Biology of Mammals
01/27/2005 - 05/05/2005
Thursday 06:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Science Tower 137
Special Schedule: Friday to Tuesday, March 16-20
This course investigates the biology of non-marine mammals and focuses on those inhabiting northeastern North America. We examine the lives of familiar mammals such as bears, coyotes, and moose, as well as the secretive existence of shrews, bats, and mice.
Lectures and discussions focus on questions of ecology, behavior, and conservation, such as: What are the different strategies for surviving winter? How do herbivorous mammals cope with toxic chemicals in plants? Why do mating seasons differ so drastically among mammals that inhabit the same environment? How do the various groups of mammals perceive their world? What is the function of the star-nosed mole's peculiar snout? Why are coyotes in New England larger than those in the West? What factors influence a squirrel's decision to eat an acorn or bury it for later use? How do mammals affect and reflect ecosystem characteristics? What is the current status of the gray wolf and mountain lion (cougar) in New England? Why has the Allegheny woodrat disappeared from the region? What is white-nose syndrome?
The course also includes daily field trips and a practical component in which we identify mammals using external physical characteristics, skeletal material, tracks, and other signs.
Requirements include a field journal, an identification exam, a take-home final exam, and an individual project.
Several field trips (Thursday evening or Sunday morning) provide opportunities for observation of local species and the evidence they leave behind. Field trips may involve long walks and require substantial physical exertion.
Geoffrey Hammerson (B.S. University of California, Berkeley; Ph.D. University of Colorado, Boulder) is a research zoologist at NatureServe and is author of more than 70 reports and publications, most recently, The conservation status of the world's reptiles (Biological Conservation, 2013, with M. Bohm et al.) and Rapid assessment of plant and animal vulnerability to climate change (in Wildlife Conservation in a Changing Climate (University of Chicago Press, 2012, with Young et al.) Click here to read an article about Geoff and his GLS courses.
Consent of Instructor Required: No
|Level: GLSP||Credits: 3||Enrollment Limit: 18|
Texts to purchase for this course:
Mark Elbroch, MAMMAL TRACKS AND SIGN: A GUIDE TO NORTH AMERICAN SPECIES (Stackpole Books), Paperbck
John Whitaker, MAMMALS OF THE EASTERN UNITED STATES (Cornell University Press), Hardcover
READING MATERIALS AVAILABLE AT BROAD STREET BOOKS, 45 BROAD STREET, MIDDLETOWN, 860-685-7323
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