merging Botany and Zoology Departments (fwd)

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.


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.

        Sylvia Hope                           *
        Dept. of Ornithology and Mammalogy    *
        California Academy of Sciences        *
        Golden Gate Park                      *
        San Francisco, CA, USA 94118          *
        email:  sylvia.hope at    *
        phone:  (415) 750-7176                *
        fax:    (415) 750-7137                *

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