Difference between revisions of "Field Herpetology 2012"

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| '''T''', May 15 ||'''MIDTERM'''<br><br>|| H.E.E.P. Trail, UConn Campus ||   
| '''T''', May 15 ||'''MIDTERM'''<br><br>|| ||   
| '''W''', May 16 ||Feeding ecology of amphibians and reptiles<br><br>|| ?  ||   
| '''W''', May 16 ||Feeding ecology of amphibians and reptiles, Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles<br><br>|| ?  ||   

Revision as of 19:13, 15 May 2012

Hyla versicolor Photo by E. K. Timpe

EEB 3898 Field Herpetology
Intensive Summer Session I, 2012
Course Duration: May 7th - May 25th, 2012
Meeting Time: Monday through Friday, 9:00 - 12:00 in TLS181
depending on weather conditions some classes will be held at night 7-10 PM instead, allowing us to observe nocturnal amphibians


Eurycea bislineata Photo by E. K. Timpe

Elizabeth Timpe
Email: elizabeth.timpe@uconn.edu
Office: Biology/Pharmacy 318
Phone: (860) 486-6215
Office hours: by appointment, often right after class

Course Description and Objectives

Heterodon platyrhinos Photo by E. K. Timpe
Pseudacris crucifer Photo by E. K. Timpe

Course Description:
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 (e.g., their physiology, ecology, behavior, reproductive biology, and conservation). Specifically, goals of this course are to familiarize the student with the identification, natural history, and conservation of Connecticut's amphibians and reptiles through direct field experience (e.g., active searches, turtle trapping, artificial cover objects, night-time road searches, and radio tracking). There will be various opportunities to observe these animals in the field during the day and at night. Students will leave the course with a good background in herpetology, and with a sound understanding of the diversity and distribution of amphibians and reptiles worldwide, with particular emphasis on Connecticut herpetofauna.

Course Objectives:
After completing this course the student should be able to:

  • identify Connecticut’s amphibians and reptiles by sight, and in the case of frogs by sound as well
  • effectively use standard field techniques and methods for studying herpetofauna (e.g., field note taking, dip netting, radio telemetry, designing sampling arrays, etc.)
  • apply with proficiency the scientific method to assess questions and design a project pertaining to herpetofaunal biology and conservation

Course Procedures and Policies

Each class will be comprised of a mini lecture (30-45 minutes), followed by a trip to a local field site. The lecture portion of this course will deal with various aspects of the biology of amphibians and reptiles, including physiological ecology, communication, social behavior, reproduction, parental care, and community ecology. The field trips will focus on the identification of Connecticut amphibians and reptiles, in addition to the demonstration and use of standard herpetological surveying and collecting techniques. There will be some evening field trips to see breeding of local amphibians and daytime field trips to see other species. Students are expected to attend the field trips.

Grades will be determined as follows:

  • Midterm: 100 pts
  • Final: 100 pts
  • Paper on individual project: 50 pts
  • Presentation on individual project: 50 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), attendance is fully 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 is very important that you attend every class.

Academic Integrity:
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 a course instructor and the Center for Students with Disabilities (Wilbur Cross Building, Room 201) within the first two weeks of the semester.

Course Materials

Desmognathus fuscus Photo by E. K. Timpe


  • A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America 4th edition; R. Conant and J. Collins ISBN-10: 0395904528
  • Bound field notebook (composition book is fine and cheap)
  • Old/junky footwear and clothes


  • Rubber boots
  • Pair of waders (will be available if you don’t have a pair)
  • Headlamp (will be available)
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen

Course Resources

Exam Materials
Pdficon small.gifExam 1 Study Guide

Project Materials
Pdficon small.gif Paper and Presentation Info
Pdficon small.gif Project Ideas


Opheodrys vernalis Photo by E. K. Timpe
Gyrinophilus porphyriticus Photo by E. K. Timpe
Date Mini-Lecture Topic Field Agenda* Materials
M, May 7 Introduction; standard field techniques

H.E.E.P. Trail, UConn campus Pdficon small.gifSyllabus
Pdficon small.gifCT Herp Checklist
T, May 8 CT salamanders

Albert E. Moss Sanctuary, adjacent to UConn campus Pdficon small.gif Paper and Presentation Info
Pdficon small.gif Project Ideas
W, May 9
CT frogs

Fenton River, UConn Forest
TH, May 10 CT turtles

Fenton River, UConn Forest
F, May 11 CT snakes

Fenton River, UConn Forest Pdficon small.gif Exam 1 Study Guide
M, May 14
Review session 6-7PM
Fenton River, UConn Forest

W, May 16 Feeding ecology of amphibians and reptiles, Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles

TH, May 17 Amphibian mating systems

F, May 18 Reptilian mating systems

M, May 21 Communication in amphibians

T, May 22 Communication in reptiles

W, May 23 Conservation of amphibians and reptiles

Bigelow Hollow State Park

F, May 25 FINAL; field notebooks due

[*changes to our field trip itinerary may be made pending weather, etc.]

Pictures from Field Trips

Click here

Herps in the News

Crotalus horridus Photo by E. K. Timpe

Additional Resources

Rana palustris Photo by E. K. Timpe
Sternotherus odoratus Photo by E. K. Timpe



Snakes of CT
Online Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of CT
Reptiles and Amphibians of CT
New England Herpetological Society

Video about Amphibian Extinction
AMNH's Amphibian Species of the World
Amphibian Portal from USGS-NBII
Deban Lab Amphibian Feeding

General Herpetology
Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
The Herpetologists' League
The Center for North American Herpetology
Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
New England Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
EMYSystem Online Turtle Resource
eNature Online Field Guides