Renée E. Bishop
Assistant Professor of Biology

Office: Dawson 216
Contact Information:
phone: (570) 963-2585
FAX: (570) 963-2585

Office Hours:


11:00 - 2:00


11:00 - 12:00


12:00 - 3:00

Courses   Research





Biology:  Basic Concepts and Biodiversity (Bio 110)

The first portion of this course addresses how living things function.  We begin by addressing enzymes and metabolism.  We then take a tour of the cell and cell membranes, examining how things cross cell membranes.  After a cursory examination of cellular respiration and photosynthesis, we examine cellular division in both somatic cells and sex cells.  We also look at factors that control cell cycles and how uncontrolled cell growth can lead to cancer.  We will look at genetics and inheritance and how these lead to evolution.  Part two of this course is a phylogenetic survey of the living kingdoms highlighting ecological and evolutionary relationships as well as adaptations organisms have made to their environment. 



Genetics, Evolution and Ecology (BISC 002)

What we know about DNA, genome research, cloning and stem cell research changes daily.   The objectives of this course are to familiarize students with general biological science emphasizing current advances in genetics, evolution and ecology.  This is a flexible course that takes advantage of current research and students' interests.  We begin by looking at how cells divide and how genetic material is passed from generation to generation.  We look at how cellular division can get out of control and result in cancers and then how new advances in genetic engineering will make it possible to feed the growing world population.  The next unit covers theories on how single-celled organisms evolved into multicellular organisms.  The final unit examines ecological principles such as populations, species and communities.





Environmental Science (BISC 003)

This course examines environmental issues and is a great foundation for introducing current issues directly impacting the students both regionally and on a global scale.  We learn how individuals directly impact the environment and how they can make changes that can positively affect their surroundings and future.  These changes range from turning off the water when they brush their teeth to political activism.  The class culminates in a final project where the students are participants in a mock trial.  On trial are current environmental issues. 




Marine Biology (Bio 296)

This is a very student-directed course.  At the beginning of the semester, we discuss issues in Marine Biology that interest us.  Each participant then researches several of the topics in depth and informs the class about their topic.  Meetings are very informal but each student is expected to participate fully.  At the end of the semester we plan a trip to the coast to directly observe the environments we studied.

Water Pollution (Bio 296)

This is also a student-driven course.  As in the Marine Biology course, at the first class meeting we establish what we want to research about water pollution.  A series of topics are selected and we individually or in teams, research each topic.  The information collected is presented to the class and made into a poster to be displayed at the annual undergraduate research fair held on campus each spring.  We also make numerous fieldtrips to local water sites to conduct water quality testing.

Independent Research (Bio 297)

For student's who are planning to continue in biology or those who just have a strong interest in seeing first hand how research is done, there are undergraduate research opportunities.  Projects can vary significantly in size and can result in a semester of work or an entire year.  We will work closely to determine a project, whether it is an extension of a current project or a completely new project.  The end product can range from presentation of a poster at the annual undergraduate research fair held on our campus in the spring or attending a national meeting to see the formal presentation of the project.  Students who are interested in undergraduate research should contact faculty directly or go to the Undergraduate Research website.


Research Interests

My research interests address how organisms deal with extreme conditions or environments.  By examining an organism's physiology and comparing it to the physiology of other organisms, I can begin to see how that organism is uniquely adapted to its environment.  I have several ongoing projects examining organisms in very different environments.  The underlying themes  are the tools I use to examine each group of organisms.

Comparison of the energetics, enzyme activities and chemical composition of Hyperiid amphipods to other pelagic crustaceans

Hyperiid amphipods spend a significant portion of their lifecycle hitching a ride inside a raft formed from the body of a salp.  Unlike other pelagic crustaceans, they do not need to constantly swim to prevent themselves from sinking below the euphotic zone.  Locomotion requires a substantial amount of energy that could be allocated to growth or reproduction.  I am currently examining the respiration rates and enzyme activities of four species of hyperiid amphipods to determine if their rates are substantially lower than other pelagic crustaceans.


Energetics and chemical composition of metamorphic Ariosoma balearicum. 

The metamorphosis of leptocephalus larvae into the elver stage is a very complex process.  It involves the utilization of energy stores that are unique to only one group of fishes.  Glycosaminoglycans provide the larvae with an energy depot to fuel this metamorphosis, as well as providing a flexible skeleton, and a means for the larvae to grow very rapidly without a large energy investment.  During metamorphosis, the energy reserves are consumed, resulting in a reduction in size of up to 90%.  I have a unique data set that involves multiple metabolic measurements of the larvae as they progress through metamorphosis.  These measurements will allow me to determine the energetic cost of this unique metamorphosis.

Energetics and chemical composition of troglobitic crustaceans. 

The cave environment, both marine and fresh water, is a very harsh environment and requires unique physiological adaptations.   The organisms are in constant darkness, frequently exposed to anoxic conditions, and food is limited since the only primary production results from bacteria.  Often, the organisms are found in a hydrogen sulfide layer that would be toxic to other organisms.  I am in the process of comparing the energetics of remipedes, mictaceans, isopods, and amphipods to the energy requirements of oceanic organisms exposed to anoxic conditions.  To date these will be the first energetic measurements on marine troglobitic crustaceans.

Zebra and Quagga Mussel Research

This project is a collaborative work on two invasive species of freshwater mussels with Dr. Ann Stoeckmann.  Since its introduction and spread, the zebra mussel has had significant ecological and economic consequences throughout its invaded range.  However, in many of these invaded communities, the zebra mussel is no longer the dominant mussel.  The quagga mussel, initially found in deeper, cooler waters, is slowly replacing zebra mussels in much of their inhabited range. This replacement pattern is not only occurring in the Great Lakes but also in connecting waterways.  The quagga must possess characteristics that enhance their success and survival in habitats where this replacement occurs.  By applying energetic techniques, it may be possible to determine where the quagga mussel gains an advantage over the zebra mussel in the allocation of energy.  Due to the economic importance and the vast range of areas impacted by these mussels, there is a great deal of interest in this research.

Ecological Physiology of an Invasive Crab, Carcinus maenus

The European green crab (Carcinus maenus) is an invasive species found on both coasts of North America.  This species, indigenous to the Atlantic coasts of Europe and Africa, was first observed off the east coast of North America in the 1820’s.  The green crab is thought to have played a major role in the demise of the Atlantic soft-shell clam fisheries in the 1950’s.  In 1989, C. maenus was first found inhabiting the west coast of the U.S.

Carcinus maenus exhibits a range of carapace colors form green through orange to red.  Recent studies have demonstrated that the different colors reflect increasing intermoult durations and clear physiological and ecological differences between red and green crabs.  The different color forms represent two different paths for the allocation of energy. Energetically, growth can occur in two forms, as increased muscle mass or in the form of developing reproductive tissue.  The separate phases in the life cycle of Carcinus maenus indicate a switch from growth by increasing mass to reproductive growth.  Green colored crabs are actively growing forms using energy for building body tissues and red-colored crabs are in a prolonged intermolt using energy to elevate their metabolic rate and increase their reproductive potential. 

 There are expenses associated with each strategy.  Because of their thicker shells and stronger claws, red males of C. maenus compete more successfully for mates than do green makes.  But red morphs have reduced tolerance to the conditions of intertidal life such as salinity fluctuations and aerial exposure.

Outdoor Adventure Club

The OAC sponsors outdoor events such as hiking, cross-country and downhill skiing, horseback riding, etc. while encouraging participants to take an active role in  preserving and protecting the environment.  We also sponsor community activities including the annual campus cleanup, Earth Day festivities, and state forest trail maintenance.