Biological Sciences Seminar Series ~ Spring 2019 ~ All are welcome to attend the Biology Semnars, in SciB 133 @ 4PM.

CANCELED ~ Today's speaker (5/3/19) has rescheduled for this fall 2019, this concludes the Biology Seminar for this spring semester! Enjoy your summer!!

CANCELED ~ Dr. Emily Jane McTavish, UC Merced, will present "Large scale phylogenetics, from within STD outbreaks to across the tree of life”.  Friday, May 3, 2019, at 4:00pm in SciB 133

Announcing SuperDARS & the Death of Paper Contracts, for the Majors and the Minors!

HSU is in the process of replacing paper major contracts by making direct changes onto your DARS.  This new system is called, by some, SuperDARS.  All BIOL/BOT/ZOOL majors should now make changes to their major contracts via SuperDARS and not use paper major contracts.  The new SuperDARS will allow you and your advisor to enter major substitutions directly into your DARS. SuperDARS will make your life simpler.If you have questions contact either your advisor or Department Chair Bruce O'Gara (

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES DEPARTMENT GRADUATION RECEPTION & OPEN HOUSE ~ MAY 12TH 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM ~ First floor lobby of Sci Bldg. B., following the ceremony at 12 Noon that same day! The Biological Sciences Department invites you to celebrate with our graduates at a reception & open house, after the CNRS Commencement, on Saturday. Please stop by for some refreshments, visit the Greenhouse, Herbarium, Vertebrate Museum, Electron Microscope Labs, and other Departmental displays. Friends & Famlies welcome! Hope to see you there!!

William Louis Lester ~ 1932-2018

With great sadness we note that at age eighty-five, Dr. William Louis Lester departed this earthly realm for an unknown destination. Bill was recruited by HSU to instigate a program in micro-medical biology, which proved highly successful, especially for students aiming for nursing school. His academic career spanned 37 years. A celebration of Bill’s life will be announced later. If you wish, please make a donation in his name to your favorite charity.

Manuel "Manny" Kaster ~ 1930 - 2017

MANUEL CHERNOFF KASTER Born in August, 1930 in Youngstown, Ohio, and passed away peacefully on Saturday, May 13, 2017 in McKinleyville, California at the age of 86. Fondly known as "Manny" to all who knew him, he, along with his two sisters and parents, moved from Ohio to the Los Angeles area when Manny was a teenager. Manny obtained his Bachelor's degree from UCLA and then went on to UC Berkeley for his Master's degree, eventually making his way to Arcata, California in the late 1960's to accept a teaching position as a zoology professor at Humboldt State University, where he remained until his retirement in 1994. Manny was a quiet, humble, private and self-reliant individual. A small service will be held at the Redwood Lodge at Redwood Park in Arcata on Friday, June 16th at 2:00pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Humboldt Area Foundation for either the Manuel C. Kaster Scholarship Fund, which supports local HSU students majoring in zoology, or the Manuel C. Kaster Fund, which supports local middle school and high school classroom projects emphasizing zoology, and also supports local bicycle awareness, access, and safety.

2015/16 Outstanding Professor ~ Professor Mihai Tomescu

Professor Tomescu will present, "Rise of the relentless sunlight seekers." Thursday, November 17, 2016 from 5:00 -7:00 p.m. in the Van Duzer Theatre. Plants are beautiful, useful, and crucial for terrestrial ecosystems. They are also fascinating beings whose lives are predicated by constraints in many ways alien to those that are fundamental to our own lives, from reproductive biology to the way they are put together and grow. Plants have been around for more than 400 million years and the fossil record holds the keys to many of the singular aspects of plant-ness. Open to HSU Students, Faculty, Staff and the Community. Reception to follow.

HSU Professor Profiled on Website of National Scientific Society

Bruce A. O'Gara, Professor of Zoology and Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, was recently profiled in the Member Spotlight section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) website.  The AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the prestigious scientific journal, Science.  The profile entitled "Bruce O’Gara teaches his students how to find an answer" details how Prof. O'Gara works with students in his research laboratory to provide practical training to help them advance in their scientific careers.  Featured in the profile is the research of senior Cellular and Molecular Biology major Araik Sinanyan on the endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) and its effects on the regeneration of lost body parts of an annelid worm.  Also featured in the profile are quotes from HSU graduate Michael Smeaton, who attributes his experiences in O'Gara's laboratory as being an important factor in giving him the confidence to earn a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins and perform postdoctoral work at Cal-Tech and Stanford. Photograph of Lumbriculus variegatus, whose head was removed at the dotted line 11 days previously.  To the right of the dotted line, the worm has regenerated a normal and complete new head.  Photograph by HSU student Christopher Mendoza.

2013-2014 HSU CIRM Scholars Symposium

The HSU CIRM Scholars will return to campus this Friday, May 9th, starting @ 3pm in the Native American Forum.  The scholars will give fifteen minute oral presentations summarizing their research. A full schedule is attached. Please join us as we welcome them back to campus and learn about their work!

Biological Sciences Seminar Series for Spring 14


Botany Awards & Greenhouse Dedication Ceremony

Congratulations to all the recipients of the awards announced on April 25th during the 2014 Botany Award Ceremony! The Gregory Mark Jennings Botany Award went to Arthur Grupe II.  The F. R. Meredith Botany Scholarship went to Alex Bippus. The Dennis K. Walker Botany Award was awarded to Maria Friedman.  The Rumble Award for Excellence in Botany went to Rachael Olliff. The Sterling Sam Botany Award was awarded to Kevin Amses. The first ever recipient of the newly established Sawyer-Smith Botanical Field Studies Fellowship went to Ian Zacher. Included in the Ceremony activities was the renaming of the HSU Greenhouse, as it will now and forever be known as the Dennis K Walker Greenhouse!

