3) Philosophical examination of the implications of modern biology for how we understand ourselves and our relations to the natural world. Evolutionary, genetic, developmental, and ecological topics will be discussed. Pre: previous work in Philosophy or Biology, or consent of instructor. (Same as PHIL 392).

BIOL 410 Biochemistry (3) Basic compositions and functions of biological matter, metabolic interconversions and transformations; the bioenergetics involved and the levels of control over these processes. Pre: BIOL 270 and CHEM 242.

BIOL 410L Biochemistry Lab (2) (lab) Electrometric titration and chromatographic analysis of amino acids, advanced quantitative assay of proteins, advanced quantitative assay, purification and kinetic analysis of enzymes. Required laboratory for Biochemistry. Pre: concurrent enrollment in BIOL 410 and completion of BIOL 270L and CHEM 242L.

BIOL 415 Cell Biology (3) Structure, function and behavior of cells, including gene expression, cellular transport, cell signaling, cytoskeleton and cell cycle. Pre: BIOL 270, BIOL 410.

BIOL 415L Cell Biology Lab (2) (lab) Light and electron microscopy of selected cells. Optional laboratory for Cell Biology. Pre: concurrent enrollment in BIOL 415 and completion of BIOL 270L or consent of instructor.

BIOL 417 Plant Anatomy (4) Plant structure in relation to cultural practices, functions genetic factors and development. Pre: BIOL 171. (Same as HORT 437).

BIOL 425 Water Qual & Aquatic Product (3) (other) Study of water quality and aquatic productivity as it relates to aquaculture and fisheries. Pre: CHEM 161 or consent of instructor. (Same as AQUA 425).

BIOL 436 Animal Cognition (3) (lecture/other) A survey of the historical and contemporary scientific literature on animal cognition using a wide variety of species. The course covers a broad array of topics that may include concept formation, memory processes, numerical competence, social learning and imitation, self-awareness, theory of mind, referential communication and grammatical skills. Pre: PSY 213, PSY 214, and PSY 314 or 350 or instructor's consent. (Same as PSY 436)

BIOL 437 Marine Mammal Behavior (3) An introduction to marine mammals with emphasis on the behavior of marine mammals. Special attention given to those species found in Hawaiian waters. Individual species are examined within a comparative framework. Topics include: behavioral ecology, social behavior, cetacean societies, mating systems, communication, sensory perception, and cognition. Pre: PSY 213, PSY 214, and PSY 314 or PSY 435 or instructor's consent. (Same as PSY 437)

BIOL 442 Comm. Science in K-12 Settings (2) For undergradute students interested in improving their ability to communicate their scientific knowledge to K-12 learners. The course combines inquiry-based science education methods with teaching experience in a local school classroom or community event. Pre: At least 6 credits of 100 level science courses or instructor consent. This course is dual listed with CBES 642.

BIOL 443 Ecological Animal Physiology (3) Study of the physiological adaptations of animals to environmental variation. The focus will be on how physiological responses to environmental factors determine the geographic distribution of animals. The course will cover the physiological and biochemical mechanisms that permit animals to adapt to potentially stressful environmental conditions, and topics will include food acquisition and digestion, energy allocation, thermal energetics, respiratory gas exchange, activity metabolism, and osmoregulation. Pre: course in basic cell biology: BIOL 125, BIOL 270, or MARE 172; or consent of instructor.

BIOL 445 Behavioral Ecology & Evolution (3) Principles of behavioral ecology and evolution with a focus on conservation biology. Research techniques in behavioral ecology related to analyzing populations in geographically and age-structured populations. The importance of reproductive strategies, habitat selection, foraging behavior, parental care, social organizations, and the importance of migration and movement patterns on the regulation of population sizes and evolution. Population and quantitative genetics as it relates to evolution, speciation, and biodiversity. Pre: BIOL 281 and BIOL 357 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 450 Physiology Reproduction (3) Livestock reproductive anatomy and physiology. Pre: ANSC 141. Recommended: ANSC 350. (Same as ANSC 450).

BIOL 455 Plant Ecology (3) Interactions between plants and the environment at the physiological, population, community, ecosystem scales. Discussion of factors affecting plant distribution and abundance from local to global scales. Plant and people interactions will be noted in the context of our changing planet. Key theories, quantitative measurements, experimentation, and critical analysis will be emphasized through a discussion of primary scientific literature. Pre: BIOL 281 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 457 Vegetation of the Hawaiian Isl (3) This course explores the major types of vegetation in Hawaiʻi with respect to physical environments and important species. Basic concepts in plant taxonomy and identification are emphasized. Coursework includes field excursions at various sites around the island of Hawaiʻi to develop methods in surveying and monitoring vegetation. This course also examines major human impacts and conservation challenges. Pre: BIOL 156 or BIOL 281. (Same as ENSC 457).

