Biology of the Vertebrates
EEB 2214, Fall 2012
The evolution of form, function,
& diversity of the vertebrates
Meeting Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30-1:45 in BPB130
Dr. Elizabeth Jockusch
Office: Biology/Pharmacy 305B
Phone: (860) 486-4452
Office hours: Thursdays 2-3 pm and by appointment
Dr. Margaret Rubega
Note: All emails must contain "EEB2214" in the subject line to avoid being filtered out and deleted
Office: Biology/Pharmacy 500
Phone: (860) 486-4502
Office hours: TBA and by appointment
Alejandro Rico Guevara (Teaching Assistant)
Office: Biology/Pharmacy 404
Office hours: TBA and by appointment
There will be two one-hour, non-cumulative, exams scheduled during the lecture hour. During the final exam period, a third one-hour exam will be given covering material from the final third of the course. Details about the collections tour and video project will be provided later in the semester.
As a research field, vertebrate biology is alive and well, with discoveries being made constantly. Each week, we will select one paper from the primary scientific literature that describes a study relevant to vertebrate biology. On Tuesdays, class will include a short in-class written exercise, in which we ask you to answer three standard questions about the paper:
- What was the major new result?
- How does this result alter or add to what was known previously?
- Why does it matter?
The written exercise will be followed by a brief discussion of the paper, during which we will call on pre-determined, but randomly selected, students to talk about their answers to these questions.
In-class assessments are worth 3 points each. 11 will be offered over the course of the semester, and the best 10 counted towards the final course grade. There will be no paper selected for the first week, or the weeks of the first and second exams.
All papers will be available electronically. A link to each paper will be posted on the course schedule below, next to the date of the in-class exercise. While many articles in scientific journals are now made available free to everyone ("open access" articles), access to other articles requires a subscription, which the UConn library buys. On campus, you should not encounter difficulty accessing the full text of selected articles. From off-campus, the easiest way to access articles that require a subscription is using the EZProxy. If you get a message saying that you may purchase access to the paper, then try again through the proxy. In some cases, it may also be necessary to quit and restart your browser. Alternative ways to access the articles via UConn's subscription are to configure the proxy within your web browser and to use the VPN. It is your responsibility to test that you have access in a timely fashion. Course instructors will not respond to requests to provide the article directly to individuals.
On several of the research response days, we will incorporate additional questions about the phylogenetic tree of vertebrates into the written exercise. These will be worth a total of 10 points over the course of the semester. As with the research responses, you must be present to receive credit and no make-ups will be given. If you have a valid, documented reason for missing class on the day of a tree quiz, and have followed the policy on missed exams, then your quiz score will be prorated.
Every student is expected to visit the EEB Biological Collections for a tour that will introduce you to the resources and opportunities in the collection. We will offer 10 different opportunities, on different days and times. You will need to sign in at the collection; at the end of the semester, everyone who has signed in will have 10 points added to their grade. Tours will take about 45 minutes, they meet at the south end of the Biology/Physics building lobby on the hour. You are responsible for finding a day and time to attend from the options below; if your class schedule prohibits you from attending any of these, you are responsible for letting us know that you will need an alternative opportunity AT LEAST TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO THE FINAL TOUR. If you have already toured the collections (e.g., in a previous class), provide us with documentation to that effect, and we will just add the 10 points to your grade without you needing to tour the collections again.
Available tour days/times:
Any student who does not attend an exam and fails to receive permission in advance will receive a 0 for the exam. Approval of any request to miss an exam requires, but is not guaranteed by, verifiable written documentation of the reason. A student who receives approval to miss an exam will have his or her grade for the missed exam prorated based on his or her performance on the remainder of the exams. We will not give make-up exams. Every student must take the final (exam 3). Permission to reschedule the final can only be obtained through procedures determined by the Office of Student Services and Advocacy.
No make-ups will be given for research responses or tree quizzes. The first research response from which a student is absent will be dropped. If a student misses a second one, then the missed exam policy applies. For tree quizzes, the missed exam policy applies.
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.
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.
- Arrive on time and stay until the end. If you must come late or leave early, sit by the back door.
- Turn cell phones OFF and store them out of sight.
- Use laptops only for taking notes.
- Course materials are the intellectual property of the course instructors. Students may not make these materials (including handouts, exams and quizzes) available electronically.
