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The biology program at Hiram College provides students with the knowledge and experience to become professional biologists.

With our emphasis on experiential learning and hands-on applications, coupled with close faculty mentoring relationships, Hiram's biology students develop the expertise to succeed in graduate programs and professional work environments in the modern life sciences.

To enable our students to explore virtually limitless research areas, Hiram's biology department sustains a faculty with a broad scope of expertise, ranging from paleontology to ecology, marine biology to genetics, animal behavior to plant systematics.


JJ Turner Society

Induction of New Members and 2015 Annual Meeting

Graduating seniors who have majored or minored in the life sciences (Biology, Biomedical Humanities, Neuroscience) will be inducted as members of the Turner Society at a program at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, March 24, 2015.

This year’s program includes research reports by 4 graduating seniors, Emily Anderson, Kailey Cooper, and Tiffany Marchewka. Posters illustrating the work of other senior students will be on display.

Professor Mary Garvin, Hiram alumna (Class of 1986) and the Chair of Biology at Oberlin College, will be the featured speaker of the evening. Following her Hiram graduation as a biology major with certification in secondary education, Professor Garvin completed a M.S. in Zoology at Louisiana State University (1989). She then returned to Hiram for 2 years to manage the operations of the James H. Barrow Field Station. She received her Ph.D. (1996) in Infections Diseases from the Department of Pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida, then conducted post-doctoral research at Notre Dame University until she began teaching at Oberlin in 1998. Professor Garvin’s research interests include ecology of arthropod-borne diseases, effects of disease on avian demography, and the use of dendrochronology to document groundwater contamination.

The 2015 annual meeting of the Turner Society will take place on Saturday, June 20 as part of Alumni Weekend. This year’s ceremony will take place at the James H. Barrow Field Station. Two Turner Society awards will be made at this time. Professor Matt Hils will be recognized posthumously as a 2015 Turner Society awardee. Lauren Scott Lanphear (Hiram College, Class of 1979) will also receive the Turner award and will present a talk on his work as a nationally recognized arborist. Mr. Lanphear is president and owner of Forest City Tree Protection Company of South Euclid, Ohio. He is the Director of the International Society of Arboriculture and was elected president of the group in 2005. He has been involved with planning of gardens on Martha’s Vinyard, Massachusetts as well.

 Learn more about the Turner Society, its origins and a list of recipients of the annual Turner Society Award.


The Hiram College student chapter of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) announces its 2014-15 officers and fall events.  These events include:

  • October 2 - Fall Mixer: The Fall Mixer is a way to introduce lots of professors to the students on campus. Lots of professors are doing research in many different fields. You may find a professor whose research fits your interests. There will be food.
  • October 16 - Graduate school Luncheon: At this event biology professors will talk about there experiences in graduate school, offer advice, and answer questions.

This year's officers are: Ashley Curtis - President; Kayla Kennedy - Vice President; Sorina Fatu - Secretary; Ann Riddle - Treasurer.  The AIBS advisor is Willa Schrlau, Research Teaching Associate.


2014 Celebration of Research Symposium

Among the more than 50 Hiram College students and faculty presenting posters describing their studies at the September 25, 2014 Undergraduate Celebration of Research Symposium, were 21 biology majors and 4 professors. Two students completed their projects at off-campus locations (New York University and Rocky Mountain Research Station in Flagstaff, AZ) while the majority were involved in research at the James H Barrow Field Station or in labs in Colton.

Research projects spanned many fields of interest in biology: fish ecology, avian rehabilitation, microbiology, developmental biology and circadian rhythms, species diversity, forest ecology, animal behavior, nature education, and bone biochemistry. Most of the students participated in research programs during the 2014 summer at Hiram and were supported in their work by funds from such internal sources as the Paul and Maxine Frohring Foundation, the Louis DiSalvo fund, and the Center for Scientific Engagement. External funding sources included the National Science Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the U.S.G.S. Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center.

Some of the student research projects has been or will be presented at regional and national conferences.

Kailey Cooper and Professor Jenn Clark traveled to the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of American in Sacramento, CA in August where they presented their poster “Shelter competition between invasive crayfish (Orcononectes rusticus) and native crayfish (O obscurus) and a native benthic stream fish”.  Kailey was funded through the Center for Scientific Engagement, and won a travel award from the Ecological Society of America. Kailey reports “I was really grateful for the opportunity to attend a national meeting like ESA. It was an incredible opportunity to meet other students with similar research interests, and network with potential graduate advisors. After presenting my own research, I felt proud and even more excited about the work I was doing at Hiram.”  

