Instructor: C. William Kilpatrick
Office Hours: Tuesdays 11:30 am -12:30 pm
Wednesdays 10:00-11:00 am
Thursdays 1:00- 2:00 pm
Other times by appointment
Office: 305 Marsh Life Science
Course: BIOL 217, Mammalogy
This is an advanced Biology course that has a prerequisite of
BCOR 102, Ecology and Evolution. If you are taking this course
without the prerequisite, you will likely need to budget additional time for this course. In addition, advanced Biology courses may be more demanding than other courses you have taken. Biology and Zoology majors are advised to take only one additional course with a lab while taking BIOL 217 and generally enroll in only 4 courses per semester. In general, you should plan on dedicating at least 10 to 12 hours a week to this course, if you expect to do well.
Presentation: Two each week, Tuesdays & Thursdays 10:00 to 11:15 pm;
Please be courteous to other students in the class by
arriving on time
not leaving your seat during a presentation and
turning off your cell phone before class starts.
If you need to leave class for any reason, do not return until the next class meeting
Readings: Although no text book is required for this course, you will need a source for information on the natural history of the mammals that occur in Vermont. The following books may be useful in this course and http://www.abebooks.com is a good source for locating and purchasing used books.
Feldhamer, G. A., L. C. Drickamer, S. H. Vessey, J. F. Merritt, and
C. Krajewski. 2007. Mammalogy: Adaptation, Diversity,
Ecology (3rd edition). Johns Hopkins University Press,
Baltimore, 592 pages. [Copy available in lab]
Vaughan, T. A., J. M. Ryan, and N. J. Czaplewski. 2010.
Mammalogy (5th edition). Jones and Bartlett Publishers,
Sudbury, MA 750 pp. [Copy available in lab].
Books on Natural History of mammals that occur in Vermont (You will need one of the following sources of information, either
one of the following books or the collection of the Mammalian
Burt, W. H. 1957. Mammals of the Great Lakes Region.
University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 246 pp.
OUT of PRINT
Godin, A. J. 1977. Wild Mammals of New England, Field Guide Edition. The Globe Pequot Press, Chester, Connecticut, 207 pp. OUT of PRINT
Hamilton, W. J., Jr., and J. O. Whitaker, Jr. 1999. Mammals of the Eastern United States. Third edition, Cornell University
Press, Ithaca, NY, 346 pp. Note: need 3rd edition not 2nd.
Kurta, A. 1995. Mammals of the Great Lakes Region, Revised edition. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 376 pp.
Merritt, J. F. 1987. Guide to the Mammals of Pennsylvania. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 408 pp.
Individual Mammalian Species Accounts (American Society of
Mammalogists) for each of the species of mammals that
occur in Vermont. Currently accounts have been written for
54 of the 59 species of mammals that occur in Vermont, see
list on the Blackboard of Vermont mammal species and the
issue number of the Mammalian Species Account if
available; most will be available on Blackboard and others
can be downloaded as pdf files from:
3. Other good mammalogy sources:
Animal Diversity Web (http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mammalia.html)
Mammal Species of the World (www.bucknell.edu/msw3) or
Jones, J. K., Jr., and R. W. Manning. 1992. Illustrated key to the skulls
of genera of North American land mammals, Texas Tech University
Lawlor, T. E. 1979. Handbook to the orders and families of living
mammals. Mad River Press, Arcata.
Nowak, R. M. 1991. Walker’s Mammals of the World (5th edition).
John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2 Volumes.
Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (eds.). 2005. Mammal Species of
the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd edition).
John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2 Volumes.
Mammalogy (Biology 217) is an upper level biology lecture and lab course with the goal of providing a strong foundational understanding of the study of mammals. This course is taught from an evolutionary prospective and will emphasize systematic relationships, zoogeography, and adaptations among the orders and families of mammals. The lectures and labs will cover the origin, evolution, adaptation, biogeography, physiology, ecology, behavior, and taxonomy of mammals of the world, North America, and New England. Conservation of mammals and the impact of mammals on human populations will also be addressed. This course will introduce students to research techniques and methods used to study mammals and will reinforce the use of the scientific method. This is an upper division course that will delve much deeper into the subject matter and that will require a larger time-commitment to fully comprehend the material.
