Animals in EEB

Overview

Courses related to animals in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

For more information about a course, click on the title to expand the description or peruse through the full listing of EEB courses. To learn about the required courses for a major in EEB, please visit the Biological Sciences advising page.

EEB 2202: Evolution & Human Diversity

Discover the biological bases of human diversity from genetic, evolutionary and cultural perspectives. We explore topics such as why some people can't drink milk, the genetic control and natural selection of human skin pigmentation, whether natural selection is still operating in humans, and why Genghis Khan may have 16 million descendants. We also address one of the greatest puzzles in social evolution: how did humans evolve our remarkable capacity to cooperate, first, in small foraging groups, and more recently in large-scale societies, such as modern nation-states?

Instructor(s): Schlichting and Turchin

Typically offered: Spring

Credits: 3

Format: Lecture

Grading: Two “midterms” 1/3 and 2/3 through the course and a final that combines Exam 3 (last third) with a comprehensive final. Two assignments: one on the genetic, and one on cultural half of the course. Points for participation at lectures via clickers.

EEB 2214: Biology of the Vertebrates

Explore the evolutionary history and diversity of vertebrates with an emphasis on classification, fossil history, feeding, locomotion, physiological ecology, reproduction, defense, and social behavior. We begin with a journey through the evolution of the fishes, traverse through the dinosaurs and their relatives, then turn our attention to the amphibians and reptiles. These are followed by an examination of the the evolution, structure, and behavior of the birds. We wrap up the semester with an indepth look at the mammals with a focus on their ecology as it relates to feeding, reproduction and social behavior.

Instructor(s): Davis and Herrick

Typically offered: Fall

Credits: 3

Format: Lecture

Grading: Grading is based on a midterm, an endterm and a final exam. Weekly activities in class as well as short self-assessments are also provided.

EEB 3201: Animal Behavior

From the foraging habits of the dung beetle to the complex social system of African lions, Animal Behavior is a fascinating field of study. This course explores the ecological, evolutionary, and mechanistic basis of Animal Behavior, from broad patterns to bizarre oddities. Examples of topics include fighting and territoriality, mate choice and competition, sociality, altruism, parental care, mating systems, communication, and cooperation. Although the course is primarily lecture-based, we also use non-traditional learning activities, such as designing group research projects and presentations, reading relevant journal articles then video-chatting with the authors, and applying the scientific method.

Instructor(s): Knutie

Typically offered: Fall Spring

Credits: 3

Format:

Grading: The course is assessed with three midterm and one final exam, a group project and presentation, three assignments, and class participation.

EEB 3254: Mammalogy

Mammals evolved during the time of the dinosaurs and have come to occupy every continent and almost every imaginable habitat, from equatorial rain forests, wind-swept deserts, and polar ice flows to the abyssal depths of the world’s oceans. They include some of the smallest vertebrates ever to live, as well as the largest, the fastest runners, and most voracious predators. And they include ourselves. How did this astonishing diversity evolve? In this course we examine the origin and fossil history of mammals, their structure and function, taxonomy and phylogeny, diversity, behavior and ecology. Through an understanding of mammals, students will come to learn general principles of organismal evolution and ecology.

Instructor(s): Davis and Schwenk

Typically offered: Fall alternate years, odd

Credits: 4

Format: 3 h lecture, 3-4 h lab

Grading: Lecture exams; lab practicals and quizzes; and a field project.

EEB 3264: Field Parasitology

Introduction to local parasites, their evolution, identification, and common methods used for collection and preservation. Adaptations and evolutionary trends seen in various parasitic groups and how they affect their hosts. Laboratories, collection outings, and field trips required.

Instructor(s): TBD

Typically offered: Summer

Credits: 3

Format: Lecture, Laboratory, daily field trips

Grading:

EEB 3265: Herpetology

This lab-intensive course applies a broad approach to the study of amphibians and reptiles. The first half of the course addresses the evolution, feeding, morphology, social behavior, larval ecology, water relations, thermoregulation, and systematics of amphibians. The second half considers the systematics, morphology, biomechanics, feeding, physiology, sensory biology, and behavior of reptiles. The laboratory is a very hands-on and time-intensive exploration of the systematics, distribution, habitat, and identification of amphibians and reptiles around the world with a focus on Connecticut species. Students will also participate in several field trips during which we will observe these animals in their natural habitats.

Instructor(s): Schwenk and Herrick

Typically offered: Spring alternate years, odd

Credits: 4

Format: 2 hr Lecture and 4 hr Lab

Grading: Grading is based on a midterm, and endterm, two lab practicals, and a final exam.

EEB 3266: Field Herpetology

Field-intensive study of diversity, ecology, physiology, behavior, adaptation and identification of the amphibians and reptiles of the region; herpetofaunal research methods. Field trips required.

