The Biology Department, an umbrella department that includes both Botany & Zoology subjects, was one of the first branches of Science to be set up at St. Xavier’s College. Zoology was established when the college itself was started in 1956 while Botany was started later in 1982.

The department during its yesteryears boasted of several of the city’s finest Biology teachers that included stalwarts like Dr. P. Y. Parmar, Dr. T. S. Pathan, Dr. H. K. Suthar. Dr. S. M. Laliwala, Prof. S. M. Bhatt and Prof. M. J. Gandhi, who had inherited the mantle from their illustrious predecessors like Profs. G. A. Kapadia, M. M. Upadhyay, J. D. Oza, Mr. Mansuri, Mr. Bhavsar and others.

The department is currently headed by Dr. S. V. Sondarva, an ex-Xavierite, who heads a enthusiastic team of highly qualified & experienced faculties that include Dr. M. D. Momin, Prof. R. M. Parmar (ex-Xavierite) and Prof. A. J. Koshti (ex-Xavierite) (all Zoology) and Fr. (Dr.) L. D’Cruz s.j., Dr. K. J. Dubal (ex-Xavierite), Dr. M. H. Gadani and Prof. J. N. Parmar (all Botany). The team is completed by the administrative staff comprising of Mr. A. J. Macwan (Lab. Asst.), Mr. S. Parmar (Plant Collector), Mr. P. Patella and Mr. M. F. Christie (Peons).

Until 2011, when the Gujarat University was following the annual pattern of teaching, any student who took admission in the F.Y.B.Sc. B-Group, i.e. Biology, had to study a paper of Botany & Zoology each in the first year. In the second year, these students then could choose Botany as their major subject (alongwith Zoology) OR Zoology as the major subject (alongwith Botany or Biochemistry or Biotechnology). Eventually these students graduated out with the major subject upon completing their third year.

However, from June 2011 onwards, the Gujarat University has adopted the CBCS i.e. Semester System, due to which students can take admission directly into the major subjects viz. Botany or Zoology. At present, students taking admission in the F.Y.B.Sc. (Sem-1&2)-Botany has to also study Zoology & Chemistry while those students taking admission in the F.Y.B.Sc. (Sem-1&2)-Zoology has to study Botany & Chemistry. Later in the S.Y.B.Sc. (Sem-3&4), the Chemistry subject drops off and in the T.Y.B.Sc. (Sem5&6) the students have to study only the major subject that they had been admitted to.

Both, Botany & Zoology are the parent subjects of all other Biology daughter subjects that have budded off from the main Biology subject. Both these subjects are not meant to be studied only within the confines of the classroom or laboratory and hence regular field trips, institutional visits and study tours are being arranged so that students get a first-hand knowledge of the subject. In fact these study tours are a very important component while learning the subject.

Students of Botany have studied the vegetation of Mt. Abu, Sawantwadi, Dediapada forests, Gir, Saurashtra and Kutch. Eminent plant taxonomist, Dr. Marselin Almeida has accompanied the students on several such botanical tours and often delivers lectures in our department. The Zoology students have visited National Parks like Gir & Kanha and sea coasts of Tamil Nadu, Goa, Ratnagiri, Okha, Dwarka and Diu. The Zoology students have also visited inland fisheries centres at Linghda & the Ukai Dam. Visits to the Indroda Park, to public gardens and scientific institutes like the Community Oncology Centre (Cancer Inst.) and the renowed Gandhinagar FSL are a regular part of the yearly program.

The Biology Dept. treasures a priceless collection of butterflies, moths, preserved animals, wood samples, seeds, a small herbarium and several rare botanical & zoological specimens.

The dept. also houses a rich collection of books that help the students to enrich their subject-knowledge.

During the past 2 decades, the Botany section of the dept. has played a stellar role in setting up the chain of Ecological Niches which make St. Xavier’s College one of the greenest college-campuses in the city. These are believed to contain close to 900 species of flora including ornamental & medicinal plants, a Cactorium, a Green House and a beautiful lotus pond. Several plants have been researched by the staff & students of the XRF, the Botany and Biochemistry Departments. Botany & Zoology students have carried out projects on several components of the niches.

The department boasts of a long list of alumnae/alumni and several of the best medical practitioners in Ahmedabad today.


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