EEB 296: Physiological Ecology of Animals

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EEB 296 Physiological Ecology of Animals, Spring 2008

General information

Instructor: Dr. Eric T. Schultz PharmBio 205B, 486–4692 office hours: M 11-12, Tu 10-11, and otherwise by appointment or just stop by

Lectures: MWF 10-11, TLS 301

Text: Willmer, P., G. Stone and I. Johnston (2005). Environmental physiology of animals. 2nd Edition. Malden, MA, Blackwell Science Ltd.

Website: In HuskyCT,, requires your NetID and password

Content Objectives

This course explores the physiology of animals in an evolutionary context.

What principles govern how animals function in the natural environment?

How do individuals adjust to environmental changes?

How do physiological processes adapt over evolutionary time?

Process Objectives

This course is designed to improve skills in the interpretation of data and scientific inquiry.

What quantitative tools are needed to understand physiological and ecological relationships?

How does one find such relationships in the midst of noisy biological data?

How is open-ended inquiry in science different from being told what to think?


Lectures will take place on Mondays and Wednesdays. Lecture summaries will be posted in HuskyCT course website in advance of each lecture; students will be responsible for bringing printed copies of this material into lecture for their use.

Most Fridays will be devoted to ‘groupthinks’ (small group discussions or case history analysis) or will be used for exams. Groupthinks will be distributed at the beginning of class and will be worked on for the class period. Completed work on groupthinks will be due the following Monday.

Reading: pages from the textbook that are assigned for each lecture do not need to be read in advance of the lecture but should be read by Friday of that week.


The course grade will be based on points earned out of a possible 400. I do not plan to curve grades in this class. I will be using a standard scale for grading: 90%-range is A or A- (specifically, 90%-93% = A-, 93%-100% = A), 80% range is B or B-, 70% range is C or C-, 60% range is D or D-, and below 60% is an F.

Lecture Exams (300 total points): Higher 2 of 3 hourly exams, each worth 100 points, and a 100-point cumulative final exam. Each hourly will cover material since the previous exam (or the first day of class); the exams will cover all material, including not only lectures but also groupthinks. Each exam will be an equitable mix of multiple choice and short answer. The last hourly exam and the final exam will occur on the day assigned by the registrar for the final. The hourly and final will be printed on separate sheets and will be each identifiable. You will have a full two hours to complete the two exams, but can take them however you want: in either order, and with complete freedom to spend as much or little time on any part.

Groupthinks (100 total points): The groupthinks will be about 10 points each. The goal is to sharpen your interpretive skills and extend the reach of material covered in lecture. Grading will be lenient, assuming that a good effort to answer the question and on-time submission.

Quizzes: Quizzes will be offered through the HuskyCT website on a weekly basis. Points earned on quizzes will be used to offset any points that are missed on the subsequent hourly exam (hence adding to final score of the exam, up to a maximum of 100 pts.).