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  • Kathy Wright, Department Assistant
  • Biology & Chemistry 
  • Math, Physics & Computer Science
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  • Office: Boyd Science Center 227
  • 785.594.8419

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Biology Student Experience

Baker biology students have a multitude of opportunities for involvement in and out of the classroom. Small class sizes allow you maximum interaction with classmates and professors. Biology students also participate in activities beyond the classroom.

Lab Time

With small classes and personal attention from members of the biology faculty, you will have plenty of time in our laboratories to explore and observe what you read in books. Almost all biology courses are accompanied by a laboratory hour in which students and faculty work together to engage in the practical application of biological research and theory.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Baker students have been successful in obtaining Research Experiences for Undergraduates. Held at major research universities in the summer, REUs are opportunities for undergraduate students in the fields of math, science and technology to take part in major research projects. REUs can offer you experience in medical, wildlife and endless other types of research.

 On-Campus Research

Biology students have endless opportunities to conduct research in the classroom, in the lab, on campus and beyond. Baker students have access to natural resources throughout the area and lab resources for conducting self-directed studies. Students also work with members of the faculty in developing and conducting research projects.

 Natural Spaces

Baker’s Biology Department maintains a three natural spaces for observation and study of wildlife and plant life. The areas are within a short distance of Baker’s campus:

Baker Wetlands

Baker students have the opportunity to observe life in this natural setting of the Wakarusa flood plain. The Baker Wetlands consist of 573 acres just south of Lawrence, about 10 miles north of Baldwin City. The Wetlands serve as a habitat for 219 species of birds, such as the Marsh Wren and Pileated Woodpecker. The Wetlands also host 35 species of amphibians and reptiles, 13 species of fish, 22 species of mammals and 333 species of plants such as the biden. The biden provides a source of food for the Monarch butterfly, which is one of many species for which the Wetlands provides a resting place during migration. Baker Wetlands Website

Ivan L. Boyd Arboretum

The Boyd Arboretum consists of the six blocks of campus in Baldwin City. The campus houses more than 110 species of trees and shrubs, creating an opportunity for the study of diverse plant life right on campus. Many of the trees have been in the area for more than a century, but in the mid-20th century, Ivan L. Boyd, a professor of biology, began an effort to grow the plant life on campus. In 1978, the campus was dedicated as the Boyd Arboretum. Although Boyd died in 1982, the Arboretum flourishes as the Department of Biology continues to expand it.
pdfWalking Tour Map

 Preprofessional Programs

Baker’s courses and activities can prepare you for further studies in nursing, medical and health fields and in forestry and environmental studies. You can work closely with Baker faculty members to prepare you for medical studies, graduate studies in biology, professional training and more.


Discovering a New Species

Students Tiffany Clark and Cullen Miller and William Miller, assistant professor of biology, recently published the reviewed professional paper “Tardigrades of North America: Archechiniscus biscaynei nov. sp. (Arthrotardigrada: Archechiniscidae), a Marine Tardigrade from Biscayne National Park, Florida, U.S.A.” in the science journal Southeast Naturalist.

The paper describes the new species of marine tardigrade the team found while attending the fourth annual National Park/National Geographic BioBlitz at Biscayne National Park in Homestead, Fla., two years ago. The new animal, which is only 1/3 of a millimeter long was extracted from between the plates of barnacles scraped from a mangrove log on the intertidal flats in front of the visitor’s center.  While working in the science tent of the Bioblitz, the students and Miller first observed the microscopic animal because it had red algae in its gut and stood out from the debris about which it was crawling. But it wasn’t until they returned to the laboratories at Baker to use more powerful microscopes and review the world literature that they realized they had discovered something new to science. 

Describing a New Genus

Baker student Rachael Schulte, Miller and Fresno City College Professor Carl Johansson recently published the reviewed professional paper, "Tardigrades of North America: further description of the genus Multipseudechiniscus Schulte and Miller, 2011 (Heterotardigrada: Echiniscoidea: Echiniscidae) from California," in the science journal  of the Smithsonian Institution Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. The paper describes the new genus of terrestrial tardigrade discovered by Schulte a couple of summers ago while working in Miller’s lab. The sample was collected by Baker student Jordan Olsen on the 2007 Expedition to California by Miller’s North American Tardigrade Team when it completed a transect from 10,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the San Joaquin Valley floor.