Tropical Biology (Galápagos) (BI358)

BI358 (Tropical Biology)
Herb Wilson
113 Arey
cell (207) 215-0176
Sarah Gibbs
305 Olin
cell 207-313-2209
Jan 3 AM
Introduction; Lecture on formation of Galápagos Islands; climate
Film: Galápagos: The Islands That Changed the World, Part I
Jan 4 AM
History of Galápagos study; Discussion of Voyage of the Beagle and
Sulloway reading
Film: Galápagos: The Islands That Changed the World, Part I discussion of
The Beak of the Finch I
Jan 5 AM
Plants and plant zonation
Film: Voyage to the Galápagos; Discussion of The Beak of the Finch II
Jan 6 AM
Evolution of the fauna of the Galápagos
Film (What Darwin Never Saw); Discussion of The Beak of the Finch III
Jan 7 AM
Darwin’s Finches
Discussion of The Beak of the Finch IV; species accounts
Jan 10 AM
Lecture exam
Species identification quiz
Jan 12 AM
Depart for Logan Airport
Jan 22 PM
Return to U.S.
Jan 24 PM
Discussion of trip; sharing observations
Jan 25 AM
Work on species accounts, papers and presentations
Work on species accounts, papers and presentations
Jan 26 AM
Oral presentations
Oral presentations
Jan 27 AM
Lab practical
Grade Components
Species Accounts – students will work in pairs to prepare a two-slide Powerpoint file on
the identification, habitat and ecology of 8-10 species of the Galápagos biota. A
photograph or two of each species will be a portion of each Powerpoint file. The
collection of species accounts will be shared among the entire class to allow preparation
for our trip and the lab practical after our return.
Lecture exam – this examination will cover the lecture material given in the first week
of the class, the readings and discussion from the Beak of the Finch, the readings and
discussion from Chapter 16 of the Voyage of the Beagle and Sulloway’s (1982) article.
Although material from Kricher’s text not discussed in lecture will not appear on the
text, a re-reading of Kricher will aid in preparation for the lecture exam
Beak of the Finch discussions – students will engage in four small group discussions
(six people), guided by questions given in advance. Students will be graded on
participation in these sessions.
Species identification quiz – each student will take a self-scheduled examination on
Moodle testing identification and natural history knowledge of the 97 species for which
species accounts will be available. This quiz will be open-book; you are welcome to use
the species accounts and any other resource to help you answer the questions.
Participation – we anticipate that everyone will get full credit for this component of the
grade by being a good citizen, especially while we are in Ecuador.
Research Paper – each student will prepare a paper between 2,500 and 4,000 words in
length (not counting the Literature Cited section of the paper) on an approved topic of
her/his choice. A minimum of 12 references from the primary literature must be used.
The paper should be a synthetic review, weaving the different articles to make a
coherent whole. Critical assessment of the data is expected. During the first week of
class, an annotated bibliography of 10 references must be submitted by the schedule
given below. Citation style in the text and for the citations in the Literature Cited must
conform to the Biology Department style (see the Literature Cited section at
Oral Presentation – each student will present a 6 -minute, 40- second talk using exactly
20 PowerPoint slides on the final Wednesday of the class.
Final Lab Practical – an examination using images and written questions on the
identification and natural history of the Galápagos biota will be administered on the last
day of class. Unlike the pre-trip quiz, this examination will be closed-book.
Grade Break-down
Species Accounts
Lecture Exam
Beak of the Finch discussions
Species Identification quiz
Research Paper
Oral Presentation
Final Lab Practical
Here is the grading rubric for the research paper:
Submission of annotated bibliography by January 7 10%
Conforming to the Biology Department citation style 10%
Content and quality of the writing
Critical Dates
January 5, 7 PM
Annotated bibliography of first five references due (Word
document to Herb (
January 7, 5 PM
All Species Accounts due to Sarah via email (
and annotated bibliography of second five references due to Herb
January 8
Combined Species Accounts will be available on Moodle
January 11, 2 PM – self-scheduled identification quiz must be completed
January 27, 5 PM – research paper due as Word document to Herb or Sarah via email