merging Botany and Zoology Departments (fwd)

Mammals Mammals at CASMAIL.CALACADEMY.ORG
Sun Apr 26 11:20:03 CDT 1998


On 22 April Una Smith wrote:
Biological science department mergers are certainly correlated with
increasing focus on levels of organization (molecules, cells, organisms,
communities) rather than taxonomic groups (plants, animals) in American
universities.  But I think the changing focus is the cause and mergers
are the result, not the other way around.

          and:

By the way, Berkeley has departments of Integrative Biology and Plant
Biology.  They are in separate colleges.

          Integrative Biology at Berkeley even includes Paleotology. I
          think that the merging of biological disciplines has much to
          do with advanced development of evolutionary theory and
          increased perception of common interests among organismal
          biologists.  This is a good thing, but the integration of
          disciplines may go to far if it erodes opportunities for
          students to do basic field work and and careful
          functional/morphological studies, emphasizing metanalysis at
          the expense of original observation.

          On the other hand Integrative Biology at Berkeley manages
          pretty well to integrate molecular and organismal studies.


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        Sylvia Hope                           *
        Dept. of Ornithology and Mammalogy    *
        California Academy of Sciences        *
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        San Francisco, CA, USA 94118          *
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        email:  sylvia.hope at calacademy.org    *
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