Department of Biological Sciences

Laboratory of Sensory Biology

The Laboratory of Sensory Biology coordinates teaching and research activities between the Department of Biological Sciences at Western Illinois University in Moline with The John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and the Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, IL. Faculty and students have research opportunities at the aquarium and zoo through this collaboration. Graduate level WIU courses are taught on site at the aquarium, on site at the zoo, or via CODEC distance learning technology. Courses are fully accredited by WIU and transferrable to other universities or colleges. Credits taken at the aquarium can be applied towards a Master's degree in Biology at WIU or a Master's degree in Liberal Arts Sciences at WIU, which includes thesis research, or the Graduate Certificate in Zoo and Aquarium Studies, which is 18 semester hours of graduate credit. Some courses are available for undergraduate students.

Mayauk And Male Calf

Note: All pictures courtesy of the Shedd Aquarium.

Senior Level and Graduate Courses Accredited by WIU and held at the Shedd Aquarium:

  • Marine Mammalogy, Zool 416G, 3 sem hr -- during summer
  • Zool 412G, 3 sem hr -- during fall
  • Zool 414G, 3 sem hr -- periodic 

Graduate Courses Accredited by WIU and available at the Shedd Aquarium:

  • Ecology of Southeast Alaska, Biol. 575, 3 sem. hr
  • Biosystematics & Evolution, Biol. 503, 3 sem. hr -- Core Class--during spring
  • Bioacoustics, Zool. 583, 3 sem. hr -- during spring
  • Animal Training, Zool. 585, 3 sem. hr -- during fall
  • Marine Policy, Zool. 575, 3 sem. hr -- during fall
  • Biological Studies in Zoo and Aquaria, Zool. 584, 3 sem. hr -- during spring
  • Zoo Practicum, Zool. 587, 3 sem. hr -- any semester

Contact Information:

Dr. Jeanette Thomas
Western Illinois University Quad Cities
Quad Cities Complex, Room 1207
3300 River Drive
Moline IL 61265
E-mail: (preferred mode of communication)

Shedd Aquarium Information

Courses Related to Thesis Research:

  • Survey of Biological Literature, Biol. 576, 1 sem. hr
  • Special Problems, Biol. 577, 1-3 sem. hr
  • Thesis Research, Biol. 600, 9 sem. hr
  • Thesis, Biol. 601, 3 sem.

Courses Taught as Telecourses or as Independent Study:

  • Biometrics, Biol. 501, 3 sem. hr -- Core Class
  • Biomolecules, Biol. 502, 3 sem. hr -- Core Class
  • Biosystematics & Evolution, Biol. 503, 3 sem. hr -- Core Class.
  • Biology of Aging, Zool. 420G, 3 sem. hr