Summer Field Courses in the Ozarks

Saint Louis University offers several upper-division field biology courses at RBS each summer.  Courses are three weeks in length and take place during the first intersession of the summer.  Courses run concurrently, thus students may register for only one course per session.  All courses satisfy upper-division lecture & lab electives for SLU biology majors.  Credits earned are transferable to most academic institutions.  The only prerequisite for any of these courses is BIOL-106.

Please note that field courses include major outdoor components to take advantage of the unparalleled opportunities for learning about organisms in their natural environment.  You can expect to spend a considerable portion of class time hiking, canoeing, sampling, wading, etc., in potentially hot, humid weather.  Classes are not cancelled for rain.  You will likely encounter wildlife such as mosquitoes and other insects, ticks, snakes and frogs, as well as
poison ivy and stinging nettles.  We will ensure that you learn to recognize these organisms so that you can avoid or deal with them appropriately. 

If you have any questions about the courses or concerns about whether a field course is appropriate for you, you are encouraged to contact Dr. Valone (the field station director) or the course instructors.  Please also see the FAQs page for additional information.

BIOL-4200  Aquatic Ecology (4 hrs)
   An exploration of freshwater ecosystems in Missouri, including springs, rivers and
lakes.  The course will explore the diversity of living organisms found in these ecosystems including both animals and plants.  A major goal of the course is to gain understanding of how the physical and chemical properties of water affect the abundance and diversity of aquatic organisms.  Instructor: Dr. Robert Wood (, Saint Louis University.

BIOL-4320  Cave Biology (4 hrs)
   An introduction to the study of caves, including geological processes involved in cave formation and the biology of cave organisms.  Emphasis is placed on the systematics of cave organisms and on the adaptations that they have evolved for surviving in an energy-poor environment.  Field trips will visit a number of cave systems in the Missouri Ozarks.  Instructor: Dr. David Ashley (, Missouri Western University.

BIOL-4330  Spring Flora of the Ozarks (4 hrs)   This course will introduce students to the diverse flora of the Ozark & Ozark Border regions.  Emphasis is placed on sight recognition of species and plant families.   Numerous field trips will take place both on-site and at nearby state parks and conservation areas to learn about common ecosystems and specialized habitats such as glades and fens.  Instructor: Dr. Jan Barber (, Saint Louis University.

Note: in addition to elective credit, this course also satisfies the plant biology requirement for SLU biology majors.