BIO 527: Field Biology;
Dr. Tom Tomasi: 836-5169
We will meet for about four hours before the trip (July 2/3) to learn about the
ecology and adaptations unique to the mountain ecosystem, and to consider
possibilities for the independent projects.
We will then pack the vans and depart on July 4th for
The primary theme of this class is that mountain communities differ by elevation, creating elevational “bands” of habitat. Temperature, light intensity, atmospheric pressure, and available water are some of the abiotic factors that can correlate with elevation, and influence community structure and species biogeography. Organisms that live in particular bands have evolved adaptations to the conditions there. Because factors other than elevation also play a role in shaping biological communities, these bands may differ from one mountain to another, and even from one side of a mountain to the other. For the class project, we will collect data to study the details of these relationships, particularly in
Become familiar with the fauna and flora of the mountains;
Appreciate the ecological complexity and uniqueness of the mountain communities;
Appreciate the geology, geography, climatology, and history that relates to the biogeography of mountain organisms;
Practice skills in experimental design;
Obtain experience making measurements related to population ecology, community ecology, and/or behavioral ecology;
Practice skills in data analysis and oral presentation; and
Appreciate the importance of functioning as a team while conducting biological field work.
We will have readings from several texts on Mountain Biology, and field guides for identification of organisms. The field guide recommended is: Field Guide to the
Before the first pre-trip meeting, read the following pages: 10-24; 25-31 (optional); 32-59; 75-77. This is easy reading, written for the layman, but good background and photographs. Information about sites in each state is on p 370-412.
Grades will be based on a subjective evaluation of class participation and attitude (60%), field journal (10%), and the quality of the independent project (25%). Therefore, the potential for academic dishonesty is very low in this class. Grades are earned on the basis of: 90%=A; 80%=B;70%=C; <70%=F.
This class does require some hiking/working in mountainous terrain at high elevations. Anyone with a handicap which might affect performance or participation in this class should contact the instructor and/or Disability Support Services (836-4129 or http://www.smsu.edu/disability/). This class is taught with the affirmative action/equal opportunity philosophy. Inquires should be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity (836-4252 or http://www.smsu.edu/human/EOAA/EO.htm). Cell phones are acceptable.
PRE-TRIP MEETINGS : [Dates are tentative]
Introduction - Basic trip schedule
Safety / Dangers:
Personal equipment: What to bring and not bring
Possible independent projects
Species lists due
Group project and assignments
Last minute details
Class equipment check
For students that are available, please donate a couple hours for checking/cleaning the field equipment to reduce the problems that might occur while we are on the road. [An ounce of prevention . . . . . . .]
Post-trip meeting(s) will be in early August