BI 360: Animal Behavior


Frequently Asked Questions about BI 360:
What is the textbook?
How can I find out my grade?
What do I need to do to pass this course?
What's the course project?
How can I get help if I need it?
What if I miss a class?
What is the schedule?

What is the textbook?

The text for this term is Breed, M.D., & Moore, J. (2012). Animal Behavior, MA: Academic Press, ISBN 978-0-12-372581. We will also be reading some papers about animal behavior that will be provided for download via Moodle.

How can I find out my grade?

Your grade is calculated based on the percentage of points you've earned out of the total possible. You can keep up with both the number of points you have earned, and the number of possible points by adding together your assignments as you receive them back or by visiting the grade update site. You can check your grades through Moodle, or you can come to office hours to check on your grade.

What do I need to do to pass this course?

First, you need to be aware of the Course Learning Outcomes. These are the expectations that you must meet to earn a passing grade.

BI 360 explores both the evolutionary foundations of animal behavior, and the underlying physiological mechanisms that influence behavior patterns. Students successfully completing BI 360 will:
1) Demonstrate understanding of proximate and ultimate causation of animal behaviors
2) Demonstrate ability to describe, measure, and evaluate animal behaviors
3) Develop and carry out a small-scale investigation of animal behavior
4) Succesfully read, analyze, and discuss primary literature regarding animal behavior

Your grade includes:
3 Course Quizzes and 1 Final Quiz on class content.
Regular Lab Activities (including one field trip) and an Independent Lab Project
Paper Discussions

As this course focuses on the behavior of animals, we will be working with live animals regularly. All students are expected to uphold National IACUC standards in caring for and working with live animals. Students who engage in inappropriate, abusive, or neglectful treatment of animals will earn a failing grade.

You will want to make sure you prepare yourself to demonstrate your mastery of our learning outcomes by visiting the course Moodle site on a regular basis, downloading (and using) the available resources and completing assignments, reading the assigned text (before class), and studying. Approximate 15% of your grade is completion of your independent project, so you will want to keep up with that! There is a definite correlation between attendance rate and course performance, not to mention that if you miss class, you will miss activities along with important discussion, so regularly attending class is essential!

What's this independent project?

You will develop a small-scale study of invertebrate animal behavior. You will need to prepare a literature review and project proposal and complete an IACUC plan. You will be responsible for collecting and managing data for your study and will compile a brief writeup of your study to be submitted at the end of the term.

How can I get help if I need it?

If you are feeling challenged by material, or you'd like to discuss your project, visit office hours. These are posted on my home page and are on your syllabus. I strongly recommend you see me as early as possible if you feel you are struggling.

I wasn't in class- Did I miss anything?

Yup. We've got something going on every day and that doesn't stop if you're not here. You must complete all quizzes and classwork during the scheduled time. Acceptable excuses for missing a class are official school events and physician-documented illness. If you know you will miss a class due to an official school activity, you must contact me as far in advance as possible to arrange make-up work. In the event of illness, please contact me as soon as you are able to arrange for make-up work and be prepared to provide documentation of your illness. All make-up work must be submitted within one week of the missed quiz, exam or assignment. In the event of a prolonged illness, please contact the Vice-President for Student affairs for assistance with verification and notification of your professors. Computer/Technology problems do not constitute an excuse for late work; plan ahead and don’t procrastinate so you can contact the Technology Resource Center for assistance in a timely fashion if an issue arises.

What is the schedule for this term?

Week Topics Reading Assignments Lab Activities
Week 1 Foundations of Behavior, Neurobiology Breed Ch. 1, 2.1-2.2 Invert Stimulus Response
Week 2 Endocrinology, Sensory Biology, Behavioral Genetics Breed Ch. 2.3-2.3, 3.1-3.4 Measurement: Ethograms & Activity Budgets
Week 3 Motivation & Time Budgets Communication papers
Breed Ch. 4
NO LAB MLK Holiday
Week 4 (QUIZ 1)
Breed Ch. 7 Paper Discussion
Independent Project- Library Research
Week 5 Foraging, Defense Breed Ch. 9, 10 Signalling
Week 6 Reproductive Behavior
(QUIZ 2)
Breed Ch. 11 Prey choice & optimal foraging
Week 7 Familial Behavior, Territoriality Egg cannibalism papers
Breed Ch. 12

Paper Discussion
Albatross nest investigation

Week 8 Learning & Cognition Breed Ch. 5, 6 Independent project
Week 9 (QUIZ 3)
Movement & Migration
Bee cognition papers
Breed Ch. 8
Independent project
Week 10 Social Behavior Breed Ch. 13, 14 Independent project
Finals Week Final Exam  

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