Fall Term, 3 Credits

The science of ecology is the study of how organisms interact with the biological and physical world in which they live. Studied at the levels of molecules to the Earth’s ecosphere, ecology is a relatively new, integrative discipline of science that links the processes of the physical and biological world and bridges the natural sciences with the social sciences. Using evolutionary theory as its basis, this course will consist of lectures and related readings that will cover topics spanning multiple levels of organization within the science of ecology. This course will provide undergraduate students with a fundamental understanding of the major theories and concepts of modern ecology, and how they apply to the natural world and to contemporary issues involving humankind.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR (Lecture: ENVS 364/564; Lab: ENVS 365/565)
Spring Term, Lecture: 3 Credits, Lab: 2 Credits

This lecture course takes an evolutionary approach to understanding both the proximate causes (genetic, developmental, and physiological) and the ultimate causes (evolutionary history) of the behavior of animals.  Topics covered include communication, adaptation, habitat selection, feeding ecology, predation, predator avoidance and survival strategies, reproduction, mating systems, parental care, and social behavior.

The animal behavior laboratory involves an observational study of a group of animals at the Philadelphia Zoo.  Each student selects an animal group, describes the individuals, builds an ethogram and designs a check sheet to record behavior and then completes at least 15 hrs of quantified observations.  The results are analyzed and discussed, conclusions are drawn and the study is presented to the class and written up in appropriate journal-article style.  Animals frequently studied include gorillas, orangutans, spectacled langurs, Douc langurs, black and white colobus monkeys, saki monkeys, golden lion tamarins, cheetahs, tigers, giant river otters, and penguins.