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Department of Biology

Biology at SUNY Potsdam is founded on the principle of providing a quality undergraduate education for students with diverse interests.

A broad general background in biology, as part of a liberal arts education, allows students to pursue a variety of careers or continue learning at the graduate level. The Department of Biology offers both Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees.

Undergraduate Research

The Department of Biology is always providing new course offerings and research projects. Faculty members' interests include a wide range of subjects in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology, cell and molecular biology, and anatomy and physiology? all of which are reflected in the program.

Thinking about PreMed?

We have tailored the Bachelor of Science in Biology program to be one of the best preparations for medical school. Just ask your advisor to help you choose the right combination of classes to help you succeed on your MCATs and at a competitive graduate school.

Protecting the Majestic Grey Crowned Crane

Taking flight like the endangered birds she studies, Bridget Amulike has launched an inspiring career as a conservation biologist, educator, and researcher. Born and raised in Tanzania, Amulike is now in the middle of a prestigious two-year SUNY PRODiG Fellowship at SUNY Potsdam, teaching her students about wildlife conservation with real world examples from her research in Africa on grey crowned cranes.

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Smile for the camera

Imagine a game camera with reading glasses. That’s one of the creative ways that four faculty members have been capturing photos of an unsuspecting assortment of small mammals through the modified lens of a wildlife camera. Funded by a grant through the Lougheed Center for Applied Learning, Dr. Glenn Johnson, Dr. Kate Cleary, Dr. Jessica Rogers, and Dr. Bridget Amulike launched a pilot project this summer to determine the most effective ways to collect data on a variety of critters ranging from deer mice and shrews to chipmunks and weasels—research that will inform future projects looking at tick abundance in the region.

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Protecting the Endangered

Traveling up and down the east coast, and through the Gulf of Mexico, Brogin Van Skoik ’11 puts his degree from SUNY Potsdam to the test. Working as an endangered species observer on a large dredging vessel, he carefully monitors the human impact on a precious assortment of turtles, fish, and whales—halting dredging operations at a moment’s notice if too many species are harmed by the shipping operations.

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A New Lease on Life

Leaving behind a decade-long career as a paramedic, Laura Schappert ’08 & ’22 returned to SUNY Potsdam for a fresh start. She’s now pursuing a degree in biology, and gaining hands-on experience as a beekeeper, researcher, and caretaker for a lively cohort of amphibians within the walls of Stowell Hall. 

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Answering the Call

COVID-19 has presented challenges that we never could have imagined. Social distancing, wearing masks, and weekly pooled saliva testing have become as familiar to the campus community as late-night visits to the library. This semester, nine SUNY Potsdam students have embraced the challenge, and are giving back to the campus community as part of a new internship to meet the demands of the global pandemic—answering the call as newly appointed contract tracers for the College.

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A Veteran’s Passion for Medicine

After serving in Afghanistan as a hospital corpsman during a seven year stint in the U.S Navy, Kellen Bertrand ’21 returned stateside and set his sights on getting a degree at SUNY Potsdam. He’s now in his final year at the College, and wrapping up a degree in biology and chemistry all while maintaining an impressive 4.0 GPA. In the spring he will be applying to medical school where he plans to parlay his success in into a lifelong career.

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Amber Rudolph ’20

Whether she’s visiting an ecovillage in Ireland, conducting a research project about a community garden, or cleaning a boa constrictor tank in the Department of Biology, Amber Rudolph ’20 has been gaining a cornucopia of applied learning experiences, while pursuing a double major in biology and environmental studies at SUNY Potsdam.

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Student Research

Camille Holmes ’19 comes from a long line of strong women. Her grandmother was a pioneer, blazing the way for other women in the field of science. Now she's leading the way herself by conducting Presidential Scholars Research on Red Breasted Quail in Stowell Hall, while also maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

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To Belize and Back

Eight biology students recently joined Dr. Glenn Johnson for a 14-day “Tropical Ecology and Conservation” travel course to Belize where they got to explore a variety of eco-systems and interact with wildlife ranging from baby sea turtles to snakes.

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Whirligigs and the Study of Animal Behavior

Ever since stepping foot on campus 17 years ago, SUNY Potsdam Professor Dr. William Romey has dedicated his time to researching tiny whirligig beetles and how their movement can inform the behavior of animals as large as the wildebeests of Africa.

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Tower Gardens Constructed at the WISER Greenhouse

Five Tower Gardens were constructed in SUNY Potsdam's WISER Greenhouse, giving our biology students the opportunity to utilize a unique aeroponic growing system. The Watertown Daily Times wrote an article about the project.

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Biology Professor and Alumni Capture Spruce Grouse in Canada

To improve population numbers and genetic diversity of spruce grouse, SUNY Potsdam Biology Professor Glenn Johnson and alumni spent two weeks in Canada capturing and relocating the birds to the Adirondacks.

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Looking for the Varroa Mite in Beehives

Experiential learning is the at the heart of a SUNY Potsdam education and that is no more clearly expressed than when four students ventured out to inspect local honey bee hives as they were looking for the presence of the Varroa Mite.

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“I’ve definitely loved the small community at SUNY Potsdam. It’s really great because every professor that I’ve had knows my name and knows my story and knows me—it’s kind of amazing!" 

Camille Holmes ’19