As biological sciences and biotechnology become ever more important sectors of our economy, engineers will be needed to work side by side with life scientists to bring laboratory developments into commercial production. Such industries as plant and animal production, tissue culture, biotechnology, food processing, aquaculture and forest production will all need engineers with strong backgrounds in biology.
As organisms that sequester carbon and convert solar energy to usable forms, plants are the primary source of food on the planet as well as important buffers against climate change. The plant biology major focuses on fundamental aspects of how plants function as organisms and interact with their environment. A wide variety of scientific disciplines are integrated within the major, including physiology, cell and molecular biology, development, genetics and genomics.
A sea urchin, a gecko, a horse and a human are very different creatures at first glance. Yet each relies on a few basic functions for survival—including growth, reproduction and response to stimuli—that are common to all animals. Students who major in neurobiology, physiology and behavior study these vital processes: their functional mechanisms; the control, regulation and integration of these mechanisms; and the behavior relating to these mechanisms.
The trillions of tiny organisms dwelling around us and within us, far too small to be visible to the naked eye, affect our lives in profound ways. Some are vital to the functioning of our bodies or to aspects of our economy such as food production; others cause destructive diseases in humans or in species of special importance to humans. Microbiologists study the structure, function and environmental importance of bacteria, yeasts and other fungi, algae, protozoa and viruses.
Our oceans account for more than 96 percent of the world's water, and few of the world's coastlines are beyond the influence of human pressures. The interdisciplinary Marine and Coastal Science major highlights the terrestrial-marine interface, coastal issues and human impacts on the marine environment.
As an Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity (EEB) major, you will learn about the diversity of life on Earth, including diversity in genes, physiology, shapes, sizes and behaviors. You will learn about how this diversity emerged, as plants, animals, and microbes became adapted to the environment and to each other. And you will learn to predict whether populations of interacting organisms persist over time or become extinct.
A single nerve cell, transmitting electrical impulses in a continuous chain of stimulus and response. A wind-polished cypress tree, its roots digging deeper into the soil with every passing season. A patient receiving chemotherapy to help target and destroy the cancer invading her body. Each of these situations, and every function of every living being, is within the scope of interest of a major in biological sciences.
In urban areas and remote wildernesses, the health of wild animal populations is enormously affected by human activities. Majors in wildlife, fish and conservation biology study the relationships between human needs—including recreation, resource use and hunting—and wildlife needs for shelter and habitat preservation. The program's focus on real-world activities and hands-on training makes it excellent preparation for students interested in entering professional careers in wildlife and conservation biology.
Since ancient times, the enjoyment of wine and grape products has been a treasured part of civilized society. The Roman Empire considered wine as much of a necessity as bread and olive oil, and no supper in modern France or Italy is complete without a glass of wine. As a viticulture and enology major at UC Davis, you'll benefit not only from our outstanding faculty and laboratory resources, a world-class wine library, but also from our location. The Napa and Sonoma Valley regions, the nerve centers of California's thriving, innovative wine industry, are easily accessible from campus.
Students in the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems major focus on the social, economic and environmental aspects of agriculture and develop a thorough understanding of our food cycle from farm to table and beyond. Subjects from eight academic departments will give you a broad understanding of the many aspects of modern agriculture and food systems, and combine with real-world experiences to develop the skills needed to be a successful agriculturalist, entrepreneur and researcher.