Skip to Main Content


This program prepares students to transfer to a four-year institution to complete a baccalaureate degree with a major in one of the following areas: biology, microbiology, biotechnology, physical therapy, pharmacology or physician assistant programs.

New Books!

The Deep Ocean

An epic excursion into one of the last great frontiers on Earth The deep ocean comprises more than 90 percent of our planet's biosphere and is home to some of the world's most dazzling creatures, which thrive amid extreme pressures, scarce food supplies, and frigid temperatures. Living things down here behave in remarkable and surprising ways, and cutting-edge technologies are shedding new light on these critically important ecosystems. This beautifully illustrated book leads you down into the canyons, trenches, and cold seeps of the watery abyss, presenting the deep ocean and its inhabitants as you have never seen them before. Features a wealth of breathtaking photos, illustrations, and graphics Gives a brief and accessible history of deep-sea exploration Explains the basics of oceanography Covers a marvelous diversity of undersea organisms Describes habitats ranging from continental slopes to hydrothermal vents and abyssal plains Discusses humanity's impacts on the deep ocean, from fisheries and whaling to global climate change and acidification Written by a team of world-class scientists

The Voices of Nature

Songs, barks, roars, hoots, squeals, and growls: exploring the mysteries of how animals communicate by sound What is the meaning of a bird's song, a baboon's bark, an owl's hoot, or a dolphin's clicks? In The Voices of Nature, Nicolas Mathevon explores the mysteries of animal sound. Putting readers in the middle of animal soundscapes that range from the steamy heat of the Amazon jungle to the icy terrain of the Arctic, Mathevon reveals the amazing variety of animal vocalizations. He describes how animals use sound to express emotion, to choose a mate, to trick others, to mark their territory, to call for help, and much more. What may seem like random chirps, squawks, and cries are actually signals that, like our human words, allow animals to carry on conversations with others. Mathevon explains how the science of bioacoustics works to decipher the ways animals make and hear sounds, what information is encoded in these sound signals, and what this information is used for in daily life. Drawing on these findings as well as observations in the wild, Mathevon describes, among many other things, how animals communicate with their offspring, how they exchange information despite ambient noise, how sound travels underwater, how birds and mammals learn to vocalize, and even how animals express emotion though sound. Finally, Mathevon asks if these vocalizations, complex and expressive as they are, amount to language. For readers who have wondered about the meaning behind a robin's song or cicadas' relentless "tchik-tchik-tchik," this book offers a listening guide for the endlessly varied concert of nature.

Snakes of the World

A gorgeously illustrated guide to the incredible diversity of snakes around the world Snakes are found on every continent except Antarctica and have evolved to occupy a vast range of habitats, from mountains to oceans and deserts to rain forests. Snakes of the World explores their extraordinary diversity, with an in-depth introduction covering anatomy, behavior, habitats, reproduction, conservation, and other essential topics. This expert guide also includes profiles of some of the approximately 4,000 species of snakes, featuring examples from every family and subfamily. Each family profile highlights the remarkable appearance, characteristics, and lifestyle of notable snake species. Covering how snakes use venom or constriction to subdue their prey, how a snake's appearance can aid camouflage or boast of its killing capacity, and how habitat destruction is jeopardizing the future of many species, Snakes of the World is an invaluable guide to these fascinating reptiles. Features more than 200 stunning color photographs Presents species profiles with a commentary, distribution map, and table of information Includes examples from every snake family and subfamily

Units of Selection

This Element introduces the Disambiguating Project (DP) about the units of selection. By DP, the authors mean the thesis that the expression 'units of selection' refers to at least three non-co-extensional functional concepts: interactor, replicator/reproducer/reconstitutor, and manifestor of adaptation/type-1 agent. They present each concept and demonstrate the necessity of their isolation, because each of them responds to a distinct question about the units of selection, and these distinct questions are not always posed in combination in today's biological research. They further apply the framework to the analysis of the debates concerning the Evolutionary Transitions in Individuality (ETI) and argue that the DP interprets the ETI better than any project rejecting the three meanings of 'units of selection.' Thus, they claim that the differentiation between at least these three functional concepts is fundamental to clarify some conceptual confusions in biology, which rest on the conflation of these distinct meanings.

Immune Ethics

The immune system maintains homeostasis within human organisms and protects them from pathogenic threats. But sometimes it cannot provide this protection on its own, and vaccines may be necessary to ensure our health and survival. Immune functions can become dysregulated and result in autoimmune disease or multi-system damage. Pharmacological and genomic interventions may activate or modulate immune functions to prevent these outcomes. This Element is an analysis and discussion of some of the ethical implications of these interventions. After describing the main components of innate and adaptive immunity and how it might be enhanced, it considers the potential benefit and harm from vaccines against addiction and viruses, immunotherapy for cancer, neuroimmunomodulating agents to prevent or treat neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases, and gene editing of immunity to enable xenotransplantation and prevent infectious disease. The Element concludes with an exploration of a possible outcome of natural competition between humans and microbes.

