Research And Teaching

Biology faculty recognize the complementary roles of teaching and research in educating students. We believe that research is fundamentally important to the growth of the faculty and the teaching vitality of the department.



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Old Colleagues Making New Discoveries

In 1989, former Department Head Dave Sever and current Department Head Chris Beachy disagreed with one another regarding the evolution of the “mental [or chin] gland” found only in a select group of salamanders.  However, they have been friends and colleagues since 1989 and, when Beachy arrived in 2013, decided to update their analysis. They have discovered that the story is more complicated than either ever supposed in the first place!

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Why Fishes Are Found Where They Are Found

Luke Bower, a biology graduate student discovered that the place a fish chooses to occupy is very reliably predicted by the fish's shape. This pattern exists even among unrelated species of fish, which is an idea that was formerly disregarded. The discovery was made possible by the powerful use of gene sequences and the geometric morphometric tools that were used in a new way.

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Southeastern Ichthyologist wins "Best Paper"

Diego Elias, a member of Dr. Kyle Piller’s research team, was recently awarded with “Best Student Paper” at the fourth Latinoamerican Symposium of Ichthyology. Diego works on a fish called the “threadfin shad” in Mexico and uses molecular biology tools to understand the reasons for the unusual distribution of the this fish in Mexico.


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Diego Elias

Faculty Member named NSF Program Director

Dr. Janice Bossart is spending two years serving the U.S. scientific community as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF selects only a few scientists to these prestigious and time-consuming positions. Bossart’s role is to coordinate the review of grant proposals to the NSF, which funds hundreds of the finest research programs in the world.

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Dr. Janice Bossart

Southeastern Biologist Continues Tradition of Turtle Protection

Biology Professor Roldan Valverde is following in historic footsteps. He recently became the Scientific Director of The Sea Turtle Conservancy. The first director was Archie Carr, who is the most important turtle biologist of all time. Valverde is a perfect fit for this tradition given his unique combination of skills as a turtle conservationist and an endocrinologist.

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Biological Sciences

The Department of Biological Science offers coursework in a wide variety of disciplines and boasts many strong, well-funded research programs. 

We serve more than 12,000 students each year in modern facilities with cutting-edge instrumentation, and we emphasize inquiry-based, hands-on instruction. Our department has 37 full-time faculty and more than 900 undergraduate and graduate students.  


  • Concentrations in ecology/environmental/evolutionary biology, microbiology/molecular biology, organismal/integrative biology and science education

  • Honors curriculum is available

  • Closely affiliated with Southeastern's Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station near Manchac

  • Summer study abroad programs in Costa Rica



Biology News
Dr. Kyle Piller received the 2015 President's Award for Excellence in Research Dr. Kyle Piller received the 2015 President's Award for Excellence in Research

Seminar News

Dr. Trent Holliday

6 October

Trent Holliday

Tulane University

Title:A new species in the genus Homo: Homo naledi

Departmental Seminar Schedule



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SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Seminar News

Science on Tap