BIOL 322 2014

group_pictureExperimental Field Ecology (BIOL 322) Summer 2014 

Course Description:

This course is designed to give participants experience in the design and execution of ecological field experiments, and to enhance awareness and appreciation of the natural history and ecosystem dynamics of the eastern sierra nevada.  Fieldwork will be performed during four weekend trips to the whittell forest and wildlife area (“Little Valley”) located in the carson range 25 miles south of reno. There will also be seven evening meetings on campus for discussion of relevant topics and presentation of students’ research results. Specialists in several related fields (e.g., ornithology, forest management, bear biology) will give guest lectures at weekend campfires.  Upon completion of this course you will have the tools to: (1) create an experimental design for the lab and/or field, (2) successfully execute experiments, (3) analyze experimental data, synthesize and interpret the results in a scientifically meaningful context, and (4) present and evaluate alternative approaches to field ecology research    


Instructor Information:

Instructors:    Jacob Dittel and Nick Pardikes                                                             Offices:    Fleishman Agriculture (FA) 300(JD), 145 (NP)

Email Addresses:    jdittel(at)unr.edu, nickpardikes(at)unr.edu                         Office Hours:    By appointment


Course Schedule:

***Week 1***

21 May Lecture: Introduction to the course (syllabus), Little Valley (website), keeping a field notebook.

Assigned: Paper critique due in class 28 May (Template, ExampleCritique, Paper 1,GMGS Paper 2, Paper 3), read Little Valley website (video)

Due: Nothing

23 to 25 May weekend: No fieldwork (Memorial Weekend)

***Week 2***

28 May Lecture: Paper critique discussion, designing successful experiment, experimental analysis design, camping preparation (Checklist)

Assigned: Prepare for camping

Due: Paper critique in class

31 May to 01 June weekend: Natural history of Little Valley

Guests: TBD

Assigned: Have fun, learn, begin plant press, begin field notebook

***Week 3***

04 June Lecture: Data analysis, statistical computing (handout)

Assigned: prepare for camping, pre-proposal due Friday morning 06 June (template), final proposal due in class 12 June (template)LV_Sunset

Due: In-class statistics workshop assignment (if enough time)

07 to 08 June weekend: Long-term ecological research, data collection

Assignment: Have fun, collect data, continue plant press, continue field notebook

Guests: Dr. Steve Vander Wall, UNR

Due: Pre-proposal due Friday morning 07 June

***Week 4***

11 June Lecture: LTER data analysis, plant press and labels

Assigned: In-class statistics workshop assignment (assignment handout, data: cover.xlsx)

Due: Final proposal in class, in-class statistics workshop assignment in class, plant press

13 to 15 June weekend: group research project experimental design setup, data collection, continue field notebook

***Week 5***

18 June Lecture: Group project data analysisLV_Flower

Assigned: Data analysis (R quickhelp), potential project refinement, group presentation, final research paper (template)

Due: Nothing

2o to 22 June Weekend: Group research project data collection, finish field notebook

Guest: Carl Lackey, NDOW (21 June)

***Week 6***

25 June Lecture: Final group research project presentations (Chris Moore’s presentation laws, Will Ratcliff’s take)

Due: Group research project presentation, final research paper (27 June), Field Notebook (27 June)

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