As a volunteer that has elected to participate in this course you will have the opportunity to participate in a field trip to capture and examine small mammals, conduct a hands-on field or lab project to develop experiences with basic methods used to study mammals, and write a scientific research paper on an aspect of mammalogy of your choice. Your research paper and lab or field project will account for 33% of your grade (see break down below under course grade) and is your opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and abilities in ways other than traditional exams.
I grade on a curve thus there is no set scale. Highest number of accumulated points out of the possible 1200 (see below) = highest grade; grade distribution determined by modality or natural breaks in the distribution of points among students.
Lecture Exams (300 points)
Web Based Assignments (100 points)
Research Paper (250 points)
Laboratory (550 points)
Laboratory Exercises (150 points) + 50 points in place of field trip
Laboratory Practicals (200 points)
Laboratory Project (150 points)
Field Trip (50 points)
Lecture Exams: (300 points) – 25% of your grade
NOTE: The first two lecture exams are given in the evening to allow you more time to complete the exam. Please make sure to schedule time for these exams.
Exam 1 September 25 6:00 pm
Exam 2 October 23 6:00 pm
Exam 3 To be determined by New Software in Registrars Office
Exam Format: Each lecture exam will consist of 10 questions (often with multiple parts) that will require relatively short answers. Examples of exams given in prior years are posted on Blackboard.
Make-up Exams: Available only on a limited basis for students who are ill on the date of the test. Make-up exams will not be the same format as the regularly scheduled exam. Students must try to arrange their schedules to meet the two evening exam times! Please email me as soon as possible if you have a conflict with any of the scheduled exams.
Grade changes: Errors on the grading of lecture exams will be reviewed for one week after exams are returned.
Lectures: Powerpoint presentations will be given on the following tentative schedule of topics. An outline for each presentation will be posted on Blackboard and it is strongly recommended that you print off the outline and bring it to class to assist you with note taking. Following each presentation the powerpoint will be posted on Blackboard.
August 27 Introduction, Overview, and Characteristics of Mammals
August 29 Scientific Method and Characteristics of Mammals (cont.)
September 3 Origin of Mammals and Mammal-like Reptiles
September 5 Mesozoic Mammals
September 10 Early Mammalian Radiations and Monotremata
September 12 Introduction to Marsupials (Metatheria) and the New World
September 17 History of Australia and Primitive Australian Marsupials
September 19 Advanced Australian Marsupials (Diprotodontia)
September 24 Introduction to Eutherians, Superorder Afrotheria
September 26 Magnorder Xenarthra: Cingulata and Pilosa
October 1 Magnorder Boreoeutheria, Superorder Euarchontoglires:
Scandentia, Dermoptera, Primates: Stepsrhini
October 3 Primates: Haplorhini (including Hominoidea)
October 8 Glires: Rodentia: Ctenhystricomorpha
October 10 Glires: Rodentia: Sciuromorha and Castorimorpha
October 15 Glires: Rodentia: Myomorpha and Anomaluromorpha;
October 17 Magnorder Boreoeutheria, Superorder Laurasiatheria,
(Insectivora) Erinaceomorphia and Soricomorpha
October 22 Origin of Bats, Echolocation and Flight Adaptations
October 24 Chiroptera: Yinopterochiroptera
October 29 Chiroptera: Yangochiroptera
October 31 Chiroptera: Yangochiroptera
November 5 Carnivora: Canoidea: Introduction, Canidae, Ursidae,
Procyonidae, and Pandas
November 7 Carnivora: Canoidea: Mustelidae, Mephitidae and the
November 12 Carnivora: Feloidea: Felidae, Viverridae, Herpestidae, Hyaenidae, and Protelidae; Pholidota
November 14 Cursorial Adaptations and Perissodactyla
November 19 Artiodactyla: Suiformes and Tylopoda
November 21 Artiodactyla: Ruminantia
December 3 Cetartiodactyla: Hippopotamidae, Mesonychidae, and Cetacea
Web Based Assignments: (100 points) Most weeks you will be given an assignment to research a specific question and provide a brief response including citations as to where you found the information that you used to develop your response. Since the web is now where one looks for information it is important to be able to identify creditable scientific information.
Research Paper: (250 points) - A scientific or technical paper will be prepared following the format and style of a paper for the Journal of Mammalogy. This research paper (not a term paper or a review paper) comprises 21% of your grade. The following may be useful sources of information concerning content, organization, style and format:
A paper from a recent issue of the Journal of Mammalogy.