Instructor(s): TBD

Typically offered: Summer

Credits: 3

Format: Lecture, Laboratory, daily field trips

Grading:

EEB 3267: Field Animal Behavior

Introduction to animal behavior, focusing on observational methods, collecting techniques, and analysis of behavioral data. Topics include foraging theory, territoriality, navigation, social behavior, communication, mating systems and sexual selection. Field trips required.

Instructor(s): TBD

Typically offered: Summer

Credits: 3

Format: Lecture, Laboratory, daily field trips

Grading:

EEB 3269: Social Insects

This course uses the study of social insects -- especially ants, bees, wasps, and termites -- to advance understanding of deep principles in evolution, behavior, and ecology. Social insects are renowned for forming highly integrated societies that are based on cooperation and altruism, for extraordinary individual and collective behaviors, and for their immense ecological impacts. Students will learn how comparative approaches, quantitative tests of theory, and elegant experiments on insect societies have been used to resolve controversial issues. Examples: Do honey bees have a dance language? Does altruism evolve by kin selection? What is the genetic and physiological basis of social behavior? What are the causes of colony collapse disorder?

Instructor(s): Adams

Typically offered: Spring alternate years, even

Credits: 3

Format: 3 hours of lecture

Grading: Grading is based on two exams during the semester, a final exam, two short papers, participation through clickers, and other short exercises.

EEB 3273: Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy

Inside your body are the physical remnants of distant ancestors—a fish gill in your throat, the jaws of a reptile in your ear, and the braincase of a shark in your skull (to name just a few). Other mysteries abound: the nerve that supplies the diaphragm below your ribs travels all the way from the neck; lower back pain afflicts 80% of adults. None of these things make sense except in light of evolution and the transformation of vertebrate form and function through time. This course teaches the fundamentals of anatomy while also tracing the evolution and diversity of vertebrate bodies, their adaptations, functions and biomechanics. In the lab you will experience anatomy directly through dissection, live animal demonstrations, and our extensive collection of bones and skulls.

Instructor(s): Schwenk

Typically offered: Fall alternate years, even

Credits: 4

Format: 3 h lecture, 3 h lab

Grading: Lecture exams; lab practicals and quizzes

EEB 3895-003: Medical Parasitology

The course is focused on the biology of the parasites responsible for human diseases. It aims to provide: an overview of the major parasite taxa infecting humans globally, an appreciation of the diversity of life-cycles, portals of entry, sites infected, modes of reproduction these parasites employ, and a basic understanding of the pathology associated with, and diagnosis of, infection with each major parasite group.

Instructor(s): Caira

Typically offered: Fall

Credits: 3

Format: 3 h lecture

Grading: Exams, in-class activities.

EEB 4120: Paleobiology

In this course, we learn about the ancient Earth and the organisms that inhabited it. The lectures cover two general areas: 1) concepts and methods in paleobiology, and 2) the chronology of life’s history as documented in the fossil record. We discuss all types of organisms, although the focus is on animals, and to a lesser extent plants. In lab, students learn to identify and interpret major groups of fossils using (mostly) real fossil specimens.

Instructor(s): Bush

Typically offered: Spring alternate years, even

Credits: 4

Format: 3 credits of lecture, 1 credit of lab, 1 field trip (weather permitting)

Grading: Grading is based on 2 midterm exams, the final exam, and the lab assignments

EEB 4200: Biology of Fishes

An introduction to the biology of fishes, with an emphasis on adaptation and evolutionary diversification. Topics include the evolution of major groups, morphology, physiology, behavior, and population and community ecology. Lectures, critical discussions of current journal articles, student presentations, and exercises in the field and laboratory. Field trips required.

Instructor(s): Schultz

Typically offered: Spring alternate years, odd

Credits: 4

Format: 3 one hour lectures and one 3 h lab per week

Grading: Grades are based on exams, short written assignments, lab practical exams, and student presentations

EEB 4215: Physiological Ecology of Animals

Physiology of animals in an evolutionary context: how individuals cope and how species adapt to natural environments. Topics include energy budgets, temperature regulation, energetics of locomotion, respiration, feeding and diet. Lectures, student-led presentations, and critical discussions of current journal articles.

Instructor(s): Schultz

Typically offered: Spring alternate years, even

Credits: 3

Format: 3 one hour lectures

Grading: Grades are based on exams, short written assignments and student presentations

EEB 4250: General Entomology

More than half of all animals on the planet are insects—and still only about 25% have been named. Insects tether together the world’s terrestrial and freshwater food webs. They pollinate our crops and more than three-quarters of the world’s flowering plants. You will descend into a universe of extraordinary diversity, beauty, boundless anatomical variety, change, and discovery. Lectures treat all aspects of entomological science: basic morphology and physiology, development, behavior, ecology, and aspects of applied entomology. The lab emphasizes sight identification of the common families and their life histories. In case 7 million species is not enough for you, you will also leave the course knowing more about spiders and other terrestrial arthropods than most biologists.

