University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Field Herpetology

EEB 3266: Field Herpetology
May Term, 2017
May 8th – May 26th
Monday through Friday, 9:00am – 12:00pm in TLS 179
Depending on weather conditions some classes will be held at night 7:00pm – 10:00pm instead, allowing us to observe nocturnal amphibians.
Official Syllabus

Field Photo Gallery!
Frog Call MP3 Files
Final Exam Guide


Course Schedule

Date Lecture Tentative Field Agenda Additional Materials
May 8 Lecture 1 – Introduction, Syllabus, Field Notebooks, IACUC Training UConn Forest Fenton Tract, Red and Green Trails

– UConn Forest Map (New)
– UConn Forest Map (Old)

-Pough, Chapter 1

– Miller 1942, Field Notebook Guidelines (pg. 4-5 most important)

May 9 Lecture 2 – Salamanders of Connecticut UConn Forest Fenton Tract, Fenton River and Fenton River Meadow – Pough, Chapter 2
– Pough, Chapter 3
– Some reference research questions
May 10 RESEARCH QUESTIONS DUE (9 am)
Lecture 3 – Frogs and Turtles of Connecticut
Hillside Environmental Education Park (HEEP)

HEEP Trail Map

– Pough, Chapter 2
– Pough, Chapter 3
– Pough, Chapter 4
May 11 HYPOTHESES DUE (9 am)
Lecture 4 – Squamates of Connecticut
Mansfield Hollow

Mansfield Hollow Map

 – Pough, Chapter 4
May 12 FIELD NOTEBOOKS DUE (9 am)
RESEARCH PROPOSAL DUE (5 pm)
Lecture 5 – Habitats and Field Techniques
Albert E. Moss Sanctuary

Moss Sanctuary Map

 

 – Bennet, Expedition Field Techniques for Reptiles and Amphibians 
May 15 Lecture 6 – Physiology UConn Forest North Eagleville Tract, Bonemill Pond – Pough, Chapter 6
– Pough, Chapter 7
May 16 DRAFT INTRODUCTION DUE (9 am)
Field Research Day
NIGHT TRIP

UConn Forest Fenton Tract, Fenton River and Fenton River Meadow

May 17 DRAFT METHODS DUE (9 am)
Lecture 7 – Locomotion
UConn Forest Moss Tract (“the Dusky site”)

UConn Forest Moss Tract

 – Pough, Chapter 10
May 18 Field Research Day Bigelow Hollow

Bigelow Hollow Map

May 19 FIELD NOTEBOOKS DUE (9 am)
DRAFT RESULTS DUE (5 pm)
Lecture 8 – Feeding
Sawmill Brook Preserve

Sawmill Brook Map

– Pough, Chapter 11
May 22 Lecture 9 – Behavior and Reproduction  TBD – Pough, Chapter 8
– Pough, Chapter 9
– Pough, Chapter 13
– Pough, Chapter 14
May 23 DRAFT DISCUSSION DUE (9 am)
Field Research Day
TBD
May 24 Lecture 10 – Conservation TBD – Pough, Chapter 17
May 25 FINAL EXAM Optional Field Excursion TBD
May 26 FIELD NOTEBOOKS DUE
PAPERS DUE
PRESENTATIONS

About the Instructor

Andrew Frank
Email: andrew.frank@uconn.edu
Office: Biology/Pharmacy 322
Phone: (845) 728-6551
Office hours: by appointment, often right after class.


Course Description and Objectives

Course Description

Herpetology is the scientific study of the amphibians and reptiles. In this course, we will examine the diversity of both groups, and learn about their basic biology. Students will learn about the diversity, ecology, physiology, behavior, adaptation and identification of the local herpetofauna through direct field experience. There will be various opportunities to observe these animals in the field during the day and at night, through which students will become familiar with standard methods for surveying for and handling these species. Students will apply this knowledge by developing and carrying out a short independent research project.