Professor Jenn Clark and Kaily Cooper

Professor Clark and her students, Aaron Acus-Souders, Patricia Bohls, Lindsay Brewer, Zach Nemac, LeAunna Martin, and Kailey will attend and present their work at 3 other meetings – the Kent State University Water Symposium (October), the Ohio Natural History Conference (February), and the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference (Indiana University, March).

Students Present Research at the Society for Neuroscience 2014 International Conference

Three students, Emily Mortimer, ’16 (Biology and Biomedical Humanities, Cristian Loyola, ’16 (Biochemistry), and Ashley Myer, ’15 (Biology and Biomedical Humanities) presented their summer internship with Cara Constance at the Society for Neuroscience 2014 international conference.  This conference took place from November 15-19 in Washington, DC and had more than 31.000 attendees.  Emily, Cristian, and Ashley presented at the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN) symposium on Nov. 17.  Their poster, entitle “Determining the developmental stage of onset of behavioral circadian rhythms in Hyla versicolor (Gray treefrog) and Xenopus laevis,” focused on their work at the James H. Barrow Field Station from May-August, 2014, monitoring the activity of Gray treefrog tadpoles.


White Pine Tree Planted in Memory of Professor Matt Hils

A shared love of plants in general, and of trees in particular, started a conversation between Professor Matt Hils and Nathan S. Clark of Greenville, PA during the 2013 annual meeting of the Turner Society at which Mr. Clark’s good friend, Joyce DeYoung, was the 2013 Turner Society awardee. Mr. Clark and his family had come to share the pleasures of the evening with Dr. DeYoung and her husband Larry.

For the next year Professor Hils and Mr. Clark exchanged information about trees. Upon learning of Matt Hils’s death in June 2014, Mr. Clark proposed planting a tree at the James H. Barrow Field Station in Matt’s honor. Mr. Clark offered a White Pine (Pinus strobus) he had collected from a road embankment near Winchester, VA in 2005. As Mr. Clark recounted, “Don't know why he called out to me over all of the other thousands I passed along that road, but he was in some soft soil in a rock outcropping, and into a plastic container in the back seat the roots went, and home he came, after I finished my trip.” The pine tree thrived in a plastic pot on Mr. Clark’s porch until Saturday, November 1, 2014, when Mr. Clark and his two children, Katherine and Preston, brought the tree to the Field Station to be transplanted to its new home in the grassy area east of the Observation Building.

The weather couldn’t have been better for transplanting the tree – it was quite cool, and the ground was freshly moist from recent rains. The Field Station director, Jim Metzinger, and his crew, Emliss Ricks, Jim Tolan, and Jane O’Brien had selected the site and dug a hole in preparation for the transfer. A ‘crew’ was present to take part in the planting Matt’s Memorial Tree. Mr. Clark retold the history of the tree, then the tree was removed from its plastic container and set into the ground with hopes and good wishes for its survival and long life in Matt Hils’s memory.

Sarah Mabey (Environmental Studies) coordinated the event. Assisting in the planting were Jim Tolan and Jane O’Brien of the Field Station staff, David (Hiram College Class of 1974) and Roseanne Factor (Hiram College Library), Chris Szell (Hiram College Class of 1992), Chris and Sarah’s daugher Adia, Prudy (Biology) and Rich Hall, and Christine Kohls-Hunder (Development Office)and her daughter Lauren. After the tree was firmly in place, all hands warmed themselves in the Field Station lab building with cider and chocolate chip cookies.

An official dedication of the Matt Hils Memorial Pine Tree will take place in the spring.



New Student Microscopes

A grant of $20,000 from the Sisler-McFawn Foundation was used to purchase 12 Olymus stero microscopes for use in student laboratories.  The grant was prepared by Christine Kohls-Hunder of the Development Office and Professors Jenn Clark, Matt Hils, and Nick Hirsch of the Biology Department.  The contrast between the new microscopes and the older ones is apparent in the photograph on the left.  The clarity of the images that can be viewed is illustrated by the image seen on the computer monitor in the right-hand photograph.. 
Professors Tom Koehnle and Nick Hirsch compare the new scopes (to Nick's left) with the old ones (to Tom's right).  Nick demonstrates the clarity of a projected image from the new stereo microscope.




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For more information

If you have specific questions about the Biology Program at Hiram College or if you would like more information, please contact:

  • Vicki Kohn
  • 330-569-5264
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