Laboratory Information

Ecology (Bio 47)
Laboratory Information
Ecology is the study of relationships between organisms and their environments. The
laboratory portion of this course will introduce you to various scientific techniques and give you
an opportunity to try your hand at observation and experimentation. In the real world, most
ecological studies are long term – it takes a great deal of time and effort to understand the
relationships between organisms, their neighbors and their environments. Several of your labs
are stretched over two weeks. This will allow you to become familiar with the organisms to be
Laboratory Exercises: Be sure to read the laboratory exercise before coming to class so that
you have an idea of what we will happen that day, and so that you will do well on the quiz. This
will help you to organize your time efficiently. Do not depend on your lab partners to collect
data. Make sure that everyone has a full set of data before leaving. Do not copy your neighbor’s
drawings or those from the book. You need to have seen the material yourself in order for you to
understand it. It is a good idea to make notes to yourself about the appearance of specimens,
whether you are asked to make drawings of them or not. Use your own words to answer
questions - do not copy answers. You may discuss your answers with others, but the wording
must be your own. If you have any questions about finding supplies or are unclear about what
you are trying to do, please ask me!
Evaluation of the Laboratory Portion of Class:
 There will be a 10-point quiz at the beginning of most labs. The first 7 questions will
pertain to what you did the previous week. The last 3 questions will cover what you will
do that day. So, you must read ahead and be prepared for that day’s lab as well as review
the previous lab in order to do well on the quizzes. They will make a significant
contribution to your overall grade.
 You will turn something in for each lab (10-50 pts). Some labs will have a list of
questions to turn in. In addition, for each lab, you must write a summary of the lab. You
should include a statement of the purpose of the lab, a very brief summary of what you
did and the results you obtained, and what you learned from the lab. Relate what you
learn in lab to what you are learning in lecture. The summary should be turned in at the
beginning of the next lab period. They should be well written and typed. Summaries
should not be longer than a page and should be included in your lab notebooks.
Laboratory Supplies: The items that you will need for the lab will be available at the front of
the room at the start of each lab class. Read instructions carefully so that you know exactly
what you need. Take only what you need for one or two parts of the lab. Most supplies need to
be shared.
Microscope Notes: Read the instructions carefully for the care of the microscope and follow
them every time you use a microscope.
 When finished with the microscope, be sure to remove the slide, center the mechanical
stage, and use a lens tissue to make sure the stage is dry.
 Raise the tube to the highest position and be sure that the lowest magnification is in the
viewing position.
 Put the cover over the microscope and return it to the cabinet, with the arm outermost.
Remember to carry the microscope with both hands, one hand on the arm and one
supporting the bottom of the microscope.
Broken Glassware: Any broken glassware must be placed in the marked broken glass repository
for safety reasons.
Biohazard: Any animal waste material must be placed in the designated biohazard or animal
waste containers.
Clean Up:
 Always return prepared slides to their proper tray when you have finished using them.
 Clean your slides and coverslips after using them to make a slide. Return the clean and
dry slide and coverslip to their respective boxes.
 Clean up spills immediately with a paper towel.
 Return all supplies to the proper boxes and trays.
 Always clean your desk area before leaving. Put scraps of paper, etc. in the trash.
 Make sure all microscopes and lights are put away and that your cabinet is locked.
 Push your chair under your desk before your leave, so that the room is ready for the next
Field Trips: Their will be several field trips this semester. They are not required and
transportation is up to the individual student. Though not technically required, you must do
report in place of the field trip if you miss it for any reason. See me to set up details.
 Wear appropriate clothing – dress warmly, in layers, wear a raincoat if necessary, and
wear clothes and shoes that can get wet or muddy.
 You will want to bring a clipboard and the pages for that day’s lab as well as some blank
paper and a pencil. You may want to leave the rest of your lab book behind – that way if
the wind or a tide pool claims your notes it will only be for one lab, not the whole
 Feel free to bring your own equipment – binoculars, etc. Make sure they are labeled with
your name. You must be responsible for your own equipment.
 Don’t forget sunblock if we happen to get some good weather!
 Think about safety while on a field trip!
o Drive carefully!
o Do not ever turn your back on the ocean – you never know when a big wave may
be coming!
o Do not climb into hazardous areas or over shear drops – it would not be fun to
take a field trip to the emergency room!
o Make sure you have identified organisms as being non-hazardous before