The biology department is based in Bowdoin's new 106,000 square-foot interdisciplinary science facility. Its laboratories include large refrigerated marine aquaria, a confocal microscopy lab, a scanning electron microscope, chemidoc imager, spectrophotometric and fluorometric instruments, a variety of centrifuges, tissue and cell culture facilities, and other research apparatus. The Hatch Science Library provides on-line databases for thousands of journals related to the biological sciences. The department also maintains extensive time-lapse photography and fluorescence microscope photography facilities, along with video equipment to generate three-dimensional animation of biological processes.
Bowdoin's location on the Maine coast makes it possible to extend classroom and the lab into the field and find a diversity of habitats, species, and processes to study. The College maintains several off-campus properties of great interest to the biology program: its 118-acre Coastal Studies Center, which includes marine and terrestrial laboratories along with a diversity of estuarine and terrestrial habitats; the Bowdoin Pines, a 33-acre old growth stand of white pines; 83 acres of mixed coastal habitat on Coleman Farm, and the Bowdoin Scientific Station at Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy, a 200-acre seabird nesting island with a field research station for students, faculty, and visiting scientists in ecology, animal behavior, marine biology, botany, and meteorology.
Lucy Van Hook '06, one of the students studying with Prof. Nat Wheelwright on Kent Island, checks out a swallow box. Part of students' work at the Bowdoin Scientific Station, was to check the boxes for tree swallows, count eggs, count hatchlings, and band nestlings. (Lucy also served as the cook for the Kent Island group this summer.) Photo by Bob Mauck, assistant professor of animal behavior, Kenyon College.