Biology 1055, Fall 2014

Biology & Geology of Caves

Instructor:       Mr. Mike Nardacci, (518) 869-1582,

Campus Facilitator:  Dr. Jerry Skinner; Capwell Hall 211 phone: (570) 945-8404;


  • Moore, George W. and N. Sullivan.  1997.  Speleology-Caves and the Cave Environment.  Cave Books, St. Louis,  176 pp.  ISBN 0939748452
  • Mandatory Waiver




General  Description:   This field course is centered around a weekend-long field trip to visit several caves.  There will be several pre-trip meetings on campus.  A scholarly paper on a topic of interest to you and a list of definitions will be required following the trip.  In the past the course has visited Clarksville and Schoharie Caves as well as Howe Caverns, a commercially developed cave.

Accommodations:  The cabin is in the middle of nowhere and has no electricity or running water.  The sanitary facility is an outhouse.  Overnight visitors sleep in sleeping bags in the loft.  Cell phone coverage is spotty at best.

Catalog Description:  Studies the formation and conservation of caves, as well as the organisms that call them home. Features a weekend-long caving trip to the limestone caverns of upstate New York. $125 course fee.

Tentative Schedule

Meeting Day Topic Assignment
Aug 30 Introduction to the course Chapters 1 & 2
Sep 3 Video:  Mysteries Underground Chapter 4
Sep 17 Logistics:  planning for the trip Chapters 6 & 7
Sep 19-21 The trip

Guide to Responsible Caving



National Speleological Society


Guidelines for Assignments

Definitions:  At the cabin you will be given several pages of cave-related terms.  Keep your ears perked up, because Dr. Nardacci will be discussing them throughout the weekend.  You will write brief definitions of each term and will submit them by the due date.

Scholarly paper:  You will select a cave-related topic of your choice.  You will write a scholarly article of 5-7 pages in length, excluding graphics, tables, and references.  You must use at least three sources and cite them properly.  Dr. Nardacci will suggest ideas and must approve your topic.  A word to the wise...Dr. Nardacci's degree is in English!  If you wish, Dr. Skinner will be happy to inspect your final draft before you submit it to Dr. Nardacci.  Submit final papers to Dr. Nardacci at


The Trip 200
Definitions 50
Scholarly Paper 150


Grading Policy



90 - 92.9


87 - 89.9


83 - 86.9


80 - 82.9


77 - 79.9


73 - 76.9


70 - 72.9


67 - 69.9


60 - 66.9


less than 60


The Fine Print:

Keystone College does not discriminate in any of its programs on the basis of disability. While there is not a deadline for the disclosure of a disability by a student, in order to facilitate the documentation and accommodation processes, students are encouraged to voluntarily and confidentially disclose and disability requiring an accommodation prior to the beginning of class. This disclosure should be made to the College Counselor & Coordinator of Disability Services.  Students who disclose a disability, and who are seeking an accommodation, ultimately will be expected to provide documentation verifying the disability.

Academic Honesty – Division of Natural Science and Mathematics
All students are subject to the College's policy and procedure on academic dishonesty; see the current Keystone College catalog. 
The Natural Science and Mathematics Division recognizes that any form or degree of academic dishonesty challenges the principles of truth and honesty which are among the most important founding principles of science and mathematics discovery.  Keystone College treats academic dishonesty as a serious violation of academic trust.  It penalizes all students found to have engaged in such behavior.
Academic honesty within the College and the Natural Science and Mathematics Division must be a cooperative enterprise of faculty, students and administrators. Acts of academic dishonesty include but are not limited to the following:

  1. The illegitimate use of study materials or electronic devices in any form during a quiz or examination.
  2. Copying answers from the quiz or examination paper of another student.
  3. Plagiarizing or falsifying materials or information used in the completion of any assignment which is graded or evaluated as the student's individual effort. Plagiarism includes submitting as one's own the ideas or work of another, including the laboratory data, written materials or the computer files of another, regardless of whether that information is used verbatim or in paraphrased form.  The same applies to anything derived from the Internet, including research papers purchased online. 
  4. Obtaining, through theft, bribery, or collusion, or otherwise improperly securing an examination paper prior to the time and date for the administration of the examination. Also, use of an examination paper previously administered (e.g., during an earlier term) without the consent of the instructor who authored the examination.
  5. Impersonating a candidate at an examination or availing oneself of such an impersonation in any traditional or online class. 
  6. Intentionally interfering with any person's scholastic work, for example, by damaging or stealing laboratory experiments, computer data files or library materials.
  7. It is presumed that material submitted by a student for an assignment is original to that assignment and, therefore, submitting the same work for more than one course without the consent of the instructors of each course in which the work is submitted is considered dishonest.  Submission of previously graded work from prior assignments is considered dishonest. 
  8. Aiding or abetting any act of academic dishonesty including but not limited to such offenses as described above.

Any student caught cheating, or using someone’s work as their own, will be reported to the Academic Dean of the College.  A grade of zero will be recorded for that assignment/test/quiz. For more information on dishonest acts including plagiarism, cheating, and fraud, consult your Student Information Guide.

Keystone College states that all official student email correspondence be sent only to a student’s Keystone email address and that faculty and staff consider email from students official only if it originates from a Keystone account. This allows the College to maintain a high degree of confidence in the identity of all individuals and the security of transmitted information.  Keystone College furnishes each student with a free email account that is to be used in all communication with College personnel

The College has set deadlines for withdrawing from courses. These dates and times are published in the course catalog and on the Academic Calendar. It is the student's responsibility to handle withdrawal requirements from any class. The proper paperwork must be completed to ensure that you will not receive a final grade of "F" in a course if you choose not to attend once you are enrolled. If you are considering withdrawing from a class, consult your Advisor and refer to the College Catalog.

An “I” (Incomplete) will only be given under extenuating circumstances.  It will not be given to students who simply fail to do the work or miss an exam.  If an “I” is given, students must complete the work within four weeks into the following semester, or receive a grade of “F” for the course.