Instructor(s): Garcia-Robledo or Wagner

Typically offered: Fall

Credits: 4

Format: 2 lectures and an 2 afternoon labs each week

Grading:

EEB 4252: Field Entomology

Collection, identification, and ecology of insects. Includes extensive field trips.

Instructor(s): TBD

Typically offered: Summer

Credits: variable

Format: Lecture, Laboratory, daily field trips

Grading:

EEB 4260: Ornithology

Birds are the most numerous, most visible, and arguably most influential land animals on earth. Birds have provided humans with food, clothing, decoration, pets, pest control and design inspiration since the beginning of recorded history, and have been critical test subjects for the most important ideas in science. This lecture course explores how the unique biology of birds evolved, and resulted in the enormous diversity of bird form and function we see today. (Taken withEEB 4261, fulfills the Animal Diversity requirement forEEB majors)

Instructor(s): Rubega

Typically offered: Spring

Credits: 2

Format: Lecture

Grading:

EEB 4261: Ornithology Laboratory

This course builds on the background knowledge gained inEEB 4260 (a prerequisite, or required concomitantly) to help students gain skills in the professional study of birds. Students will put avian evolution and diversity in context by learning bird anatomy through hands-on dissection of wild bird specimens, and the skills (bird identification by sight and sound; bird survey technique; methods for quantifying behavior) needed to study birds directly. Most 4 hour lab sessions are spent outside, in all kinds of weather -- this is a course for students who think the worst day outdoors is better than the best day in a classroom. (Taken withEEB 4260, fulfills the Animal Diversity requirement forEEB majors)

Instructor(s): Rubega

Typically offered: Spring

Credits: 2

Format: Lab, weekly field trips

Grading:

EEB 4262: Field Methods in Ornithology

Careers with state, federal or non-profit organizations as a bird biologist requires skills in the design and practice of bird surveys, behavioral observation, and identification of birds by sight and sound. This intensive summer course will immerse students in the practice of avian field biology through daily field trips and an independent project.

Instructor(s): TBD

Typically offered: Summer

Credits: 3

Format: Lecture, Laboratory, daily field trips

Grading:EEB

EEB 4274: Intro to Animal Parasitology

This is an introductory course of the survey type. Coverage includes the diversity of protozoan and metazoan groups that include species that parasitize animals. Some emphasis is placed on groups of particular veterinary and/or economic importance. Lectures and labs emphasize knowledge of the biology of individual parasites. Basic principles of parasitism and parasite ecology are introduced in the context of groups of parasites that exemplify these principles particularly well.

Instructor(s): Caira

Typically offered: Fall alternate years, odd

Credits: 4

Format: 3 h lecture, 3 h lab

Grading: Exams, lab practicals, quizzes, and lab notebook.

EEB 4275: Invertebrate Zoology

This course provides an overview of the non-vertebrate animals. It emphasizes comparative study of form and function, and the complexity, diversity, and phylogenetic relationships of invertebrates.

Instructor(s): Caira

Typically offered: Fall alternate years, even

Credits: 4

Format: 3 h lecture, 3 h lab

Grading: Exams, unknown specimen challenges, lab practicals, and quizzes.

Undergraduate Research

EEB faculty offer opportunities for undergraduate students to work on research during the summer or academic year. Students can participate in lab and field work on projects ranging from the effects of forest fragmentation on trophic interactions, to cicada microbiomes, to bird parasites. Each year, the department hosts an undergraduate research symposium for EEB students, from which several students are selected to present at the Biology Undergraduate Research Symposium. To get involved in research in EEB, read through faculty profiles and websites and contact a faculty member whose research interests you.

Many faculty also mentor independent projects led by students, especially for students applying for funding to conduct research through the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR). Examples of recent undergraduate research projects in the EEB department funded by OUR include:

  • The Impact of Distance from a Stream on Color Morph Distributions of Plethodon cinereus, the Eastern Red-Backed Salamander
  • The Effect of Forest Fragmentation on Interactions between Insect Herbivores and their Parasitoids
  • Structural Modifications to Tidal Marsh Bird Eggs to Reduce Incubation Periods
  • Differences in Feather Number and Feather Wear Cause Seasonal Variation in the Insulation of House Sparrows (Passer domesticus)
  • Effect of Gut Microbiota on Developmental Immunity and Parasite Load in Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor)
  • Increasing Levels of Carbon Dioxide in Freshwater may Mediate the Predation of the Keystone Species Daphnia magna
  • Symbiont Replacement by Pathogenic Fungus in North American Dog-Day Cicadas
  • Effect of Temperature on the Avian Immune Response to Parasitic Nest Flies
  • Macro- and Microevolution of Salinity-Specific Ionocyte Morphologies in Euryhaline Fishes
  • Effects of Soil Conditions and Forest Composition on Morph Frequencies in a Woodland Salamander, Plethodon cinereus
  • Connecticut Climate Change: A Historical View through Avian Migration Phenology