Biology 308 - Ecology
Fall 2012
Instructor: Jim Dooley
Draft: 11/30/2012

                                                Office: 428 Boyd Science Center                                                       
E-Mail: jdooley, Phone: 826-8227      
Lecture: BSC 437, MWF 11:00 - 11:50 a.m. 
Laboratory: BSC 437, Thursday - 12:30 - 3:20 pm. 

____________________________________________________________________________

Course Description:

My goal with this course is to advance and deepen your appreciation for ecological science.   You were exposed to the general principles of ecology in your introductory biology course (Biol 111).  In this course we will work to solidify your command of basic principles and advance your understanding of ecology's more signficant ideas and implications.

You will probably find that this course challenges you in ways that differ from other biology courses.   Along with factual material, you will also need to work through and learn some quantitative theory.  In addition, you may find that the emphasis I place on self-teaching - in this case learning through extensive reading may represent a departure from what you have encountered in classroom education in the past.

Understand that I see the reading of the text and other materials I provide to be the primary source of learning - listening to lectures should only reinforce what primarily occurs through your own, self-directed efforts at learning by reading and reflection.  In that context then, understand that I teach this course at a very high level.  The bottom line: I see Biology 308 as a demanding educational experience that will require a large time commitment from all of us!

Learning Philosophy:  At this point, I'm tending to favor an approach to learning that emphasizes self-teaching.   I see myself as your guide in your effort to learn ecology, but you are the major engineers of your learning.  To that extent, I place a great deal of emphasis on reading and reflection as the most important tools for advancing student learning.  You should come to class having read the assigned material and be prepared to ask questions and thus help guide the nature and trajectory of the lecture experience.

Course Learning Objectives:  Course Leaning Objectives extend directly from the Biology Department's Learning Goals.   In particular, the learning objectives for this course emphasize Biology Department Learning Goals 1, 3 & 4.   As a result of demonstrated clear commitment to the course's learning vehicles - that is readings, lecture presentations, laboratory experiences, and videos students should anticipate signficant advancement in the knowledge-base & skill sets within the domain of Ecological Science.  More specifically students should demonstrate:


Course Resources:

Textbook:  Ecology (4th edition) by Robert E. Ricklefs & Gary L. Miller, ISBN: 0-7167-2829-X
Laboratory Manual
Field and Laboratory Methods for General Ecology (4th edition) by Brower, Zar, & von Ende, ISBN: 0-697-24358-3

Online Materials:
  • Blackboard Site: The class web site on Blackboard (http://courses.muskingum.edu/) will offer a number of important resources:
  • Course Announcements: I will post notices of any changes in schedule, assignments or course activities.  You should plan to check for new information at least weekly.   
  • Downloadable PowerPoints - All PowerPoints will be posted to the site either shortly before or just after the appropriate lecture.  If they don't appear quickly, e-mail me!
  • Additional Readings for Lecture and Lab:  (obviously these are materials that are available in electronic form)
  • Course Syllabus (this web page). You can think of this page as an  on-line syllabus. Note that at the top of this page I list the date of the last update: use that as a quick guide post to determine whether you are up to date on what is going on with the course.
Course Policies
  • Attendance: Attendance to lectures is optional.  You're upper level students now so the choice of coming to lecture or not is yours.  I may be a bit biased, but my sense is that attending lectures aids in the learning process but hey, ... it's yours to call.    By contrast: laboratory ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY.   There are many field trips and group work projects that cannot be re-created.  There will be no make-ups.  If attendance in lab is going to be a problem, don't take the class.
  •  E-Mail: I use email extensively to communicate with students regarding assignments, changes in schedule and meetings.   You are responsible for checking your email at least once a day.   I will not accept "I didn't get the email" as an excuse for missed communication.
  • Cell Phones: I do want you to bring your cell phone to class - we're going to use them to help us improve learning.  However if you text for non-class related purposes, I will ask you to leave class for the day.

Grading:    The course will consist of both lecture and laboratory. Grades from the two parts will be combined with a participation mark in computing the final course grade. The final course grad will be determined based on the following breakdown: 60% lecture, 35% laboratory and 5% active participation.

 Lecture and laboratory grades will be based on the following:

1) Lecture:

  • Two closed book, closed note exams  administered during the course of the semester.  Each exam contributes 30% towards the final lecture grade.
2) Laboratory:  
  • Weekly work - including (60%):
    • Exercise worksheets & other between lab assignment work
    • Active participation in all aspects of laboratory activities

  • Laboratory final (40%)

Communication Policy:   I understand that you may or may not routinely check email in your personal life.  However, email is a critical means of communication for this course.  Your are responsible for checking in for course email at least once each day.  "I didn't receive the email" will not  be accepted as an excuse if you fail to receive and act on annoucements or changes to course assignments.

