This logo is the result of a collaboration between Charles Zartman, a former Botany graduate student, and Beth Archie, a former Zoology graduate student coinciding with the merger of the two departments into the Department of Biology. It depicts a plethodontid (lungless) salamander intertwined with a plant, Asarum lewisii Fernald (Hexastylis lewisii (Fernald) Blomquist and Oosting.) The design clearly indicates the study of biology to both biologists and the general public.
These organisms were chosen because they locate Duke Biology in North Carolina; the Blue Ridge is renowned for plethodontid diversity, and A. lewisii (first described by Professor Fernald of Harvard and subsequently by Professor Hugo Blomquist of Duke) is native to the greater Durham area. The vines evoke the form of a double helix to represent the importance of molecular biology along with organismal and ecological research.