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Faculty Profile

Scott Boback

Professor of Biology (2007)

Contact Information

on sabbatical 2023-24

Rector North Room 1303


Broadly, I am an animal ecologist with a focus in herpetology (non-avian reptiles and amphibians). I teach courses in ecology, evolution, vertebrate natural history, and physiology. My students and I investigate a variety of organisms in both lab and field settings. Recent projects have included the muscular performance of snakes during constriction, the population ecology of painted turtles, and the evolutionary development of snake jaws.


  • B.A., Ripon College, 1991
  • M.A., University of Northern Colorado, 1995
  • Ph.D., Auburn University, 2005

2022-2023 Academic Year

Fall 2022

BIOL 314 Ecology w/Lab
Study of the interactions of organisms with each other, and with their environment, at the level of the individual, the population, the community, and the ecosystem. Lectures and readings consider both the theory of ecology and data from empirical research in the classic and current literature. Laboratory and field studies explore how ecologists perform quantitative tests of hypotheses about complex systems in nature. Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: One 200-level Biology course. For ENST/ENSC majors only, prerequisite is ENST 162. For Neuroscience majors only, prerequiste is NRSC 200.

BIOL 550 Independent Research

Spring 2023

BIOL 131 Intro to Org, Pop & Ecosyst
This introductory course spans levels of biological organization from basic multicellular microanatomy to organismal physiology and ecology, as understood through the lens of evolution. Course content will be focused around a specific theme determined by the instructor, and will include evolutionary principles of variation, selection, competition and cooperation, and how their operation at different levels of organization accounts for form and function of organisms, communities, and ecosystems. We will investigate homeostasis, reproduction and development as physiological processes that take place within organisms, and as ecological processes that interact with the environment and generate diversity of form over evolutionary time. Finally we will take stock of the existing forms and levels of biological organization and ask how their relationships establish the biosphere in which we live. Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. This is one of two courses required of all Biology majors before entering the upper level. It is complementary to BIOL 132 – Introduction to Molecules, Genes, and Cells, and the courses may be taken in either order.

BIOL 215 Evolution w/Lab
A study of the mechanics of evolutionary change and its role within populations. Topics typically covered include macroevolution vs microevolution, natural selection, adaptation, neutral theory, population genetics, speciation, extinction, and sex and sexuality. Interactive lectures, readings from the primary literature, laboratory and field investigations, and simulation exercises will be used to actively explore the principles of evolutionary change and its consequences. Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisites: 131 and 132; for Neuroscience majors only, 132 and PSYC 125.

BIOL 560 Stu/Faculty Collaborative Rsch