Biology of the Vertebrates Honors Conversion

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Honors Conversion for EEB 2214
Fall 2010 Semester
Instructors: Elizabeth Jockusch and Margaret Rubega
Teaching Assistant: Elizabeth Timpe

The intent of honors conversion of a non-honors course is to engage a student more deeply in methodology and theory, address more sophisticated questions and problems, and to satisfy more rigorous standards than would otherwise be expected in the course. (see the university policy on Honors Conversions at: The following are opportunities for converting this course for Honors credit; a limited number of students can accommodated during any single semester, and the usual requirements for Honors Conversions (satisfactory completion of the assigned tasks; a minimum grade in the course of B-) apply. If you wish to receive Honors Conversion credit in the course, you must receive approval from the instructor(s), and YOU are responsible for filling out, securing instructor signatures, and submitting the Honors Scholar Course Conversion and Plan forms to the Honors Office by Sept. 17, 2010.

Vertebrate Research Collection

Supervised by: Susan Hochgraf, Vertebrate Collections Manager
Thursdays ONLY

The Biodiversity Research Collections of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut reflect the richness of the world’s biodiversity. The vertebrate holdings consist of dried, frozen and fluid-preserved specimens of fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals, with a particularly strong emphasis on South American mammals. Students will assist the Vertebrate Collections Manager in curating and maintaining specimens, and the databases by which they are tracked. This activity will expose students to a wide variety of specimens illustrating the concepts and evolutionary history covered in class, and to the methods by which specimens are preserved and stored for research on the evolutionary history and relationships among the major groups of vertebrates. Honors scholars early in their UConn careers may also identify Honors Thesis projects using collections specimens during the course of this work.

Requirements: 12 hours, in time blocks of no less than 2 hours, on Thursdays ONLY. (The collections manager is present only on Thursdays, and students may not work unsupervised.)

Vertebrate Biology in the News

Supervised by: Elizabeth Timpe (TA), with oversight from Dr. Rubega and Dr. Jockusch

The organisms and evolutionary history we provide an overview of in class surround us; evidence of this ubiquity is found in a steady stream of news stories about the discovery of new species, the latest research on dinosaurs, and medical news (e.g., the susceptibility of humans to disease originating in other mammals). Students will search major news outlets (e.g., The New York Times, Washington Post), either online or via print or other media for stories related to the conceptual and factual material we are learning in class. Students will provide links to the relevant materials (news stories, videos, podcasts, web pages are all acceptable formats; others may also be acceptable, subject to review by the instructors/TA), which the TA will post to a special section of the class website. This activity will engage the student in a wider search for supporting and background materials for the course, highlight the day-to-day relevance of the factual and conceptual course content, teach the students to identify reputable sources, and provide enrichment for the class as a whole.

Requirements: A MINIMUM of one news item (submitted to the TA in the form of a web link or PDF) per week, starting from the second week of classes, through the last week of classes (but not finals week). News items must be turned in once per week; a collection of 14 items submitted in the last week of classes is not acceptable. Students may turn in more than a single item in a given week, but they may not “bank” news items in advance. Students are responsible for identifying and using reputable and accurate sources: thus, a YouTube video is allowable, if the instructors or TA find that the material within is accurate, but will be rejected if it contains significant inaccuracies.