A word about Course Reading: Understand that there is important material in the text that I do not cover during lectures.  Therefore, expect that tests will have questions drawn broadly from the lecture, text reading, and other materials I've assigned - don't limit your preparation to material directly discussed in class!

Strategies for Success:
  • Keep up with the reading!  We move pretty fast in this course and you're going to find there's a great deal of reading that can pile up pretty fast.  Understand you are responsible for all assigned reading: text, lecture notes, and other assigned materials.
  • Again, I strongly suggest you take notes on the text, other reading, PowerPoints, and even your own class notes as you go (hence my little program of open notes on exams).  Doing so will help deeply increase your understanding of the text material and I promise you you'll be much better prepared for the exams.
  • Here's a really effective study strategy that will make the most of the resources I provide you:
  • Well Prior to class: read the chapter and take handwritten notes on the material.  Doing so will help you identify points or concepts that are unclear.
  • After class: review the posted PowerPoint slides as well as your class notes.
In the end, you are going to teach yourself this material through reading and reflection! I hope using the text, your notes from lecture and PowerPoint slides in combination will allow you to identify what you understand and what material needs further clarification.   In structuring the course in this fashion, I'm trying to prepare you for the fact that you are coming to the end of the stage in your life when you should associate learning with teaching.   Before long the learning you will need to do (and there will be plenty up the road) will have to be self-designed.   Mainly, you'll find that reading and reflection will be your tools.   In that spirit, I want to emphasize once again that you should see text and other material reading as critical components to your learning in this course.


Classroom Schedule


Week
Dates
Topic/Activity/Assignment

1
8/27

8/29

8/31

Course Introduction: Overview of Syllabus

Lecture
: The Order of the Natural World  
Reading: Chapter 1

Lecture: The Order of the Natural World   Reading: Chapter 1

2
9/03

9/05

9/07

Lecture: Discovering the Order of Nature   Reading: Chapter 2

Lecture: Discovering the Order of Nature   Reading: Chapter 2

Lecture: Discovering the Order of Nature   Reading: Chapter 2

3
9/10

9/12

9/14

Lecture: Discovering the Order of Nature   Reading: Chapter 2

Lecture: Discovering the Order of Nature   Reading: Chapter 2

Lecture: Discovering the Order of Nature   Reading: Chapter 2


9/17

9/19

9/21

Lecture: Population Structure   Reading: Chapter 14

Lecture: Population Structure   Reading: Chapter 14

Lecture: Population Structure   Reading: Chapter 14

5
9/24

9/26

9/28

Lecture: Population Structure   Reading: Chapter 14 (Distribute Test Review Sheets)

Lecture: Population Structure   Reading: Chapter 14

Lecture: Population Structure   Reading: Chapter 14

Work on Poisson analysis of leaves from hollow.

6
10/01

10/03

10/05

Lecture: Population Growth   Reading: Chapter 15

Lecture: Population Growth   Reading: Chapter 15

Lecture: Population Growth   Reading: Chapter 15


10/08

10/10

10/12

Fall Break

Lecture: Population Growth   Reading: Chapter 15

Lecture: Population Growth   Reading: Chapter 15


8
10/15

10/17

10/19

Lecture: Population Growth   Reading: Chapter 15

Lecture: Population Growth   Reading: Chapter 15

DVD: Traveling with Ghosts - The Lynx and Hare Story

  10/22

10/24

10/26
Lecture: Population Regulation   Reading: Chapter 16

Lecture: Population Regulation   Reading: Chapter 16

Lecture: Population Regulation   Reading: Chapter 16

10
10/29

10/31

11/02

Lecture: Population Regulation   Reading: Chapter 16

Lecture: Population Regulation   Reading: Chapter 16

Lecture: Metapopulations   Reading: Chapter 17

11
11/05

11/07

11/09

Lecture: Metapopulations   Reading: Chapter 17

Lecture: Metapopulations   Reading: Chapter 17

Lecture
: Population Fluctuations & Cycles  
Reading: Chapter 18 (346-356)

12
11/12

11/14

11/16

Lecture: Population Fluctuations & Cycles   Reading: Chapter 18 (346-356)

Lecture: Population Fluctuations & Cycles   Reading: Chapter 18 (346-356)

