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Biology

Biology at RWU stands apart from the competition. For starters, the major is housed in the state-of-the-art Marine and Natural Sciences (MNS) Building. Located just a few hundred yards from Mount Hope Bay, the MNS Building is complete with a 4,000 square-foot wet lab, a greenhouse and a vast array of scientific equipment from PCR machines to a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. Roger Williams is also home to the state’s only shellfish hatchery, making both our academics and our facilities widely known and respected.

Students are encouraged to join student-faculty collaboration and ongoing research project in areas that include evolutionary genetics, cell biology, developmental biology, microbiology, neurobiology and ecology.

Most recently, biology students founded a chapter of FIMRC (Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children) on campus. The students raise funds, collect donations and spend spring break in El Salvador as Global Health Volunteers at FIMRC pediatric clinics and in the surrounding rural communities.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the time a student has completed a major in Biology or Marine Biology, s/he is expected to be able to demonstrate the following competencies:

  1. formulate a scientific question or problem
  2. design a properly controlled experiment or field study that tests a clearly-stated hypothesis
  3. evaluate evidence critically and quantitatively, and apply this knowledge to novel situations.
  4. effectively communicate scientific knowledge orally, graphically, and in writing
  5. conduct a search of peer-reviewed print and electronic resources relevant to a research project in the life sciences
  6. understand the role of macromolecules in cellular processes
  7. understand the relationship between the structure and function of cellular components
  8. understand the relationship between the structure and function of major organ systems
  9. understand the mechanisms of physiological homeostasis
  10. describe cellular and physiological adaptations that have evolved in a variety of phyla
  11. understand the key discoveries of modern biology (including molecular biology and bioinformatics)
  12. understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of inheritance
  13. understand the species concept and the factors affecting biodiversity
  14. describe the patterns and mechanisms of evolution
  15. understand how phylogenetic relationships among taxa are determined
  16. describe the patterns and mechanisms of population distribution, growth and regulation
  17. understand the flow of matter and energy through natural systems from the molecular to the ecosystem level
  18. describe interactions among biotic and abiotic factors in natural systems
  19. understand the life history strategies of organisms
  20. describe the major global biological communities and biomes
  21. understand significant interactions and dependencies between human and natural systems
Maria Szczebak
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Maria Szczebak

Maria
Szczebak
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Joe Szczebak
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Joe Szczebak

Joe
Szczebak
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Melissa Wagner
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Melissa Wagner

Melissa
Wagner
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Chris Powell
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Chris Powell

Chris
Powell
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Edward Peckham
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Edward Peckham

Edward
Peckham
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Jim Lemire
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Jim Lemire

Jim
Lemire
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Erin Davis
Adjunct Professor of Biology & Biology Lab Coordinator
Ph.D. Brown University; M.S. Brown University; B.S. Dickinson College
Contact Information
(401) 254-3430
Areas of Expertise: 
Anatomy & Physiology

Erin Davis

Erin
Davis
Adjunct Professor of Biology & Biology Lab Coordinator
Ph.D. Brown University; M.S. Brown University; B.S. Dickinson College
Contact Information
(401) 254-3430
Areas of Expertise: 
Anatomy & Physiology
Lonnie Guralnick, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
B.A., UC-San Diego, M.S., San Diego State, Ph.D. UC-Riverside
Contact Information
x3581
MNS 234
Areas of Expertise: 
Plant Physiology & Physiological Plant Ecology

Lonnie Guralnick

Lonnie
Guralnick
Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
B.A., UC-San Diego, M.S., San Diego State, Ph.D. UC-Riverside
Contact Information
x3581
MNS 234
Areas of Expertise: 
Plant Physiology & Physiological Plant Ecology
Brian Wysor, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
B.S. Southampton College, Ph.D. University of Louisiana
Contact Information
x3014
MNS 230
Areas of Expertise: 
Biogeography, Biodiversity and Systematics of Marine Algae

Brian Wysor

Brian
Wysor
Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
B.S. Southampton College, Ph.D. University of Louisiana
Contact Information
x3014
MNS 230
Areas of Expertise: 
Biogeography, Biodiversity and Systematics of Marine Algae

Awards & Accomplishments: recipient  of the Lafayette Ultimate Frisbee Players Association's "Prettiest Hair Award" (2001)

Paul M. Webb, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
B.A. University of Richmond, M.S., Ph.D. University of California, Santa Cruz
Contact Information
x3577
MNS 235
Areas of Expertise: 
Behavioral and physiological ecology of marine mammals and other marine vertebrates

Paul M. Webb

Paul M.
Webb
Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
B.A. University of Richmond, M.S., Ph.D. University of California, Santa Cruz
Contact Information
x3577
MNS 235
Areas of Expertise: 
Behavioral and physiological ecology of marine mammals and other marine vertebrates

Faculty website: http://faculty.rwu.edu/pwebb/index.html

Courses Taught:

  • BIO 220 - Marine Vertebrate Zoology and Lab
  • BIO 304 - Herpetology
  • BIO 315 - Animal Physiology and Lab
  • BIO 320 - Tropical Ecology
  • BIO 350 - Marine Mammalogy
  • BIO 362 - Animal Behavior
  • NATSC 204 - Principles of Oceanography