Don't forget to "like" us on Facebook!


BGSA Shirt & Mug Gifts Now Available! Get them before they sell out...they make great graduation presents!

The Biology Dept. Office was a buzz with activity for Halloween 2013!

CONGRATULATIONS DR. TERRY HENKEL! Terry was one of several authors that contributed to a paper that come out yesterday in Science (October 18, 2013) on "Hyperdominance in the Amazonian tree flora" that is a massive meta-analysis of tree distribution patterns over tropical South America based on data from 1,430 plots across the entire region. Terry contributed data from a number of these plots from the Guianas region, which were unique to the dataset in exhibiting the highest levels of single species dominance and lowest overall woody plant alpha-diversity.


HSU Program Enriches Local Science Teachers

A handful of local middle and high school science teachers recently participated in a professional development program at HSU led by Biology professor Casey Lu through the Redwood Science Project (RSP). The purpose of the 3-day workshop was to give local educators a chance to network and enhance their curriculum through lab demonstrations and use of HSU’s electron microscopes.


The 2012-2013 HSU CIRM Bridges Scholars return to campus Friday May 17!

Come see what the students did during their last 9 months researching stem cells and regenerative cures at Stanford University, University of California San Francisco or University of California Davis. Please join us in celebrating their exciting accomplishments!

Biological Sciences Seminar Series

All are welcome to this weeks seminar speaker, Dr. Marshal Hedin, San Diego State, as he presents, "Exploring Cryptic Lineage Diversification in Mygalomorph Spiders of California". This will be our last seminar for spring 2013, hope you can make it! Fri., May 10th in SciB 135 at 4 pm. Please join us!


Botany Awards Ceremony takes place April 26, 2013 @ 2:30pm in SciB 157

Dr. Terry Henkel, Scholar of the Year Presentation - The Path Less Trodden

March 27, 2013 starting @ 5:00 pm in Van Duzer Theater - Dr. Henkel has pioneered the study of fungal biodiversity in the tropical rainforests of South America’s Guiana Shield, a remote and poorly studied region of the world. He will review two decades of field work in the relentless search for elusive, undiscovered fungi.

Alum Leads Effort to Rebuild NY Aquarium after Hurricane

Agreement with Redwood Capital Bank Bolsters Natural History Museum

HSU Biology Student Nets Fellowship for Sea Level Study

HSU Student Wins Prestigious CSU Teaching Award

Bio Core Upgrades Support Student Research

Federal Grant Boosts HSU’s Tick Biology Research

Dr. John Sawyer

Dear colleagues,

I'm writing to tell you the sad news that our friend and colleague, Professor Emeritus John Sawyer, passed away August 19, 2012.  John joined the HSU faculty in 1966 and retired in 2000.   Over the many years, he taught General Ecology, Plant Ecology, Desert Ecology, and Alpine Ecology as well as lab sections in Plant Taxonomy.  His particular forte was graduate education; he mentored more than 35 graduate students, many of whom now professional ecologists.   John was a community ecologist and widely regarded as an expert on the vegetation of California.  He was also an excellent general field biologist, an avid backpacker, and a very good plant taxonomist.  Many of the plant specimens in our herbarium, especially ones from remote montane localities, bear his name as collector.  John's special loves were woody groups like conifers and members of the rose, cascara, and huckleberry families.  He liked to call the herbaceous plants that I study "ground trash", but I suspect that he loved them too.   Along with his many former students and friends across the state and country, I'm going to miss John.


Cody Kime likes to push the limits. And not just his own limits, but the limits of life itself. A 2010 graduate of Humboldt State University and a Eureka native, Kime works 60 hours per week as a research associate in the Gladstone Institutes View Full Story


Students’ Moss Research Uncovers Potentially New Species

Undergraduate students working with Biology Professor Mihai Tomescu have discovered several potentially new species, one of which was included in a new family, from collections of plant fossils.


Reiss, Wilson Named National Academy of Sciences Fellows

The National Academy of Sciences has recognized Humboldt State Biological Sciences Chair John Reiss and Biological Sciences Professor Mark Wilson for their work exploring new approaches to teaching.


HSU Graduate Becomes The New Director Of N.Y. Aquarium

Alumnus making a big splash In New York: HSU Graduate Becomes The New Director Of N.Y. Aquarium.


Biology Grad Students get Specialized Computer Lab

Humboldt State University has opened a new computer lab for graduate students in biology. The shared-use laboratory supports graduate-level study and research in the biological sciences.


Vertebrate Collection Gets Lawlor Dedication

Mammal Collection renamed the T.E. Lawlor Mammal Collection, in honor of longtime Curator Tim Lawlor.


HSU Attracts $892K for Biology Mentoring

Humboldt State University will enroll its first group of under represented students next summer under a five-year, $892,000 National Science Foundation grant to mentor undergraduate research in the biological sciences.


HSU, Sac State Garner $3M Environmental Grant

The National Science Foundation has awarded $2 million to Sacramento State and $1 million to Humboldt State for their partnership in the California Environmental Legacy Project.


Campus Nets Big Stem Cell Grant

Professor Jacob Varkey, who teaches genetics and biotechnology with HSU’s Biological Sciences department, says stem cell biology will be a major facet of modern science in coming years.  “Stem cell biology is a basic science—to really understand what development is and how cells divide and differentiate into different cell types. This grant is a beginning for what we see as a longterm objective of HSU,” says Varkey.

Botany Program Thrives at Humboldt

DNA Analysis Grows at Humboldt State University