The Department of Biological Sciences was formed from the merger of the Departments of Biochemistry, Microbiology, Plant Biology, and Zoology & Physiology in 1997. This organizational change was designed to foster cross-cutting, interdisciplinary research initiatives by removing administrative and phylogenetic constraints and by encouraging interactions among our diverse faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students. This approach is crucial for science in the 21st century and can yield significant rewards in the pace and quality of discovery. Such a strategy can bring powerful problem solving capabilities to bear on basic research questions that traditional, unidimensional approaches have been unsuccessful at solving. This change also promotes innovative educational opportunities for our students (approximately 2,120 undergraduate majors) and helps reduce fragmentation of the biological sciences curriculum. We offer three undergraduate majors – Biochemistry, Biological Sciences and Microbiology. Under our Biological Sciences major we offer two concentrations in Marine Biology and Secondary Education (Geaux Teach). We have 60 tenure-track faculty and 15 full-time instructors. To maintain our traditional strengths and foci, we have established three Divisions within our Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Cellular, Developmental, & Integrative Biology; and Systematics, Ecology, & Evolution. There are approximately 132 graduate students in the department. Funding for these students comes from a combination of departmental teaching assistantships, curatorial assistantships, fellowships, and external research support.
The Department of Biological Sciences is allied with the Museum of Natural Science and the LSU Shirley C. Tucker Herbarium and is a member of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), which provides excellent facilities and opportunities for marine and estuarine research. Numerous collaborations are maintained with other units on campus, and a diverse array of field sites are utilized by our faculty.