Biology

May Term Courses in Biology

The Biology Department has several options for May Term.

A group of students in Field Ornithology course
A group of students in Field Ornithology course

Field Ornithology: Students in the Field Ornithology class observe birds and learn about avian ecology while they are out in the field during every class period. A highlight of the course is when students camp in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, and go kayaking in a cypress swamp. Students also get a behind-the-scenes tour of the bird collection at the Field Museum, and this past year they watched scientists band Peregrine Falcon chicks.

Two acquatic yellow toads mating
Two aquatic yellow toads ( Incilius luetkenii ) mating

Herpetology: This course introduces students to the field of herpetology, the branch of zoology that emphasizes the study of amphibians and reptiles. This May term course has lecture, lab and field components, and culminates with a mini research conference in which each student presents their independent research on a selected herpetological topic.

Red eye tetra stained to highlight adult skeletal anatomy
Red eye tetra stained to highlight adult skeletal anatomy

Experimental Embryology: Research based course that emphasizes that emphasizes the histological, cellular and molecular techniques required to study and answer questions about vertebrate development.

Students of Tropical Ecology course observing the wildlife
Students of Tropical Ecology course observing the wildlife

Tropical Ecology-Costa Rica: Students are introduced to the ecosystems, animals and plants of Costa Rica and meet with various agencies that deal with the preservation of biodiversity, forest management, and the collection and cataloging of diverse organisms. Students also perform group research projects.

Each May, Illinois Wesleyan offers several travel courses, led by faculty and lasting 3-4 weeks. Here Professor Given Harper discusses his biannual Tropical Ecology course in Costa Rica. This course fulfills requirements for either the Biology major or the Environmental Studies major.