BIOL 460 Plant Diversity & Evolution (3) The evolution of land plants from mosses to flowering plants in the context of broad-scale environmental changes since the Silurian Period. Origins and diversification of the major lineages of extant and fossil land plants, including transitions in morphology, physiology, and life-cycles associated with adaptive radiations. Hawaii's spectacular plant radiations, and molecular and phylogenetic methods used in reconstructing the evolutionary history of land plants emphasized. Pre: BIOL 357 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 461 Immunology (3) The innate and adaptive immunity, structure and function of antibodies and antigens, synthesis of B and T lymphocytes, and the role immunology plays in the biological and medical sciences. Pre: BIOL 375 or BIOL 172 or instructor's consent. Recommended: BIOL 270

BIOL 467 Ecological Genetics (3) The class focuses on the genetics of whole populations and species. We will examine barriers to gene flow that influence the population structure and distribution of species. The goal of the class is to investigate how genetics informs understanding of the evolution of ecosystems and the dynamics of genetic interactions.

BIOL 477 Avian Biology (3) The biology of birds, including evolution, diversity, systematics, morphology, physiology, behavior, and ecology. This course has a global perspective, but uses examples from Hawaiʻi wherever appropriate. Pre: BIOL 281 or instructor's consent.

BIOL 477L Field Ornithology (2) This course covers a range of topics and techniques, including: mist-netting, distance sampling, bioacaustic recording, and habitat sampling. It uses birds as a model organism to familiarize students with methods that are important to the field ecologist. This course is highly relevant to students that plan to pursue ecology at the graduate level, and who are intersted in careers in wildlife conservation and management. Pre: BIOL 280. Recommended: completion of BIOL 477.

BIOL 481 Trop Island Ecology & Evol (3) The major subdisciplines of ecology and evolutionary biology, with emphasis on the models and methodologies of areas of active research, especially as they relate to tropical islands. Taught using examples of published research.Pre: BIOL 280, 281-281L and BIOL 357-357L.

BIOL 481L Trop Island Ecology & Evol Lab (2) (lab) Intensive field-laboratory supporting BIOL 481. Research topics selected from current fields of active research within tropical island ecology and evolution. Develop research hypotheses, gather data from field sites, analyze and interpret data and write reports in the style of scientific papers. Pre: concurrent enrollment in BIOL 481 required.

BIOL 482H Honors Appl Of Ecol & Evol (3) Practical experience in performing research projects in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology. Students will submit project proposals for evaluation and approval, do a thorough literature review, develop an experimental design, and collect and analyze data. Students will also prepare a final written report and give a 15-minute seminar presentation on their projects. Pre: BIOL 443L, BIOL 481 and 481L; 3.5 GPA or consent of instructor with departmental approval.

BIOL 484 Biology Of Fishes (3) The biology of marine and freshwater fishes. Topics covered include: general anatomy, locomotion, respiration, osmoregulation, sensory systems, reproduction, electrosensitive and electrogenic fishes, coloration and bioluminescence in fishes, genetic interrelationships. Pre: C- or better in MARE 171 or BIOL 172 or their equivalent; C- or better in MARE 265 or equivalent; or consent of instructor. (Same as MARE 484)

BIOL 484L Biology Of Fishes Laboratory (1) (lab) Anatomy of jawless, cartilaginous and bony fishes. Review of common local reef fishes. Optional laboratory and field trips for Biology of Fishes. (Same as MARE 484L).

BIOL 495A Biology Seminar (1) (other) Lectures, discussions and research reports of topics in biology presented by faculty, students, and visiting scholars. Students attend seminars and receive CR/NC grade for the course.

BIOL 495B Biology Seminar (1) (other) Lectures, discussions, and research reports of topics in biology presented by faculty, students and visiting scholars. Each student must attend seminars and present a talk to receive a CR/NC grade for the course.

BIOL 496 Tchg Asstance & Tutorg in Biol (1–3) (lab) Practice in individual tutoring, and in the preparation and presentation of selected topics in Biology lecture or laboratory courses, under direct instructional supervision. This course may be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits and may not be used to replace any specific course requirements of the Biology major other than elective units. Statements of planned teaching assistance and tutoring activities required. Pre: consent of the supervising instructor and the department chair.


BIOL x94 Special Topics in Subject Matter (Arr.) Special topics chosen by the instructor. Course content will vary. May be repeated for credit, provided that a different topic is studied. Additional requirements may apply depending on subject and topic.

BIOL x99 Directed Studies (Arr.) Statement of planned reading or research required. Pre: instructor’s consent.