School of Biological Sciences

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The School of Biological Sciences offers exceptional opportunities to learn, work, and collaborate across levels of biological organization and styles of research. Faculty research interests span the complete spectrum of biological phenomena and disciplines, from biochemistry to global environmental change. This breadth of research interests has led to development of two focused, yet overlapping, graduate training programs: Molecular, Cellular, and Evolutionary Biology (MCEB) and Ecology Evolution and Organismal Biology (EEOB).


Mammalogy award

August 6, 2018 - Denise Dearing, Director of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Utah, has been awarded the 2018 Joseph Grinnell Award by the American Society of Mammalogists. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to education in mammalogy. The citation notes Dearing’s “dedication to understanding whole animal physiology and particularly the evolutionary associations between mammals and plants. . . nowhere was your impact more evident than your efforts as a role model for students and postdocs.” Learn more about Dearing’s recent work to understand the relationship between desert woodrats and their environment.  See Woodrat Article...

Birds eat up to 550 million tons of insects each year

July 23, 2018 - In a new paper, biology professor Çağan Şekercioğlu and colleagues from the University of Basel and University of Illinois at Chicago show that insectivorous birds eat nearly half a billion ton of insects per year, comparable to the approximately 400 million tons of meat and fish humans eat annually. As summarized in Prof. Sekercioglu’s book “Why Birds Matter”, this is another proof of the critical ecosystem service of insect pest consumption birds provide to humanity worldwide. That's as many as 20 quadrillion individual bugs. The study highlights the important role birds play in keeping plant-eating insect populations under control, researchers say. This article is published by Springer and in Science Daily, Forbes and USA Today.

Oecologia special edition honors James Ehleringer

July 16 2018 - The opening paper in this Special Issue of Oecologia by Jim Ehleringer and his former student and long-time collaborator Darren Sandquist tells the story of what they have discovered and learned about E. farinosa in an unprecedented multi-decadal demographic analysis. The paper is the first of 16 papers dedicated to Jim’s distinguished career and its impact on plant and ecosystem ecology writ large, including stable isotope ecology, desert ecology, photosynthetic adaptation, global change biology, urban ecology, paleobiology, forensic science, and atmosphere–biosphere interactions. This special issue of Oecologia is a fitting venue within which to honor Jim.

Congrats to Shannon Nielsen-Staff Excellence Award

July 9, 2018 - This prestigious award program recognizes superior service and ongoing contributions by full-time staff employees.  To be nominated is a high honor, and a sign that your commitment and contributions are truly valued by your colleagues. See Full Story...

Fires are white-hot signs of climate change

June 28, 2018 - Dr. William Anderegg, Biology Assistant Professor has published an article in the Denver Post. Scientists have been studying fires and trying to predict fire risk for decades. The drivers of fires are complicated and there’s a lot of random chance involved in any given fire, but there are some crystal clear big-picture patterns. First, the West has been warming due to human greenhouse gas emissions coming from our cars, power plants, and other sources. Hotter temperatures mean lower snowpacks, earlier snowmelts, and drier forests – sound familiar from this year? All of these factors are associated with years with lots of big fires. See Full Story...

College of Science Faculty Spotlight

June 13, 2018 - Dr. Bryn Dentinger, Associate Professor of Biology, focuses his research on fungal diversity and coevolution. He also is the Curator of Mycology at the Natural History Museum of Utah where he has established a fungus collection already numbering about 500 specimens. His goal is to build a permanent collection with thousands of specimens to document fungi in Utah and worldwide.“Fungi are fundamental agents in the environment with enormous impact on ecosystem processes and human well-being,” says Dentinger. “In fact, fungi are the primary agent of decay, ubiquitous symbionts of plants and animals – including humans – and the source of important medicines and enzymes in industry,” says Dentinger.  See Full Story...

Biology number one in UnderGrad majors

February 14, 2018 - According to the University of Utah's Winter 2018 Imaginagion Report, Biology is the now number one in the top 10 undergraduate majors at the U.

Biology Newsletter - Our DNA

November 15, 2017 - Just released “Our DNA” News! The Department of Biology’s Fall 2017 issue. Check out our “Faculty Spotlight”, Sophie Caron: How sensory input is remembered; Ryan Watts of Denail: Quest to conquer neurodegenerative illnesses; and “Alumni Spotlight”, Randy Rasmussen of Biofire, and much more! If you would like to be added to the mailing list, please email our PR/Advancement Director for the Biology Department. See Fall 2017 Newsletter

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