18 August 2010
Vertebrate Field Zoology
BIOL 277 and 277L -- Fall 2010
VERTEBRATE FIELD ZOOLOGY -- AN INTRODUCTION TO THE COURSE
WHAT THIS COURSE IS AND ISN'T
Vertebrate Field Zoology is about why and how biologists study vertebrates in the the field -- in natural conditions. The key word is "field".
It does not meet requirements of graduate programs that want a course in comparative vertebrate zoology (take BIOL 276 and 276L instead).
This course focuses on topics that field biologists study -- evolution, ecology, behavior, conservation -- with vertebrates as examples. At the end of the course you should know more about why there are so many amazing vertebrates and why there will soon be a lot fewer of them if we aren't careful.
The first part concentrates on vertebrate species and how one species can become two.
The second part shifts to the study of reproduction and survival as the basis for population dynamics and natural selection.
The third part examines the evolution of predators and prey, cooperators and cheaters, males and females, from fish to humans!
The final topics are conservation of vertebrates.
No book presents these topics in this manner. So I will provide lecture notes and lists of optional reading that will cover the examples and the principles that we discuss.
Exams consist of essays. All exams follow the same procedures. Each requires one essay selected from a short list distributed several days before the exam. Each exam covers one fourth of the course (the final covers the last fourth), and each exam makes an equal contribution to the final grade (except extra credit for improvement).
GRADESFinal grades are based primarily on the scores for the four exams. Some additional credit can be earned by substantial improvement on the exams, by optional reading, and by regular attendance.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION for students interested in enrolling in the labs.