This page lays out our expectations for classroom conduct in more detail. All students must print a copy, sign it, and submit it to the teaching assistant by the end of the second week of class.
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...).
The textbook for this course is Pough F. H., C. M. Janis, and J. B. Heiser. 2009. Vertebrate Life, 8th Edition. Prentice Hall. Three copies of the textbook are available at the library iDesk . Ask for call numbers XR5, XR6 and XR7. We strongly encourage you to read the assigned sections before lecture.
Study questions will be posted online after every lecture. These are intended to help you think about and synthesize information. They are not intended to provide a comprehensive study guide.
Most lectures will be accompanied by a handout, which will be available in class. If you miss a lecture, see the teaching assistant to get a copy of any handouts.
A review session will be held before each exam. Dates and times will be posted here once they are set.
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
Vertebrates in the News
Lecture Schedule & Materials
|Date||Topic||Textbook Readings||Supplemental materials||Research Response Reading|
|Part I: Aug 27 - Oct 10, Dr. Elizabeth Jockusch|
|Aug 27||Vertebrate Diversity||---------|
|Aug 29||Chordate and Vertebrate Origins||Ch. 1, 2|
|Sept 4||Living Jawless Vertebrates||Ch. 3|
|Sept 6||Early Vertebrate Fossils||Ch. 3|
|Sept 11||Chondrichthyans||Ch. 5|
|Sept 13||Osteichthyan Origin and Diversification||Ch. 6|
|Sept 18||living Actinopterygians||Ch. 6|
|Sept 20||Sarcopterygii and Evolution of Tetrapods||Ch. 9 (pp. 196-211)|
|Sept 25||Tetrapod Origins and Amphibian Diversity||Ch. 10|
|Sept 27||EXAM 1 includes material through the origin of tetrapods (but not amphibian diversity)||---------|
|Oct 2||Amphibian Evolution and Declines||Ch. 10|
|Oct 4||Amniote Origins||Ch. 9 (pp. 211-218)|
|Oct 9||Lepidosaurs||Ch. 13|
|Oct 11||Snakes||Ch. 13 (pp. 339-349)|
|Part II: Oct 19 - Dec 16, Dr. Margaret Rubega|
|Oct 19||Turtles||Ch. 12|| UPDATED Available Video Meeting Times
Ophir et al. 2009 Why you shouldn't text in class
Turtles Digging a Nest
Turtle Laying Eggs
Turtle Hatchlings Emerging
Turtle Hatchlings Heading to the Water
|Oct 21||Introduction to Archosaurs & Crocodilians||Ch. 16||Amniota Phylogeny Worksheet
Female Crocodile Digging Out Hatchlings
|Oct 26||Archosaurs: Pterosaurs||Ch. 16||Amniota Synapomorphy Worksheet
|Oct 28||Dinosaurs and Other Mesosoic Diapsids||Ch. 16||Study Questions|
| Nov 1
| Review Session BPB 131 6:00PM
EXAM 2 includes material beginning with Lissamphibia and ending on Saurichia (includes all of Thursday's lecture material)
|Nov 4||Dinosaurs II - Theropods||Ch. 16||Study Questions|
|Nov 9||Birds: Avian Origins||Ch. 16 (pp. 439-443)||Study Questions
Wing-assisted Incline Running
|Nov 11||Birds: Feeding, Morphology, and Reproduction||Ch. 17||Study Questions|
|Nov 16||Birds: Reproduction, and Introduction to Mammals||Ch. 17||Study Questions|
|Nov 18|| Mammals: Origins and Radiation
Video Project Due
|Ch. 18||Study Questions|
|Nov 30||Mammals: Primate Evolution and Human Diversity||Ch. 24||Study Questions|
|Dec 2|| Mammals: Primate Evolution continued and Mammal Diversity
||Ch. 20||Study Questions|
|Dec. 7|| Vertebrate Mass Extinctions, Past and Present
Evaluations of 5 Group Videos Due by 5 pm
|Ch. 21||Study Questions|
|Dec 9||Vertebrate Mass Extinctions, Past and Present||Ch. 25||Study Questions
| Dec 13
| Review Session BPB 131 7:00PM
EXAM 3 (FINAL) 10:30 am-12:30 pm