Biology of the Vertebrates 2009

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EEB 2214, Fall 2009
The evolution of form, function,
& diversity of the vertebrates

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30-1:45 in BSP130
Textbook: Pough F. H., C. M. Janis, and J. B. Heiser. 2009. Vertebrate Life, 8th Edition. Prentice Hall.


Dr. Kentwood D. Wells
Office: Torrey Life Science Room 380
Phone: (860) 486-4454
Office hours: by appointment

Dr. Margaret Rubega                                Note: All emails must contain "EEB2214" in the
Office: Biology/Pharmacy 500                        subject line to avoid being filtered out & deleted
Phone: 486-4502
Office hours: by appointment

Diego Sustaita (Teaching Assistant)
Office: BioPharm 402
Phone: 486-3839
Office hours: Weds. 10:30 am - 3:30 pm, or by appointment

Lecture Schedule & Materials

Date Topic Readings Supplemental materials*
Part I: Sept 1 - Oct 15, Dr. Kentwood D. Wells
Sept 1 Diversity, classification, and origin of vertebrates Ch. 1, 2 Pdficon small.gif2214lec1outline09.pdfPdficon small.gif2214lec1powerpoint.pdf
Sept 3 Vertebrate body plan and organ systems Ch. 2 Pdficon small.gif2214lec2outline09.pdfPdficon small.gif2214lec2powerpoint.pdf
Sept 8 Fossil and living jawless vertebrates Ch. 3 Pdficon small.gif2214lec3outline09.pdfPdficon small.gif2214lec3powerpoint.pdf
Sept 10 Evolution of jaws; biology of Chondrichthyes Ch. 3,5 Pdficon small.gif2214lec4outline09.pdfPdficon small.gif2214lec4powerpoint.pdf
Sept 15 Evolution of bony fishes; sarcopterygians Ch. 6 Pdficon small.gif2214lec5outline09.pdfPdficon small.gif2214lec5powerpoint.pdf
Sept 17 Respiration, feeding, schooling of fishes Ch. 4,6 Pdficon small.gif2214lec6outline09.pdfPdficon small.gif2214lec6powerpoint.pdf
Sept 22 Fish reproduction, mating systems, parental care Ch. 6 Pdficon small.gif2214lec7outline09.pdfPdficon small.gif2214lec7powerpoint.pdf
Sept 24 Origin of tetrapods Ch. 7,8,9 Pdficon small.gif2214lec8outline09.pdfPdficon small.gif2214lec8powerpoint.pdf
Sept 29 Diversity, morphology, and feeding of amphibians Ch. 10 Pdficon small.gif2214lec9outline09.pdfPdficon small.gif2214lec9powerpoint.pdf
Oct 1 EXAM I ---- EXAM I scores are posted on Husky CT
Oct 6 Reproduction and mating systems of amphibians Ch. 10 Pdficon small.gif2214lec10outline.pdfPdficon small.gif2214lec10powerpoint.pdf
Oct 8 Amniote evolution, morphology, reproduction Ch. 11 Pdficon small.gif2214lec11outline.pdfPdficon small.gif2214lec11powerpoint.pdf(corrected version)
Oct 13 Lepidosaur biology Ch. 13 Pdficon small.gif2214lec12outline.pdfPdficon small.gif2214lec12powerpoint.pdf
Oct 15 Physiological adaptations of ectotherms Ch. 4,13,14 Pdficon small.gif2214lec13outline.pdfPdficon small.gif2214lec13powerpoint.pdf
Part II: Oct 20 - Dec 17, Dr. Margaret Rubega
Oct 20 Turtles Ch. 12 Pdficon small.gifTurtles.pdf:Pdficon small.gifTurtles lecture 14.pdf
Oct 22 Turtles continued, and Archosaurs Ch. 16 Pdficon small.gifTurtles/archosaursPdficon small.gifturtles&crocodilians.pdf
Oct 27 Crocs & friends Ch. 16 Pdficon small.gifCrocodylians.pdf Pdficon small.gif2214lec16powerpointcrocodylians.pdf
Oct 29 Dinosaurs and other Mesosoic Diapsids Ch. 16 Pdficon small.gif2214lec17powerpointpterosaurstodinos.pdf Pdficon small.giflec17Pterosaurs&Dinos.pdf
Nov 3 Dinosaurs II Ch. 16 Pdficon small.gif2214lec18powerpointdinostobirds.pdf Pdficon small.gifLec18DinostoBirds.pdf
Nov 5 EXAM II ---- EXAM II scores are posted on Husky CT
Nov 10 Birds: Avian Origins Ch. 16, 439-443 Pdficon small.gif2214lec19powerpointbirds.pdfPdficon small.gif2214lecture19Avian evolution notes.pdf
Nov 12 Birds: Feeding Ch. 17 Pdficon small.gif2214lec20powerpointbirdsfeeding.pdfPdficon small.gifLecture 20 bird feeding.pdf
Nov 17 Birds: Morphology and Reproduction Ch. 17 Pdficon small.gif2214lec21powerpointbirdsmorphology&reproduction.pdfPdficon small.giflecture 21 bird morphology and reproduction notes.pdf
Nov 19 Mammals: Origins and Radiation Ch.18 Pdficon small.gif2214lec22powerpointMammals-origins&radiation.pdfPdficon small.giflec22mammalsorigin&evolutionnotes.pdf
Dec 1 Mammals: Primate evolution and human diversity Ch. 24 Pdficon small.gif2214lec23powerpointmammalstohumans.pdfPdficon small.gifLec23mammalsthroughhumansnotes.pdf
Dec 3 Mammals: Diversity Ch. 20 :Pdficon small.gif2214 lecture 24 powerpoint human evolution and biology.pdf  :Pdficon small.giflecture 24 human evolution and diversity notes.pdf
Dec. 8 Mammals: Morphology and Behavior Ch. 21 :Pdficon small.gif2214 lecture 25 powerpoint humans to extinction.pdf :Pdficon small.gifLecture 25 notes mammals to extinction.pdf
Dec 10 Vertebrate Mass Extinctions, past and present Ch.25 :Pdficon small.gif2214 lecture 26 powerpoint extinction.pdf :Pdficon small.gifLecture 26 notes.pdf
Dec 17 FINAL EXAM 10:30 a.m. Final exam scores are posted on Husky CT
  • Note on the posting of powerpoint illustrations: These are intended for the use of this class only and will be accessible via a group username and password provided on the first day of class. One reason for posting these illustrations is to cut down on the use of paper in the class, to save money and the environment. If you print out all of these on your own printer, you will defeat this purpose and use up a lot of expensive printer ink, especially because a lot of the slides have black backgrounds. So it is recommended that you use these online to review the material instead of printing them out.

