Natural History of Vertebrates Lab (ZO 557)
Spring 2018

instructor: Dwight Moore, Ph.D.
office - Science Hall 144
phone - 620-341-5611
email -    (put "vertebrates" in the subject line)

office hours:    Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 11:00 - 12:00, Thursday 9:00 - 11:00, and by appointment. In addition, if I am in my office and not already talking to another person, feel free to stop in.    my schedule

text: There is no required text, however any of a number of field guides would be useful (for example, the Kansas series or the Peterson field guide series). I will give you a notebook for recording field notes. You will need to purchase a permanent ink pen (uniball deluxe, fine, black).

section: ZO 557, MWF 9:00 - 9:50, Science Hall 46

I. course description:

Natural History of Vertebrates Lab is a course designed for biology majors. The objective of the course is to provide an in-depth study of the vertebrates. The lab will supplement the lecture course and focus on the habitat requirements, collection, and identification of vertebrates in Kansas.

Even though the lecture course (ZO 556) is a separate course from lab (ZO 557), both courses support each other. You can not take one course without the other, that is you must be concurrently enrolled in both courses. If you fail either course, you must repeat both courses.

II. pre-requisites:

You must have completed biology of animals and lab (ZO 214/215) and ecology (EB 480) or their equivalents. These courses will give you a basic understanding of animals and their evolution and organization and the basics for understanding the ecology of the vertebrates. Natural History of Vertebrates will then build on this information.

III. course organization:

Material will be presented primarily in the form of field trips, examination of specimens, and lectures. Lectures will introduce the specimens that you will be expected to know. It is up to you to determine the best way to identify the organisms presented in lab. You can not expect to pass Natural History of Vertebrates Lab without intensive study outside of lab (1-2 hours of study for every hour in class). The material presented in the latter part of the course will be based on material presented in the first part of the course, therefore you will have to commit the material to long term memory.

IV. grading:

Your grade will be determined based upon the total points (500 points) earned on examinations and field notes. There is no provision for doing extra or outside work to improve your grade.

A  = 92.0% to 100%
A-  = 89.0% to 91.9%
B+  = 86.0% to 88.9%
B  = 83.0% to 85.9%
B-  = 79.0% to 82.9%
C+  = 76.0% to 78.9%
C  = 70.0% to 75.9%
D  = 60.0% to 69.9%
F < 60.0%

examinations: Five tests are scheduled for the semester (see class schedule). Because of the time involved in setting-up lab exams, the tests will start at 8:00. There will be 25 minutes for the timed portion and then 15 minutes to review your answers. Lecture may start at 9:00 and last until 9:50. Each test is worth 80 points. This yields 400 possible points on the exams. Because of the time involved in setting up lab exams, they can only be made-up in dire circumstances. I decide if the situation was dire enough and I will require documentation. The make up exam will be given at my convenience.

Because of the time involved in setting-up the lab exams, the lab will be closed at 5:30 am the morning of the exam. In addition, the lab may be closed at various times as exams are set-up for other courses also taught in this room. This means that you should make effective use of lab time. SH 46 is available for study from 6:30 am until 10:00 pm Monday through Friday, except when classes are meeting or exams are set up.

field notes/field trips: At different times during the semester, we will go on short field trips during class. These trips will introduce you to methods for collecting vertebrates and for recording observations in the form of field notes. If you miss a in-class field trip there will be an automatic 5-point deduction from your grade and they cannot be made-up. In addition, there will be an optional Saturday field trip to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. All of these field trips must be described in your field notes. All in-class field trips will be announced in class at least one-class day before the field trip. Your grade will be determined based upon the documentation of your activities in the field, locality information, and documentation of the habitat. Your field notes are worth 100 points. Copying your field notes from another student or allowing your field notes to be copied by another student will be considered cheating and will result in a grade of zero for your field notes.

keys: For each class of vertebrates that are studied in lab, you should make a key to the specimens. It is generally better to work with a partner to make the key. The keys will not be graded, however, in the past when students have made keys to the specimens, they have done much better on the practical exams.

V. attendance:

I will sometimes take attendance, even though I will not count lack of attendance against you, except for field trips. However, if you do not come to class, you will be unable to check if your understanding of the material is adequate. You should be committed enough to your education to come to class, otherwise you are just wasting your money.

VI. academic dishonesty:

Plagiarism, which was mentioned above and is described in more detail in the "Instructions for Review Papers in Natural History of Vertebrates" will result in a zero on your review paper. In addition, any student who permits another student to use his/her work will get a zero on the assignment. Finally, any copying or other forms of cheating during a test will result in a zero on that exam. The Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences will be informed of all acts of academic dishonesty and the action taken against the offender. Your name will also be placed on a list maintained by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Be sure to review the Policies on Academic Dishonesty of Emporia State University and the Department of Biological Sciences.

VII. accomodations for disabilities:

Emporia State University will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Students need to contact the Director of Disability Services (211 S Morse Hall, 341-6637) and the professor as early in the semester as possible to ensure that classroom and academic accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion. All communication between students, the Office of Disability Services, and the professor will be strictly confidential.

VIII. home page:

There is a home page for this course on ESU's World Wide Web server. There will be information on the server that will be useful to you during the course. I would strongly encourage you to take advantage of the home page during the course. The URL for the home page is

IX. important and useful information from the registrar.

LAB (ZO 557)

Days that papers are due or that tests will occur.

17 Jan introduction
19 Jan electronic resources
22 Jan taxonomy
24 Jan keys
26 Jan geographic regions of Kansas
29 Jan fish anatomy
31 Jan fish, field notes
2 Feb fish
5 Feb fish
7 Feb fish
9 Feb fish
12 Feb amphibian anatomy
14 Feb practical exam #1
16 Feb amphibians
19 Feb amphibians
21 Feb amphibians
23 Feb amphibians
26 Feb amphibians
28 Feb amphibians
2 Mar practical exam #2
5 Marreptilian anatomy
7 Marreptiles
9 Marreptiles
12 Marreptiles
14 Marreptiles
16 Marreptiles
19 Marno class, spring break
21 Marno class, spring break
23 Marno class, spring break
26 Marreptiles
28 Marbird anatomy
30 Mar practical exam #3
2 Aprbirds
4 Aprbirds
last day for a withdrawal without the permission of the assoc. Vice President
6 Apr birds,
9 Apr birds
11 Apr birds
13 Apr birds
16 Apr birds
18 Apr birds
20 Aprpractical exam #4
23 Aprmammal anatomy
25 Aprmammals
27 Aprmammals
28 AprilSaturday field trip to Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
30 Aprmammals
2 Maymammals
4 Maymammals, final collection of field notes
7 May practical exam #5, Monday, 10:10

Provide comments to Dwight Moore at
Return to the Natural History of Vertebrates Home Page at Emporia State University.