Wildlife and Fisheries Biology--Biology
Instructor: Dr. Jerry Skinner; Capwell Hall
Office hours: M-T-Th-F 11-11:50 am; F 10-12.
Class Meetings: Lecture:
M-F 12:30-1:45 pm in Capwell 208; Lab:
Thursday 2:00-4:50 pm in Capwell 202.
Inclement weather meeting time: Lecture: 1:30-2:20 pm; Lab:
Willis, D., C. Scalet, and L. Flake. 2009. Introduction to Wildlife
and Fisheries: An Integrated Approach, 2nd ed. W. H. Freeman Co.,
NY. 461 pp. ISBN 1-4292-0446-X.
Lab materials will be
handed out to you.
Course Description: The primary goal of this course is to have
students learn the functions and processes of ecosystems. Ecosystems represent
the interacting systems of living organisms (fish and wildlife) and their
abiotic (non-living) environment. Through class and field work, students will
learn about the structure, dynamics, and behaviors of northeastern fish and
wildlife populations. Students will also learn methods for assessment and
management of local fish and wildlife resources, their habitat, and human
users. Ecosystem management will be emphasized. Students will directly
interface with regional and state fish and wildlife biologists, managers, and
Course Objectives: Upon completion of this course,
1) possess a basic understanding of general relationships
between organisms and their environment;
2) posses the skills to perform standard field techniques;
3) improve your ability to read and write in acceptable
4) become intimately familiar with the current ecological
literature, computer searches, indices, and electronic sources.
5) be able to apply all these skills in assessing and
interpreting man's past and future impact on ecosystems.
What do fishery and wildlife biologists do? Defining Wildlife and
Fisheries; Environmental organization PPT assignment made.
1; Excerpt from
A Sand County Almanac
Dietary Analysis of Barn Owls
organization student presentations
Wildlife disease PPT assignment made; read
Keystone Wild Notes
Dietary Analysis of Barn Owls; pellet
assignment-write it up!
|Genetics in Wildlife and Fisheries
|Nutrition and Environmental Physiology
|Sampling the Biota
|Determination and Use of Age, Growth,
and Sex Information
|Population and Community Assessment
|Managing the Biota
|Endangered and Threatened Species
|Habitat Sampling & Assessment
|Assessment of Human Users
|Management of Human Users
|Wildlife & Fishery Legislation
|Wildlife & Fishery Law Enforcement
Note: By the end of the semester, you will have read the
entire textbook. Occasionally you will be assigned readings outside of
your textbook. These will be left on reserve in the library, or in some
other readily available place.
POTENTIAL LAB TOPICS:
||Optimal foraging by birds at a
|Optimal foraging by mice
||Effect of grazers on plant community
||Diet and space overlap of stream
|How does a robin look for worms?
||Mark and recapture techniques
|Growth of duckweed populations
||Salamander habitat analysis
|Vegetation analysis techniques
|Sampling for lake and
||Aging and growth of fish
|Aging techniques for
mammals and birds
||Vegetation sampling &
Dietary Analysis of Barn Owls
Middle Creek Wildlife area trip
Course Woody Debris survey-WFWP
Hemlock Wooly Adelgid treatment-WFWP
Game farm or fish hatchery visit
Annual meeting of PA-TWS Mar 20-21
Participation in PARS
Vertebrate museum visit
ABOUT LABS: I have not made up a schedule of labs.
There are more topics listed above than we can possibly do in one semester.
Some are indoor activities and some are outdoors. Unfortunately, most of
the outside ones deal with the more complex concepts that should come at
the end of the semester when it will be too cold to be outdoors (or the
organisms have been killed by frost or are hibernating). Therefore, the
labs will probably not be current with lecture topics. Also, due to the
vagaries of the weather, I will probably not decide about the week's lab
until the day or two before. What this means to you is that we will not
work in streams after a rain, or with insects when the temperature is in
the 40's. Also, you should come to labs in field clothes--this means
you should expect to get wet, dirty, sweaty, etc. Bring along a change
of clothes, rain gear, etc. if necessary. Expect to go outside every
lab. This doesn't mean that we will, but I don't want to see someone
in a skirt, shorts or Foster-Grants on lab day. Labs will be handed out
to you no later than the day before the lab. It is expected that you will
have read it BEFORE you come to lab.
|Lab Reports and Assignments
||50 pts per half semester
ATTENDANCE AND DUE DATES: Your presence is expected
at EVERY lecture and lab. You will notice that attendance is not
included in the grading scale. You do not gain points by carrying out your
responsibility in showing up. There will be no makeup tests without a verifiable
excuse of a very serious nature. Makeups will be at my convenience and
will be an oral test. Late assignments will not be accepted for any
reason. Assignments are due AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS on the due
The Fine Print:
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 any disability requiring an accommodation prior to the beginning of
class. This disclosure should be made to Sarah Keating, Vice President of
Enrollment, Keystone’s Section 504/ADA Coordinator. 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 page 79 of the Keystone College
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:
- The illegitimate use of study
materials or electronic devices in any form during a quiz or examination.
