The Biology Department provides opportunities for students to pursue research interests in both field and lab:
Housed on the campus of St. John's University, the Biology Department is surrounded by a diversity of natural habitats, which serve as a focus for study in both classes and independent research. The 2400-acre campus features a large oak forest with stands of maples, pine and spruce, a restored oak savanna and tall grass prairie, both natural and restored wetlands and a diversity of large and small lakes. The land is managed by the SJU Arboretum, which oversees the sustainable harvest of timber and educational outreach to local schools. Students can volunteer to participate in anything from teaching kindergarten classes about wolves to removing invasive European Buckthorn to helping burn the prairie.
The College of St. Benedict also owns about 300 acres of natural habitats, including prairie and wetland restorations and 100 acres of relatively undisturbed "big woods" deciduous forest on the campus. In addition, the College owns a 140 acre woodland and wetland tract about 3 miles north of campus.
In addition to sites available on campus, the colleges are in proximity to a variety of natural areas located in the surrounding communities and countryside. Nearby Quarry Park and Roscoe Prairie are popular destinations for laboratories, research, and comparative studies.
In support of our excellent "outdoor classrooms," the Biology Department maintains collections of plants and animals for research and educational use.
- The Melancon Greenhouse features a wide variety of teaching specimens, including excellent desert and tropical rooms. The greenhouse also has dedicated space available for both student and faculty research.
- The Bailey Herbarium, managed by our chief botanist Dr. Saupe, is the largest in the state aside from that at the University of Minnesota. It includes over 30,000 specimens of vascular and nonvascular plants, representing both local and global collections ranging in age from modern to over 150 years.
- Invertebrate and vertebrate research and teaching collections are housed in the Peter Engel Science Center in dedicated research and preparatory rooms.
- The Herbert & Birdella Hall Natural Science Museum houses a large collection of mammals, birds, and insects in the New Science Center.
The Biology Department possesses state-of-the art laboratories specially designed for the study of cell biology, developmental biology, microbiology, virology, biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, histology and introductory biology. Collaborative research spaces are where student and faculty members work side-by-side. The newly renovated Peter Engel Science Center includes classrooms for genetics, anatomy and physiology, ecology and plant biology. Instrumentation that is available to faculty and students for teaching and research use includes:
- cell culture facilities
- electron microscopy suite with both scanning & transmission electron microscopes
- electrophoretic apparatus
- gas chromatography apparatus
- liquid chromatography apparatus
- liquid scintillation counter
- low speed, high speed, and ultracentrifuges
- thermal cycler (for PCR)
- walk-in controlled environmental chambers