The Biology program maintains extensive facilities for teaching and research. Eight research laboratories are used by the faculty, and most projects include student participation. Two general teaching laboratories support courses in introductory biology, anatomy, physiology, and microbiology. The environmental laboratory provides both wet lab benches and conventional class seating for courses in ecology and environmental science. An upper-level course laboratory serves advanced courses in anatomy, physiology, and cell and molecular biology. All the laboratories are equipped with modern light microscopes and mobile laptop computers.
Field sampling equipment is available for forestry, wetland, and limnology projects. Genetic, cell, and tissue work is supported by a scanning electron microscope, a DNA sequencer, fluorescence phase microscopes, and equipment for histological preparations. Environmental growth chambers are available for culturing microorganisms and plants. A greenhouse supports classroom work and student-faculty research projects.
Our facility has both IBM and MAC computer carts, which contain twelve laptops each and are utilized as teaching tools in the laboratory classrooms. Other resources include Pasco PasPort sensors, used for data collection and analysis in the science labs.
All faculty maintain individual laboratories for their research programs, which often involve undergraduate researchers.
The Biology program maintains a modern greenhouse facility to accommodate the botanical teaching collection, as well as to provide for the research needs of the faculty and their students. The greenhouse is open for independent student projects.
Environmental Research Laboratory (ERL)
The facility houses faculty research space and is intended to serve as a field station on campus. Located behind the Spring Run Stadium, nearby environments for study include a variety of habitats, including streams, old fields, ponds, and a twenty-acre woodland.
Recent projects have taken faculty to field stations and study sites in the Great Lakes, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, New York, New Mexico, Wyoming, Puerto Rico, Dominica, South Africa, and New Zealand.
Penn State Altoona Natural Study Sites
Penn State Altoona's 175-acre campus offers our students opportune access to multiple natural study sites. The diversity of habitats includes undisturbed fields, two ponds, forested areas, and a stream. Students have opportunities to use these sites in their laboratory exercises and independent research. In addition, within a half-hour drive of the campus, there are extensive areas for study and research.
Nearby Study Sites and Natural Areas
- Canoe Creek State Park is a 957-acre park with diversified habitat and a 155-acre lake where faculty are engaged in research and education.
- Prince Gallitzin State Park has 6,249 acres of mixed habitat, including a 1,600-acre lake.
- Blue Knob State Park has 5,874 acres of woodlands and is the second highest mountain (3,146 ft) in Pennsylvania.
- Penn State University's Russell Larson Agricultural Experiment station, with its experimental field plots and a greenhouse, is less than forty-five minutes from the Penn State Altoona campus.
- State Game Lands containing diverse terrestrial and wetland habitats are located within fifteen minutes of the campus.