Lecture: Population Fluctuations & Cycles   Reading: Chapter 18 (346-356)

13
11/19

11/21

11/23

TBA

Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving Break

14
11/26

11/28

11/30

Lecture: Population Fluctuations & Cycles   Reading: Chapter 18 (346-356)

Exam II prep

Exam Writing

15
12/03

12/05

12/07

Lecture: Resources and Consumers Reading: Chapter 20 (383-390)
 
Lecture: Resources and Consumers Reading: Chapter 20 (383-390) or TBA

Lecture: Final Thoughts & Course Evaluations





   12/14
Final Exam:  8:30 am
 

 



Laboratory Schedule:

 

Week
Dates
Topic/Activity/Assignment
1 8/30
Preparation: Obtain a copy of the Laboratory Manual - Brower, Zar & von Ende.
Logistics: Fill out Waviers for Field Work and Travel
Presentation: Science & Ecology
Discussion:  How to use the text in your learning.  Understanding Graphs. The structure of scientific papers.  
The power of questions in science and the emerging importance of applied investigations.  Also: Understanding the notions of pattern and process in ecology. 
Exercise:  A walk in the Hollow.  Is there pattern in the distribution of leaf miners on tree leaves? How do we distinguish pattern from randomness? Collecting oak leaves of analysis of leaf miner distribution.
Presentation: Statistics - tools for understanding patterns and relationships: descriptive vs. infernetial (two sample, chi-square, linear regression).
Homework Exercise: Laboratory # 1 - Data Analysis
2 9/06 Preparation: VZE: 1-25 & Symondson et al. 2002 [4435"], Complete homework exercise and the Pre-Lab located on BB.
Video: The Trials of Life: Finding Food (adaptations and trade-offs)
Discussion
: Symondson et al. 2002 [4435"]
Presentation: Statistics - tools for understanding patterns and relationships (two sample, chi-square, linear regression) & software tools you can use (Excel & SPSS) (Travel to BSC 204)
Execise: Analyzing the leaf miner data
3 9/13 No LAB - JLD & DJI  Away
4 9/20 Preparation:
Field Trip:
 The trade-offs in field sampling - size of samples vs. number of samples.  Visit to the Conroy plantation



9/27
Population Estimation
Preparation: VZE: 124-136 (Capture-Recapture Sampling, Removal Sampling) & Population Estimation documents (available from Blackboard)
Exercise: Road-Testing the Lincoln-Peterson Method with Marked Beans
Demonstration: of Program MARK


10/04 Lecture Exam I
7 10/11 Field Trip to Fish Hatchery
Hand outData and analysis assignment from 9/20 due 10/11
Field Exercise: Forest tree transect sampling in the University Hollow. Preparation: VZE: 103-109
Laboratory:
group data compilation
8 10/18 Due: plot size lab data analysis
12:30 - 1:20 - Review Exam 1 & take notes.
Preparation VZE: 138-142 (Age Structure and Survivorship). 
Field Exercise -
Gathering Survival Data: Life Table data gathering - local cemetery
Analysis: Preparing the data for analysi
s
9 10/25 Exercise: Analysis of Cemetery Data. see also 3877"
Exercise: Assignment & Group Work on Journal Papers. Preparation: Review VZE 22-25
10 11/01
Field Trip to the Wilds?
11 11/08 Group Presentations of Journal Papers
Exercise: GUD - Behavior predicated on ecology
12 11/15 Finish Group Presentations of Journal Papers
Exam Prep (Chapter 15 worksheet)
Exercise: TIEE - Ecological Society of America?
13 11/22 Thanksgiving Break
??14 11/29
Lecture Exam II
Laboratory Final Exam Posted on Blackboard
5 12/06 Laboratory Final Due (open book, open note take home)
16





Additional Modules Video: Finding Food
Exercise: Optimal Foraging - Giving Up Density as Guiding Model

Exercise: Poisson Distribution of Forest Understory Plants - Section 4-C of Brower et al. (pages 152-156).

Rain Plan: Video: "Extinction!" or  "Finding Food" &  Student Conferences
Exercise: How models guide us - GUD & Forgaing     

Preparation: B, Z & E: pages 7-21, 22-25.
Exercise:  Analysis of Hollow data & Preparing the Oral report:

Preparation: (TBA if needed)
Project QuestionsQuestions Developed on 9/05/06

SimuTextt, More lab manual,
  Exercise: Campus Tree Mapping - Foundations for an Arboretum