Help Resources

The secret of success to this course is to not let yourself fall behind. Be sure to fill gaps in your notes and navigate blocks in your understanding as soon as possible. Should you run into trouble with the material, below we have listed some steps for obtaining assistance. While we welcome any and all questions on the material, before you contact us, please first check the resources below to see if your question has already been answered. If/when you do contact us, please understand that we will respond as quickly as we can, but we do have other obligations that might prevent this from happening as urgently as you may need (like 3:00 am the day of an exam...).


Here is a continuously-updated list of frequently asked questions (posed by you & your peers!) - and answers (given by your instructors) - on the material.Updated 11-03-09

Study Materials:

Study Questions by LectureUpdated 12-12-09
Phylogeny Tutorial
Pdficon small.gifPractice Tree Quiz
Pdficon small.gifPractice Quiz Answers
Pdficon small.gifPractice multiple choice questions & answers (updated 09-30-09, 9:46 pm - please note corrections to #s 4 & 7)
Pdficon small.gifSolution to worksheet 2.pdf
Pdficon small.gifSolution to Worksheet 3.pdf
Pdficon small.gifPractice cladogram answers.pdf
Pdficon small.gifPractice exam 2 answers.pdf
Pdficon small.gifFinal Exam Practice Cladograms.pdf
Check regularly for frequent updates

Review Sessions

Thursday 12/10 07:00PM - 09:00PM BPB 131 (next door to regular room)
Friday 12/11 06:00PM - 08:00PM BPB 131 (next door to regular room)
Monday 12/14 06:30PM - 08:30PM BPB 131 (next door to regular room)
Tuesday 12/15 05:30PM - 08:30 PM BPB 131 (next door to regular room)
These are optional, and will be scheduled 1-3 days before each exam in order to help students obtain last-minute clarification on details, and discuss the material with the one-another and the TA. These are open-forum question/answer/discussion periods, and the structure is provided by the participants (that would be you). As such, they are really only effective if you come prepared with questions and/or comments (AND PARTICIPATE!). Please also note that the TA is not equipped to recite any lectures you may have missed.

Links to External Resources:

DigiMorph - Excellent source of 2 & 3D images of internal & external structures of various organisms
ARKive - a unique collection of thousands of wildlife videos, images and fact-files, with a special focus on the world's threatened species


Point Distribution
Exam I, lectures 1-9................92 pts
Exam II, lectures 10-18..........104 pts
Final Exam...............................104 pts (Exam III, lectures 19 - 26) + 100 pts (cumulative, all lectures) = 204 pts

Missed exams and Concerns about Finals
There will not be an opportunity for "make-up" points or extra credit points at the end of the semester. If you miss a test because of illness, we expect written documentation from a doctor. Do not come to class if you have a fever, excessive coughing, or other signs of an illness that might easily spread to other students. All indications are that the so-called swine flu spreads easily in groups. Even if turns out to not be very dangerous, there is the potential for a large proportion of a class to become ill at the same time.

Because of the size of the class, we will not be giving make-up exams; for students who have been ill, or have some other legitimate, documented reason for missing a test, we will simply calculate your grade based on the grades on the remaining exams. Note that this method reduces the number of points you can afford to lose and still do well in the course. We will not automatically drop the lowest exam grade for everyone in the course. If you have a legitimate excuse, your final (unlike the other tests) MAY be rescheduled, pending approval by the Dean of Students Office. WHETHER we reschedule your final exam is, believe it or not, not up to us. There is a university-wide policy on rescheduling exams here Important Final Exam Information. READ IT CAREFULLY NOW.

If you miss lectures because of illness, the illustrations from powerpoint presentations will be posted in PDF format on the course web page. If you cannot get lecture notes from a friend, please email the instructor to get the relevant material.

Academic integrity
Plagiarism and cheating are violations of the student conduct code, and may be punished by failure in the course or, in severe cases, dismissal from the University. For more information, see Section IV of the Student Conduct Code available at the web site of the Dean of Students.

If you have a disability for which you may be requesting an accommodation, you should contact a course instructor and the Center for Students with Disabilities (Wilbur Cross Building, Room 201) within the first two weeks of the semester:

Vertebrates in the News

This week's featured articles:


Bird feeding, migration could be splitting a species

Find more news articles here: Vertebrates in the News
Please email the TA (Diego) with recent "Vertebrates in the News" articles you come across to add to the list!