EEB 3898 Special Topics: Field Herpetology
May Term, 2015
May 11th - May 29th
Monday through Friday, 9:00am - 12:00pm in TLS 179
Depending on weather conditions some classes will be held at night 7:00pm - 10:00pm instead, allowing us to observe nocturnal amphibians.
Course Description and Objectives
Herpetology is the scientific study of the amphibians and reptiles. In this course, we will examine the diversity of both groups, and learn about their basic biology. Students will learn about the diversity, ecology, physiology, behavior, adaptation and identification of the local herpetofauna through direct field experience. There will be various opportunities to observe these animals in the field during the day and at night, through which students will become familiar with standard methods for surveying for and handling these species. Students will apply this knowledge by developing and carrying out a short independent research project.
After completing this course the student will be able to:
- Identify Connecticut’s amphibians and reptiles by sight, and in the case of frogs by sound as well.
- Describe the biology of local species
- Effectively use standard field techniques and methods for studying herpetofauna
- Apply with proficiency the scientific method to assess questions and design and carry out a project pertaining to herpetofaunal biology.
Students will formulate and carry out an instructor-approved group research project using local Connecticut herpetofauna. Students are expected to identify a research question, develop a hypothesis, and test this hypothesis using field methods learned in class.
- Students will independently prepare a report about their research project (5-7 pages, double spaced, 12 pt Times New Roman font, 1 inch margins), including relevant background information, the materials and methods used, results of the experiment, results of any data analysis performed, and a discussion of the results.
- Students will prepare a 15-minute presentation about their project with and present on the final day of class.
- Students may work on the project independently, or with a partner. NOTE: Student who choose to work with a partner are required to submit separate and original project reports, but may give their presentation to the class together.
- Both the paper and presentation will be graded on content, quality, and clarity.
The midterm exam will be composed of short-answer questions based on Connecticut herpetofauna identification, the natural history of Connecticut herpetofauna, predicting occupancy of particular habitat types, field techniques, and lecture content.
Students are expected to keep a formal notebook for observations of Connecticut herpetofauna in the field. Field notebooks will be graded based on format (we will use the Grinnellian field notebook system), completeness, degree of detail in observations, and relevancy of details noted.
Course Procedures and Policies
- Paper on project: 100 pts total
- Project Proposal: 10 pts
- Introduction & Methods Draft: 10 pts
- Final Paper: 80 pts
- Presentation on project: 100 pts
- Midterm: 100 pts
- Field notebook entries: 75 pts
- Participation: 25 pts
- TOTAL: 400 pts
Due to the accelerated and intensive nature of this summer course (3 hours, 5 days a week, 3 weeks), full attendance is expected, barring any illnesses or emergency. Missing a single class is roughly the equivalent of missing an entire week of a course during a standard semester, so it’s very important that you attend every class.
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 Appendix A of the Student Conduct Code.
If you have a disability for which you may be requesting an accommodation, you should contact the course instructor and the Center for Students with Disabilities (Wilbur Cross Building, Room 201) on the first day of the semester.
- A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America 4th edition; R. Conant and J. Collins ISBN-10: 0395904528
- Field Notebook – Bound field notebook (composition book is fine and cheap, or the “Rite in the Rain” notebooks)
- Clothes you are willing to ruin
- Waders (Will be provided if you don't have any)
- Headlamp (Will be provided if you don't have one)
- Bug spray
|Date||Lecture||Field Agenda||Additional Materials|
|May 11||Introduction, Syllabus, IACUC Training, Field Notebooks
|Red & Green Trails into UConn Forest
Old UConn Forest Map
New UConn Forest Map
| Archived UC Berkeley Field Notebooks |
Miller 1942, Field Notebook Guidelines (pg. 4-5 most important)
|May 12||Amphibians of Connecticut
|Hillside Environmental Education Park
HEEP Trail Map
| Field Herpetology Project Ideas |
Interesting salamander measuring project
Interesting toad measuring project
|May 13||Reptiles of Connecticut
|Fenton River / UConn Forest|| DEEP Amphibian and Reptiles Checklist |
DEEP Factsheets on Protected Reptiles and Amphibians (Good CT specific background information)
|May 14||Habitats and Field Techniques
Mansfield Hollow Trail Map
|May 15||PROJECT PROPOSALS DUE
Bigelow Hollow Trail Map
|May 18||NIGHT TRIP; Class begins at 6:30 pm
|Fenton River / UConn Forest at Night|| Introduction and Methods Draft Guidelines |
Introduction and Methods Exemplar
|May 19||Reptile Physiology
|Albert E. Moss Sanctuary
Albert E. Moss Sanctuary Trail Map
|May 20||INTRO / METHODS DRAFT DUE
|Mansfield Hollow||Project Exemplar 2|
|Fenton River / UConn Forest||Midterm Topics|
Importance of Biological Collections
|May 25||Memorial Day, No Class||Memorial Day, No Class|
|May 26||Amphibian Social Behavior and Reproduction
|May 27||Reptile Social Behavior and Reproduction
|UConn Forest, Red and Green Trails|
|May 28||Conservation||Optional Trip:
Moss Tract ("the Dusky site")
Sawmill Brook Preserve
Sawmill Brook Preserve Map
|May 29||FIELD NOTEBOOKS DUE
Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
The Herpetologists' League
The Center for North American Herpetology
EMYSystem Online Turtle Resource
eNature Online Field Guides
Turtle Conservation Project - New England
Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
New England Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
Sea Turtle Conservancy
Turtle Conservation Fund
Amphibian Conservation Alliance
Most Threatened Turtles and Tortoises