- Copying answers from the quiz or
examination paper of another student.
- 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.
- 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.
- Impersonating a candidate at an
examination or availing oneself of such an impersonation in any
traditional or online class.
- Intentionally interfering with
any person's scholastic work, for example, by damaging or stealing
laboratory experiments, computer data files or library materials.
- 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.
- Aiding or abetting any act of
academic dishonesty including but not limited to such offenses as
Environmental Organization: 25
Investigate and report on the
environmental organization of your choice (NGOs only). It may be local,
national, or international. Tell what the organization's mission is and how
they try to accomplish it. Are they successful? This will be in the form
of a PowerPoint presentation to last no more than 3 minutes. I expect this
to be a polished, rehearsed presentation. You must stay within your
time guideline. I strongly suggest you view
Death by PowerPoint for a discussion of what to NOT do with your
Wildlife Disease: 25
select a wildlife disease (your
choice) and prepare a 5 minute PPT presentation. Here are the presentations
from previous classes. These are unaltered and are in the form as presented
by the students. Some are good, some not so. You may choose one of these
topics or any other interesting and relevant disease. Or, you can select an
individual species and discuss the common diseases they get.
You may NOT select White nose
syndrome or rabies (which I will present in class to give you an idea of
This time your colleagues will be
evaluating your presentation based on the criteria in the grading
and whether you prepared them well for a quiz on these topics.
North American Bird Phenology Program
Your assignment is
to transcribe 25 cards (@1 pt) for the North American Bird Phenology
Program. (The leading transcriber has done more than 38,000 cards!)
Visit the North
American Bird Phenology Program at
You may wish to
read about the program from the links provided in the menu, such as
ABOUT BPP and
2. Click on BECOME A PARTICIPANT to register for the
Data Entry Login V3 Beta. This allows you to begin transcribing cards.
The benefit of the Beta version is that is allows you to request (filter)
certain kinds of cards. For example, you can select a particular species or a
state. For example, you might choose only PA birds, or only Swainson’s
Warblers in PA.
3. Submit a list and count of the species (names or numbers) that
Paper: 125 points
Select a topic which interests you. The list below may
give you ideas, but you are welcome to modify one of these or come up with an
original idea. Topics must be cleared with me. All topics are
first-come-first-served; i.e., only one person in the class may have any topic.
Prepare a 'paper' which thoroughly investigates the topic. The paper will be
written in normal 'English-class' style. This means that you must cite all
relevant materials and have a Literature Cited section. (Nota bene: I am as
picky of a grader on grammar and spelling as any English professor!) This paper
is worth 100 pts.
You will also present your project to the class in PowerPoint format during
the last week of the course. This presentation will be judged by your
classmates as well as by me, and is worth 25 points.
You may submit a draft for my inspection and comments before the due
|Appropriate topic turned in on time? DUE
|On time? Well thought out? DUE
|What did you say? How well was it said and supported?
Was it well researched? Ample references and sources?
|Perfect grammar, spelling, typing, citations and
|How well did you share your findings with the class?
TO BE PRESENTED IN CLASS
Possible Project Topics for Wildlife Biology
This is a list of potential topics. You may do one of
these, modify one, or choose something altogether different.
- Several past presidents vowed to open up the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Is this a good idea? What are the
- What is the status of acid precipitation in PA? What
levels do we receive? Compare your results with state and national trends.
What are the impacts on wildlife?
- What is the role and impact of wildlife rehabilitators in
saving injured animals. Is it worth it? Do they survive when
released? What does it take to become a rehabilitator?
- Pennsylvania's tax check-off for non-game wildlife -- how
it works, how well it's working, and what it's doing for Pennsylvania
wildlife; how much have the license plates made?
- The problem of exotic and introduced plants and animals in
Florida--America's great outdoor zoo.