Course Objectives

After completing this course the student will be able to:

  • Identify Connecticut’s amphibians and reptiles by sight, and in the case of frogs by sound as well.
  • Describe the biology of local herpetofaunal species and their corresponding families
  • Effectively use standard field techniques and methods for studying herpetofauna
  • Apply with proficiency the scientific method to assess questions and design and carry out a project pertaining to herpetofaunal biology.

Assignments

Project

Students will formulate and carry out an instructor-approved group research project using local Connecticut herpetofauna. Students are expected to identify a research question, develop a hypothesis, and test this hypothesis using field methods learned in class.

  • As the semester progresses, students will independently prepare small assignments and drafts designed to guide students when preparing to write their full research report. Guidelines for these assignments will be detailed during lecture.
  • At the end of the semester, students will independently prepare a final report about their research project (5-7 pages, double spaced, 12 pt Times New Roman font, 1 inch margins), including relevant background information, the materials and methods used, results of the experiment, results of any data analysis performed, and a discussion of the results.
  • At the end of the semester, students will prepare a 15-minute presentation about their project, and present on the final day of class.
  • Students may work on the project independently, or with a partner. NOTE: Student who choose to work with a partner are required to submit separate and original project drafts and final reports, but may give their presentation to the class together.
  • Both the paper and presentation will be graded on content, quality, and clarity.

Final Exam

The final exam will be composed of short-answer questions based on Connecticut herpetofauna identification (both written descriptions and identification of preserved specimens), the natural history of Connecticut herpetofauna, predicting occupancy of particular habitat types, field techniques, and lecture content.

Field Notebooks

Students are expected to keep a formal notebook for observations of Connecticut herpetofauna in the field. Field notebooks will be graded based on format (we will use the Grinnellian field notebook system), completeness, degree of detail in observations, and relevancy of details noted. Notebooks will be collected and graded at the end of each week.


Course Procedures and Policies

Grades

  • Paper on project: 150 pts total
    • Iterative Drafts: 50 pts
      • Proposed research questions
      • Proposed hypotheses
      • Full research proposal
      • Drafts of: introduction, methods, results, and discussion
    • Final Paper: 100 pts
  • Presentation on project: 50 pts
  • Final: 100 pts
  • Field notebook entries: 75 pts
  • Participation: 25 pts
  • TOTAL: 400 pts

Attendance

Due to the accelerated and intensive nature of this summer course (3 hours, 5 days a week, 3 weeks), full attendance is expected, barring any illnesses or emergency. Missing a single class is roughly the equivalent of missing an entire week of a course during a standard semester, so it’s very important that you attend every class.

Academic Integrity

Plagiarism and cheating are violations of the student conduct code, and may be punished by failure in the course or, in severe cases, dismissal from the University. For more information, see Appendix A of the Student Conduct Code.

Disabilities

If you have a disability for which you may be requesting an accommodation, you should contact the course instructor and the Center for Students with Disabilities (Wilbur Cross Building, Room 201) on the first day of the semester.


Course Materials

Required

  • A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America 4th edition; R. Conant and J. Collins ISBN-10: 0395904528
  • Field Notebook – Bound field notebook (composition book is fine and cheap, or the “Rite in the Rain” notebooks)
  • Clothes you are willing to ruin

Recommended

  • Herpetology, 4th Edition; Pough, Andrews, Crump, Savitzsky, Wells, and Brandley ISBN-10: 1605352330
  • Boots
  • Waders (Will be provided if you don’t have any)
  • Headlamp (Will be provided if you don’t have one)
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Electronics dry bag

Previous Courses

 

 

The toughest bunch of herpetologists in town.

Life during Field Herpetology.

Another year goes by where everyone but Andrew finds a Glyptemys insculpta at the Fenton. Props to Gabrielle for this solo find!

Despite the chill in the air, this Hemidactylum scutatum (and Lauren, I guess) remain in good spirits

Robin with a stubby-tailed Eurycea bislineata.

Daniel decided to copy Robin and find a Eurycea bislineata of his own.

You can tell by his smile that Christopher is carrying a tiny Pseudacris crucifer.