In this class we will explore behavioral phenomena within the animal kingdom and related environmental issues. The purpose of this is to learn about these behaviors, why they exist evolutionarily, and explore interesting examples seen in nature. We will highlight unique behaviors and adaptations exhibited by animals, as well as the basic anatomy and physiology controlling these behaviors.
In addition to weekly lectures, you will have the opportunity to attend field trips to the bay’s gorgeous wildlife areas to observe animals in their natural habitats. Field trips from past semesters included tidepooling at Duxbury reef, hiking at Point Reyes and Sunol Regional Wilderness, and listening to the dawn chorus at Tilden, among others.
By the end of the class, you will be equipped to:
Appreciate and assess the diversity in the biological foundations for complex behaviors and actions.
Evaluate the evolutionary processes that lead to these structures.
Understand how researchers approach questions in the intersecting fields of zoology and neurology.
The class is designed for all majors, freshman-senior who have an interest in animals, neurology, evolution, or nature as a whole.
This class will have a combination of lectures intended to highlight the diversity of nervous systems across the animal kingdom as well as research lectures from scientists in the fields of neuroscience and zoology.
There will be weekly homework assignments intended to expose you to research in animal behavior or otherwise interesting reading. These will either be in response to articles or that week’s research lecture.
Throughout the semester there will be opportunities to go into the field to observe animals in their natural habitat. Some students may be unable to attend these, so students can opt to submit short essays that will prompt them to think about interesting topics in animal behavior.
There will be an option between a final exam or a final essay to demonstrate an understanding of the concepts covered in the class.
To earn a P in this class, you must earn at least 125 points. You can earn points as follows.
Lecture Attendance - 5 points each
Homework Assignments - 3 points each
Field Trips - 10-15 points each
Short, optional essays - 10 points each
Final exam OR essay - 30 points
Extra opportunities that arise throughout the semester - TBD