Our outstanding faculty, state-of-the-art lab facilities, close proximity to field sites, and small class sizes provide our students hands-on experience across the full range of modern biology disciplines, from the sub-cellular level to the biosphere.
The goals of the Biology department are to provide students opportunities to explore the diversity of life within the tradition of a liberal arts education.
As senior Alexa Warburton opens the door to the cephalopod lab, a pungent smell escapes into the third-floor hallway of Middlebury College’s McCardell Bicentennial Hall. “It smells like the ocean,” she comments. And it should. Warburton, a senior biology major from Hopkinton, N.H., is spending her summer studying a member of the cephalopod family, Octopus bimaculoides . Her goal is to study the way these saltwater creatures learn, thereby furthering the already-extensive body of research on invertebrate intelligence.
Helen Young (Biology) and her students have recently been exploring the effects of landscape on pollinator: How does the presence of forest around a field affect the number and diversity of bee pollinators? What about corn fields? Or roads and rivers and cities? This work has strong relevance in Addison County, an area heavily reliant on agriculture for its well-being. Once the researchers know what influences pollinator abundance, they will be able to include this information in city and county planning, and help farmers maintain (or even increase) their crop yield for insect pollinated crops.