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Department of

Biological Sciences

  • SIRIUS is bringing research to every biology major

    The Sustainable Interdisciplinary Research to Inspire Undergraduate Success (SIRIUS) Project aims to provide nearly 2,000 students, majoring in the Biological Sciences, with authentic research experiences. This is being achieved through the re-design and coordination of 13 laboratory courses, all focused on a common theme – the human impacts of the American River Ecosystem.

     

    SIRIUS image of students walking along river trail
  • PAL is improving student success

    Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) provides small group learning experiences to increase student success in a number of courses within the biology department (as well as other NSM courses). Facilitated by students who know the courses well and have been trained in group learning strategies, PALs provides a relaxed environment for students to both teach and learn from each other. Notably, students who take PAL courses increase their grades by an average of 15%.

    Learn more

    Pal Students
  • Faculty research is making contributions to a variety of fields

    Our faculty performs research with a variety of different focuses, including: the human microbiome, stem-cell mediated wound healing, nervous system function, nervous system development & neurodevelopmental disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, evolutionary genetics, arthropod pest ecology & epidemiology, fish reproduction, vernal pool ecology, marine ecology, and plant growth and development.

    Image: Fluorescent staining of the mushroom body (green), a neural structure in the adut fruit fly brain.

    Fluorescent staining of a fruit fly brain

Introduction

Critical information for prospective students regarding how we accept students into the major.

The Department of Biological Sciences at Sacramento State prepares students for graduate school, teaching, and technical careers. Housed in Sequoia and Humboldt Halls, adjacent to the American River, our students work with faculty members in and out of the classroom. We currently have 25 full time faculty, serving approximately 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Many of our students are preparing for careers in health professions. A degree in Biological Sciences includes most of the science courses required for entry into health professional programs.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will develop a base of factual and conceptual knowledge of basic and applied biological processes. 
  2. Students will be able to generate and communicate scientific knowledge. 
  3. Students will develop and appreciate the importance of connections between other academic disciplines and the biological sciences and the social relevance of biology.
  4. Students will be able to implement the skills needed to be life-long learners in any field of study.

Delivery Program Learning Outcomes

These Program Learning Outcomes will be delivered in a way that will allow assessment of four themes in the Biological Sciences that are relevant to all subdisciplines:

There is an intimate relationship between structural elements and the function performed by biological systems at all hierarchical levels.  At the heart of this relationship is the cost-benefit analysis that determines this relationship. Realizing the context of this interaction is an important step toward recognizing the importance of the scientific method in our understanding of the world.

Communication and interaction exist at all levels of biological hierarchy. Development as a biological scientist involves an ability to recognize and apply these interactions through all levels of biological hierarchy, as well as the ability to apply the scientific process to develop this knowledge.

The process of transmission of genetic material and reproduction is fundamental to all living organisms. Furthermore, changes over evolutionary time result largely from differential transmission of traits. The context of these changes in the creation of biodiversity is an important aspect of biological understanding.

Energy drives all biological systems. Both biochemical and trophic interactions play important roles in the movement of energy in biological systems. An understanding of the processes of energy flow through the scientific process leads to an important aspect of life as a biological scientist.

Department Resources

  • Eighteen teaching laboratories, located in Sequoia and Humboldt Halls.
  • Support facilities: animal museums (30,000 specimens), greenhouse (4,000 plants), herbarium, and an arboretumBioinventory.
  • Checklist of plants of Placer County.
  • Research opportunities through: CREST (the Center for Regional Environmental Science and Technology) and CIMERA(the Center for Interdisciplinary Molecular Biology Education, Research and Advancement), Center for Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).
  • Close proximity to several hospitals, clinics, public and private health organizations in the Sacramento area that provide internship opportunities for students interested in the health care professions.
  • Sacramento State is one of the seven participating CSU campuses at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) near Monterey.
  • Located in the State Capital, Sacramento State provides the opportunity for students to become involved with various State and Federal agencies through biological internships and part-time employment.
  • Video library
  • Gymnosperm map
  • Tour request form

Greenhouse

Greenhouse
Located North of Sequoia Hall

Arboretum

University Arboretum

Vertebrate Museum

The CSUS Biology department is home to a vertebrate teaching collection which houses more than 2500 mammals and over 3700 birds. These specimens are used to help teach a variety of organismal biology courses and are also used for student and faculty research projects. Each year, our department provides museum tours for hundreds of visitors including K-12 students, home schooled children, scouts, and more. Our museum also has a live Dermestid beetle colony. These flesh-eating beetles are used to prepare a large collection of vertebrate skeletal material also used in our classrooms. Please take a few minutes and come visit us in the vertebrate museum! Housed in Sequoia 105. Curator: Merrill Roseberry, roseberry@csus.edu

Ectotherm Museums

Ectotherm Museums
The CSUS Museum of Ecothermic Vertebrates contains two collections, a fish collection (Humboldt 115) and a herp collection (Humboldt 121).

CSUS Fish Collection

CSUS Fish Collection
The CSUS fish collection is a small, but diverse, collection of fishes, totaling some 2722 lots. Specimens are stored in 50% isopropyl alcohol.
Most of the specimens are catalogued by lot number. The Museum also contains a separate small teaching collection of uncatalogued specimens, used for situations where the specimens may get damaged, e.g. for students learning to identify fishes. This collection concentrates on California fishes.

CSUS Herp Collection

The CSUS herp collection is a small, teaching-oriented collection of approximately 1722 lots, maintained for hands-on experience identifying reptiles and amphibians in such courses as Herpetology and Vertebrate Natural History.
Curator: Dr. Ron Coleman 916-278-3474.
Our official collection "Standard International Code" designation is "SSU" (i.e., Sacramento State University, 6000 J Street, Sacramento, California 95819-6077) as listed in Leviton et al. (1985).

Insect Collection

SQU 120A (Curator: Dr. Jimmy Pitzer)

Herbarium

Collection of 16,000 plant specimens from North Central California. Collections of Michael Baad and Josephine Van Ness are part of the collection.

Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Placer County, California

by Michael Baad, Kristi Lazar, Deborah Meyer and Josephine Van Ess
For more information, contact Dr. Michael Baad, mbaad@csus.eduIntroduction to the DatasetSpreadsheet or PDFOak Figure Frink
About The Living Gallery