National Audubon Society Mushrooms of North America

The most comprehensive and authoritative guide to the mushrooms of North America, updated for the first time in decades to reflect the impact of climate change and the advancements in DNA sequencing that have radically altered the classification process. Created by the world's most trusted name in nature field guides, this handsome volume is the result of a collaboration among leading scientists, scholars, taxonomic and field experts, photo editors, and designers. An indispensable resource, with nearly 2,900 full-colour photographs, it reveals the astounding variety of forms, colours, and conditions of 668 species of mushrooms that can be found all throughout North America. For ease of use, the book includes a glossary, an index, and a ribbon marker, and is organized according to the latest phylogenetic arrangement from the Assembling the Fungal Tree of Life project. Each species features up to five vibrant photographs, to aid with identification, along with notes on range, season, spore print, look-alikes, conservation status, and more. Introductory essays explain the various parts of a mushroom-both above and below ground-common host trees, nomenclature and taxonomy, mushroom ecology, and the impacts of our changing climate. Whether marvelling at species like the "shaggy rose goblet" and "dead man's fingers," or getting to know the miraculous forms that take root in the backyard, readers will come to rely on this work of remarkable breadth, depth, and elegance. It is a must-have reference for the library of any nature lover and is poised to become the number-one guide in the field.

Nature's Temples

An impassioned case for the importance of ancient forests and their preservation Standing in an old-growth forest, you can instinctively sense the ways it is different from forests shaped by humans. These ancient, undisturbed ecosystems are increasingly rare and largely misunderstood. Nature's Temples explores the science and alchemy of old-growth forests and makes a compelling case for their protection. Many foresters are proponents of forest management, while ecologists and conservation biologists believe that the healthiest forests are those we leave alone. Joan Maloof brings together the scientific data we have about old-growth forests, drawing on diverse fields of study to explain the ecological differences among forests of various ages. She describes the life forms and relationships that make old-growth forests unique--from salamanders and micro-snails to plants that communicate through fungi--and reveals why human attempts to manage forests can never replicate nature's sublime handiwork. This revised and expanded edition also sheds new light on the special role forests play in removing carbon from the atmosphere and shares what we know about the interplay between wildfires and ancient forests. With drawings by Andrew Joslin that illustrate scientific concepts and capture the remarkable beauty of ancient trees, Nature's Temples invites you to discover the power of these fragile realms that are so inextricably connected to our planet, our fellow species, and our spirits.

Kingdoms, Empires, and Domains

A generation or two before Socrates, thinkers classified the world's organisms into three categories: plants, animals, and man. However, Aristotle recognized that some organisms, such as sponges and sea-fans, share properties of both plants and animals. These became known as zoophytes. Since then, scientists have explored the idea of a "third kingdom." In Kingdoms, Empires, and Domains, leading molecular systematist Mark A. Ragan offers a history of the idea that there is more to the living world than plants and animals. Progressing chronologically through philosophical, religious, literary, and other pre-scientific traditions, Ragan traces how transgressive creatures such as sponges, corals, algae, fungi, and diverse microscopic beings have been described, categorized, and understood throughout history. The book considers their appearance in early Christian, Islamic, and Jewish traditions; myths, legends, and traveller's tales; occult literature; and more. Kingdoms, Empires, and Domains also details how the concept of a "third kingdom" has evolved throughout the history of scientific botany and zoology, and continues to evolve up to the present day. Kingdoms, Empires, and Domains features original translations of passages from key historical texts, many of which have never appeared in English before. It also draws on the most recent and reliable scientific literature. A sweeping, interdisciplinary study, Kingdoms, Empires, and Domains is essential reading for students and scholars of the history of biological classification and anyone interested in the history of ideas about the natural world.

Biological Learning and Control

A novel theoretical framework that describes a possible rationale for the regularity in how we move, how we learn, and how our brain predicts events. In Biological Learning and Control, Reza Shadmehr and Sandro Mussa-Ivaldi present a theoretical framework for understanding the regularity of the brain's perceptions, its reactions to sensory stimuli, and its control of movements. They offer an account of perception as the combination of prediction and observation- the brain builds internal models that describe what should happen and then combines this prediction with reports from the sensory system to form a belief. Considering the brain's control of movements, and variations despite biomechanical similarities among old and young, healthy and unhealthy, and humans and other animals, Shadmehr and Mussa-Ivaldi review evidence suggesting that motor commands reflect an economic decision made by our brain weighing reward and effort. This evidence also suggests that the brain prefers to receive a reward sooner than later, devaluing or discounting reward with the passage of time; then as the value of the expected reward changes in the brain with the passing of time (because of development, disease, or evolution), the shape of our movements will also change. The internal models formed by the brain provide the brain with an essential survival skill- the ability to predict based on past observations. The formal concepts presented by Shadmehr and Mussa-Ivaldi offer a way to describe how representations are formed, what structure they have, and how the theoretical concepts can be tested.

The Hidden Company That Trees Keep

A spectacularly illustrated journey into the intimate communities that native trees share with animals, insects, fungi, and microbes You can tell a lot about a tree from the company it keeps. James Nardi guides you through the innermost unseen world that trees share with a wondrous array of creatures. With their elaborate immune responses, trees recruit a host of allies as predators and parasites to defend against uninvited advances from organisms that chew on leaves, drain sap, and bore into wood. Microbial life thrives in the hidden spaces of leaf scales, twigs, and bark, while birds, mammals, and insects benefit from the more visible resources trees provide. In return, animals help with pollination, seed dispersal, and recycling of nutrients. The Hidden Company That Trees Keep blends marvelous storytelling with beautiful illustrations and the latest science to reveal how the lives of trees are intertwined with those of their diverse companions. Features a wealth of richly detailed drawings accompanied by breathtaking images of microscopic landscapes on leaf, bark, and root surfaces Includes informative fact boxes Draws on new discoveries in biology and natural history Written by one of the world's leading naturalists

Suggested Reading