EEB 3898 Special Topics: Field Herpetology
May Term, 2015
May 11th - May 29th, 2015
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 prepare a short presentation about their project with their group and present on the final day of class.
- Students will independently prepare a report about their research project, including relevant background information, the materials and methods implemented, results of the experiment, data analysis, and a discussion of the results. Both the paper and presentation will be graded on content, quality, and clarity.
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 Grinellian field notebook system), completeness, degree of detail in observations, and relevancy of details noted.
Course Procedures and Policies
Grades will be determined as follows:
- Midterm: 100 pts
- Final: 100 pts
- Field notebook entries: 75 pts
- Participation: 25 pts
- TOTAL: 300 pts
The Intensive Summer session I is only three weeks long. As a result, students are expected to be in attendance for every lecture and field trip, barring any illness or emergency situation. Missing one class during this session is equivalent to missing an entire week during the standard academic year.
In accordance with the student conduct code, plagiarism and cheating may be punished by failure in the course or even dismissal from the University. Official University policy regarding Academic Integrity can be found in Appendix A of the Student Conduct Code.
If you are requesting an accommodation for as a result of a disability, please contact the instructor and the Center for Students with Disabilities (Room 201 in the Wilbur Cross Building) during the first week of the session.
- Field Notebook – I would prefer if you use a composition book or the “Write in the rain” notebooks
- Textbook – A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America; Roger Conant and Joseph T Collins. Peterson Field Guides.
- Clothing you are willing to ruin.
- Waders (Will be provided if you don't have any)
- Bug spray
|Date||Lecture||Field Agenda*||Additional Materials|
|May 12||Introduction, Class Objectives, Field Notebooks||Swan Lake, UConn Forest|| Archived UC Berkeley Field Notebooks |
Notebook entry from Monday
|May 13||Amphibians of Connecticut||Hillside Environmental Trail|
|May 14||Reptiles of Connecticut||Fenton River/UConn Forest|
|May 15||Environments and Field Techniques||Mansfield Hollow|
|May 16||Amphibian Physiology||Rain...boooooooooo|
|May 19||No lecture - Night Trip||Fenton River/UConn Forest*|
|May 20||Physiology||Mansfield Hollow|
|May 22||Conservation||Bone Mill Pond and Bicentennial Pond|
|May 23||Collections/Locomotion||UConn Collections|
|May 27||Feeding||Fenton River/UConn Forest|
|May 28||Social Behavior||Mansfield Hollow|
|May 30||FINAL; Field Notebooks Due||UConn Dairy Bar?|
Pictures from Field Trips
Herps in the News
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