Week 1 | January 27
INTRODUCTION TO WILDLIFE ECOLOGY
We’ll dive right in, looking at stories from the field of wildlife ecology. We’ll then shift to the specifics, looking at the furry world of mammals, with a focus on the basics, how do you even tell one animal from another?
Lecture: Intro to Wildlife Ecology
Week 2 | February 3
HOW TO DETECT AND MONITOR ANIMALS
Many mammals are nocturnal and difficult to detect. We’ll look today at different methods of detect animals in a landscape and various techniques used to monitor animals.
Read for today: NH Ch 1, Life in the Cold Ch 4 (pdf), and either Rezendes (link) or Elbroch (link)
Lecture: Detecting + monitoring animals and Taxonomy
Week 3 | February 10
Wildlife in Winter
This week, we’ll focus in on the specific adaptations that animals have for coping with life in the harsh winters of the far north. We’ll head to Centennial Woods for some tracking and to set up the game cameras (map)
Read for today: NH Ch 2, Winter an ecological handbook Ch 3 (pdf)
Due today: Reading Science
Lecture: Tracking Wildlife in Winter
Week 4 | February 17
Understanding an animal’s life history is critical to understanding how to manage that species. But understanding how to understand life histories is just as critical. You’ll be presenting on your fish species this week.
Read for today: Ecology Ch 7: Life Histories (pdf)
Lecture: Life Histories
Week 5 | February 24
CROW SAFARI + MARCH MAMMAL MADNESS
This week is a slightly strange week. We’ll meet at CCV’s parking lot (map) at 4pm and go on a safari in search of the Burlington roost. I understand that not everyone will be able to make it, but do your best. Also, March Mammal Madness is coming up. Be sure to fill out your bracket and bring it in next week.
Handouts: March Mammal Madness brackets
Watch for today: Crows: Smarter than you think
Week 6 | March 2
MAMMAL PRESENTATIONS + SKULLS
Each student will present very briefly (3-4 minutes max) on the mammal that you chose for your species profile. We’ll then look at the morphology of skulls.
Read for today: Searfoss (pdf)
Handouts: Skulls Lab
Week 7 | March 9
SYMBIOSES + BIRD LANGUAGE
Over deep, evolutionary time, animals have forged complex relationships with virtually every other type of species. We’ll look at some broad scale interactions between organisms. Key topics will include symbioses & keystone species. To highlight the ways in which species interact, we’ll head out into Casavant to listen to bird language.
Read for today: NH Ch 9
Lecture: Bird Language
Some optional audio for today: Listen to Jon Young’s Bird Language
- Album 1: Track 1, Track 2, Track 3, Track 4, Track 5, Track 6, Track 7, Track 8
- Album 2: Track 1, Track 2, Track 3, Track 4, Track 5, Track 6
- Album 6: Track 1, Track 2, Track 3, Track 4, Track 5, Track 6
- Jon Young lecture on bird language (link)
- Bird Language videos by Living Web Farms (link)
- More bird language videos (link)
Week 8 | March 16
INTERACTIONS: EATING PLANTS, EATING ANIMALS
All organisms need to eat. And an animal’s form and function are directly influenced by both what it eats and what eats it. We’ll look at methods of food acquisition and predator avoidance.
Read for today: NH Ch 3, Ever Since Darwin Ch 12 (pdf)
Lecture: Eating plants, Eating animals
Week 9 | March 23
INTERACTIONS: PLANT – ANIMAL COEVOLUTION
Eat or be eaten might be one maxim for the animal world, but for plants its an altogether different story. Rooted in place, they find a delicate balance of fending off hungry herbivores and attracting potential pollinators.
Read for today: NH Ch 6, Colinvaux Ch 13 (pdf)
Week 10 | March 30
INTERACTIONS: PARASITES + INVASIVES
A whole day dedicated to the cringe worthy and maligned. Both parasites and invasives have a negative impact on many populations. We’ll look at a few parasite life histories and some methods for controlling them and then shift to thinking about the role that invasives have in (re)shaping ecosystems.
Read for today: “The Profession of a Parasite” in The Art of Being a Parasite (pdf), “The Sixth Extinction” in The Sixth Extinction Ch 1 (pdf)
Lecture: Parasites + Invasives
Due today: Symbiosis paper
Week 11 | April 6
REPRODUCTION + AMPHIBIANS
In honor of Big Night, we’ll talk about phenology, reproduction, and amphibian migration. Weather dependent, optional field trip to Shelburne Pond sometime around this date for amphibian migration (map).
Read for today: NH Ch 4 + 5, “The Frog Run” in The Begining Naturalist (pdf)
Lecture: Reproduction + Amphibians
Week 12 | April 13
We’ve mucked up a lot of Vermont’s ecosystems, but we’ve also done a lot to remedy the situation. We’ll look at various conservation strategies and management plans, both successful and unsuccessful.
Read for today: Killing animals that don’t fit in (PDF)
Due today: Invasive Spotlight
Week 13 | April 20
FIELD TRIP: ED WEED FISH CULTURE STATION
Fish culture is somewhat of a Rube Goldberg machine. We’ll head up to the islands (map) to meet the people who raise the fish and see the process in action.
Read for today: Ever Since Darwin Ch 12 (pdf)
Week 14 | April 27
HUMANS: EXTINCTION + INVASIVE SPECIES
Our guest today is Jamie Smith, a conservationist and hunter. He’ll share stories from the field and talk about the intersection between hunting and conservation.
Read for today: Killing animals that don’t fit in (PDF)
Due today: Field Notebook
Week 15 | April 30
HUMANS: CONSERVATION + LAWS
All is not lost. The tireless work of conservationists has beaten back the tide of invasives, mitigating the devastation wrought by habitat loss, and brought species back from the brink of extinction. We’ll highlight some cool projects and some of the critical laws that protect threatened species.
Read for today: Read through the Revive & Restore website, with special attention to the Woolly Mammoth section
Due Friday @ Noon: Conservation Paper