last update - October 8, 2014 5:06 PM

Overview of Course: This course is a introduction to the study of animal behavior by observation and experimentation. Strong emphasis is placed on hypothesis formulation, experimental design, and testing. We will work with a number of different species in both the field and the lab. A strong statistical background is not necessary, though I assume you are familiar with basic statistical tests learned in the Biology 109/110 series. In this course, you will learn to understand and use some basic statistical techniques and tests for many of the labs.

Prerequisites: Prerequisite for this course is Biol 109/110 or permission of the instructor.

Text and reading: There is no text for this course. Each week you will receive a handout which introduces the next lab and often other supplemental reading. You should read this and understand it before you arrive at lab for that experiment.

Class attendance and participation: Class participation and attendance will account for 20% of your grade. Attendence is mandatory. Any unexcused absences will affect your grade. If you cannot attend a lab, you should contact me beforehand so that we can arrange how you can complete the work. Class begins at 1:10 PM. Be prepared to begin at that time. Plan to arrive by 1:05.

Check with the online syllabus to see where lab meets each week. In general, we meet in Higley 120 or at the Brown Family Environmental Center (BFEC). When we meet at the BFEC, we will have a short organizational meeting in the BFEC laboratory, then proceed out of doors to find the animals of interest.

Field work: Some classes involve field work. We will not let a little rain slow us down. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing for the weather. You may encounter unpredictable weather, poison ivy and stinging insects. Be prepared and be aware of your surroundings. PLEASE NOTE THAT BEING CAREFUL IS NOT A GUARANTEE THAT YOU WILL AVOID STINGS OR POISON IVY. If you are allergic to these, especially stings, please let me know.

Academic honesty: This class will follow the official Kenyon College position on academic honesty .

Need help?: If at any time, you feel that you do not have the proper background to understand the material that is being presented, please let me know. If you have a disability and therefore may have need for some type of accommodation(s) in order to participate fully in this class, please feel free to discuss your concerns in private with me and also self identify yourself to Erin Salva, Coordinator of Disability Services at PBX 5453 or via e-mail at SALVAE.

Grading: I suggest you check with me early in the term if you have any doubts about how well you are doing. It doesn't pay to wait until the last week to ask how you can improve your grade. To summarize the components of the class grade described above:

•40% Two laboratory reports (due dates are given below).
•30% A laboratory notebook. For each laboratory, you should have notes on the following: background given in class; hypothesis and predictions to be tested; a description of the study site; experimental design and methods; data tables; data analysis; brief summary and interpretation. You can include laboratory handouts without repeating material given to you.
•20% Attendance, homework, and participation in lab activities.

Deadlines and conflicts:  No extensions will be granted for the assignments listed above on the basis of conflicts in other classes; look at all your syllabi now and plan ahead for the semester. The only exception is for medical problems serious enough that you are consulting with the College or other professional health services.
Schedule:  The syllabus is tentative. Some experiments depend on the weather, others depend on the availability of animals, which cannot always be anticipated. The sequence and specific topics are likely to evolve through the semester.
Day Topic Meeting Place
Sept 4 Intro: asking questions Higley 120, BFEC
Sept 11

Testing hypotheses through observation (continuous data): Soldier Beetles

Sept 16- Lab Notebook due - initial review

BFEC butterfly garden
Sept 18

Testing hypotheses through observation (categorical data):

BFEC butterfly garden
Sept 25

Time Budgets - Methods Comparision

Meet at Higley 320
Oct 2

Statistics Review

Higley 320
Oct 9

Testing Hypotheses via manipulation - Squirrel Alarm Calls

Higley 320
Oct 16

Testing Hypotheses via manipulation - Squirrel Alarm Calls

Oct 23

Technique: mist-netting birds

First Lab Report Due

Oct 30 Avian behavior: experimental design BFEC Classroom & Aviary
Nov 6 Aviary, Part I Higley 320/Aviary
Nov 13

Aviary, Part II

BFEC Classroom & Aviary
Nov 20 Aviary, Part III Higley 320/Aviary
Nov 27 Thanksgiving break - no class  
Dec 4

Aviary, Part IV

Dec 11


December 13 - Due:

Lab Notebook and for evaluation

Avian foraging lab report due


Higley 120

There is no final exam for this course

Statistical Resources on the Web

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