Department of Biological Sciences

The department offers programs leading to the Master of Science in Biology, Master of Science in Marine Science, Master of Arts in Biological Sciences, and Doctor of Philosophy in Biology degrees. The graduate program is designed to provide broad training in the biological sciences, with focused areas of study in the fields of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) or Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics (EES). Research foci within MCB include disease model systems; evolutionary and developmental genetics; microbiology and immunology; genomics; and protein biochemistry. Research foci within EES include population, community, and ecosystem ecology; microbial ecology; evolutionary biology; conservation genetics; animal behavior and physiology; and systematics, with a special emphasis on aquatic systems.

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Research facilities include: Molecular Biology Core Facility, Steven Johnson Molecular Systematics Lab, Optical Analysis Facility, Aquatic Chemistry Laboratory, Animal Care Facility, as well as extensive museum collections and databases in the Scientific Collections Facility.

Local field sites include: J. Nicholene Bishop (Tanglewood) Biological Station, The University of Alabama Arboretum, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and Talladega National Forest.


  • Behzad Mortazavi
Graduate Program Director
  • Christina Staudhammer


Biological Sciences

Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

Courses at the 500 level are not open to students who have received credit for the same courses at the 400 level.

Vertebrate Funct Morphol

Morphology of animals, primarily vertebrates, with emphasis on functional aspects of anatomy. Laboratory deals mainly with comparative anatomy of the vertebrates. Offered fall semester.

Introduction to Graduate Studies in Biological Sciences

This graduate level course presents topics designed to accelerate the progress and success of incoming and early stage graduate students as they transition into a M.S. or Ph.D. program in Biological Sciences. As a career preparation course, it aims to provide graduate students the practical skills and tools that will be applicable throughout their careers, regardless of their research focus.

Marine Science

Courses offered at DISL carry the same credit toward graduate degrees as those taught on The University of Alabama campus by the Department of Biological Sciences.

Intro To Oceanography

A general introduction to the oceans, with emphasis on chemical, physical, and geological processes and the relationship of these processes to biological systems.

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