- Giardiasis, West Nile virus, tick-borne diseases, etc.
Discuss the problem of animals as vectors of human diseases.
- The dangers of plastics dumped overboard at sea -- their
impact on turtles, birds and whales.
- A conflict of interest -- fishermen vs. oil drilling on
America's most fertile fishing grounds.
- The Bible says, "...be fruitful and multiply, fill the
earth and subdue it, and have dominion over... every living thing." Does this
mean that God has said that we may do as we wish with the world, its resources
and organisms? For instance, is it OK to cause one of God's creatures become
- What happens when an endangered species meets a
multi-million dollar dam? The story of the snail darter vs. the Tellico Dam.
- Mercury (or lead or cadmium) in the environment. Where does
it come from -- and what is the effect of these toxins on wildlife.
- Carcinogens in the environment -- how we test for them, and
is it worth the time to worry about them?
- Ecotourism--nature tours, African 'safaris', whalewatching,
swimming with dolphins, etc. Are these things beneficial to host countries and
to the animals?
- Endangered species in Pennsylvania -- what is the
commonwealth doing to save them? (or, in your own state or country)
- Zoos -- are they becoming the last refuge for our
endangered species? Discuss conservation measures and captive breeding
- Should we try to save endangered species--is it really
worth it? Should we save endangered snails, crickets, rattlesnakes, and
- Extinction is nothing new. Did primitive humans cause the
extinctions of large animals like mammoths, mastodons, saber-toothed tigers,
- Smokey the Bear should be snuffed out -- or, why forest
fires aren't such bad things.
- We currently have more forested land than probably existed
when whites came to America. However, it is of much lower quality than before.
Additionally, it is becoming very fragmented, a condition which poses perhaps
more of a threat to bird species than does the burning of the tropical rain
forests. Discuss these notions.
- Compare the wildlife artwork of such prominent wildlife
artists as John James Audubon, Robert Bateman, Roger Tory Peterson, Louis A.
Fuertes, and others.
- Compare some of the more prominent nature writers like
Emerson, Thoreau, John Borroughs, Aldo Leopold, Edwin Way Teale, Edward Abbey,
etc. Or read several writings by the same author and discuss his/her
philosophy of the natural world.
- There is quite a controversy between animal rights
advocates, hunters, the fur industry, etc. Present a discussion about this
problem giving both sides of the question, finishing up with your own opinion.
(Conduct interviews with trappers, women who own furs, and animal lovers.)
- There are many fine nature-oriented shows on TV (PBS and
cable). Discuss Nature , Nova , Wild America, National
Geographic, World of Survival, Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau , Animal
Plant, Shark Week, etc.
What are their goals? How do they effect the viewing public's perception of
the natural world?
- Must business and environment always be at odds? Can
environmentalism be good business?
- Zebra mussels, a clam-like invader from Europe, have
infiltrated the Great Lakes and the Susquehanna River. They are expected to
cause a monumental ecological problem. Discuss these and other invaders of our
- Discuss George W. Bush's or Barack Obama's environmental record as
president. What impact can and does a president have on wildlife policies?
- Lampreys in the Great Lakes: their origin, current
control measures, etc.
- Discuss the contributions to wildlife made by Aldo Leopold.
Of course, this includes reading one or more of his books.
- View the film "March of the Penguins". Discuss how
this species' seemingly odd reproductive strategy may have arisen.
Construct a realistic energy budget (using real numbers) for a breeding
individual of this species.
- You've decided to go into business for yourself in the
field of wildlife or fisheries management. A prospective client
approaches you with a specific problem. Define the problem, devise a
management scheme, and present the bill to the client. You may choose
either a terrestrial or aquatic system to manage.
- Discuss the logistical, financial, ethical, and biological
aspects of PA's trout stocking program. Should we also raise and release
bears for hunters?
- We should allow managed whaling to resume.
- Most salmon purchased at grocery stores are farm raised.
Discuss this relatively new and exploding area of aquaculture. What are
the pros and cons? (E.g., disease, genetic swamping of native stocks,
- Discuss the ethics of the menu at your favorite seafood
- Discuss several real-world applications of GPS-GIS
technology to wildlife biology.
- Author a piece of legislation to provide an equitable,
sustainable, stable, and adequate source of funding for the PA Game Commission
and the PA Fish & Boat Commission.
- After reading Aldo Leopold's Good
Oak (an excerpt from A Sand County Almanac), compose a parallel
piece using historical info for Pennsylvania.