Carraway, L. N. 2006. Improving scientific writing and avoid perishing.
American Midland Naturalists, 155:383-394.
Carraway, L. N. 2007. Content and organization of a scientific paper.
American Midland Naturalists, 157:412-422.
Additional guidelines that will be posted on Blackboard and copies of the above papers and additional guidelines will be provided in the mammalogy lab.
1. The first step in this project is the preparation of a proposal. This proposal
requires more effort than just an idea for a topic. You will need to
research your topic to identify what question or hypothesis you would like
to address and to determine what data are available to address your
question or hypothesis.
Research proposal (due September 16) - 25 points
Should include the following sections:
Introduction - Background to problem with citations of papers or
other sources that document the information you are
presenting. This background should include the
observations that lead to your question or hypothesis. It is
important to make it clear how the scientific method will be
used to test or address either your hypothesis or the
predictions you expect if the hypothesis is true.
Objectives - Statement of the purpose of your paper, this may be
how you are testing your hypothesis. This is usually the last
paragraph of the Introduction.
Materials and Methods - What type of data have you found and
what additional data are you going to try to find? How will
the data you collect be analyzed to address your objectives,
questions or hypothesis?
Research Plan - Schedule of steps to be accomplished with
deadline dates. Time lines for 1st, 2nd, and polished drafts.
Literature Cited - Full reference to the papers cited in the
introduction and materials and methods sections. See
instruction and examples posted on Blackboard for the
format to be used for references.
2. Collection and analysis of data. Data will be conducted from the literature
and databases, assembled into table and analyzed with statistical methods or
with a comparative method.
MorphBank – morphological data
GenBank – genetic data (DNA sequences)
Paleobiology Database – fossil data
Mammal Fossil Database (NOW)
Global Mammal Parasite Database
Searchable databases – geographic records of mammal specimens
Searchable Museum Collections
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkely
Collection Database at University of Alaska Museum
Peabody Museum at Yale
Natural History Museum, Berne (NMBE)
University of Hawaii
Smithsonian Institute at the National Museum of Natural History
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Field Museum, Chicago
Laboratorio de Vertebrados – Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
3. After you have collected and analyzed the data to address your objectives you
are ready to write your Research Paper.
a. I suggest starting with the results section including you data (Tables and
Figures). I also suggest preparing the Literature Cited section as you are
writing the paper rather after you are finished.
b. After you have completed your first draft, read it over carefully and see if
you can find mistakes or identify ways in which your paper could be
c. After making those changes, give your second draft to a friend or class
mate and ask them to critically read your paper. Incorporate their
suggestions and corrections that you deem to be valid.
You need to prepare three copies of this polished draft to be turned
into your instructor by November 1.
Polished paper (due November 1) - 100 points
Should include the following sections (see guidelines posted on
Blackboard, printed guidelines in the mammalogy lab, and by
looking at a recent issue of the Journal of Mammalogy):
Abstract - Brief overview of your paper (what you found not
what you did).
Introduction - Background to problem and clear statement of your objectives. Remember to make it clear how
the scientific method is being used with a clear
statement of the question or hypothesis and how that
question or hypothesis is being objectively test or
Materials and Methods - Types of data you collected and any methods of analyses that you used. This
should not include the methods used in the papers
from which you obtained your data
Results - Presentation of the data you collected from the literature or other sources and the results of your analyses. This is the section were references are usually made to figures and tables that contain the
data you have collected or mined.
Discussion - How does the data and analyses you
presented in the results section address your
objectives and test your hypotheses? How does the
data or analyses you are presenting compare with
that presented by others?
Literature Cited - Complete references to papers cited in your paper. See guidelines posted on Blackboard for
the format to be used for references.
Figures and Tables (see guidelines).
4. You will be given copies of polished papers from two of your class mates and
you will be asked to provide confidential critical reviews. You will be
provided with some guidelines at the time you receive the papers to
Reviews (You should receive papers on November 5 and your reviews are due on November 19) - 25 points
Your reviews should provide constructive criticism of how each of the two
papers you are reviewing can be improved.
4. On November 22 you may pick up the three reviews of your research paper
(two from class mates and one from me) and you are asked to use these
reviews to improve your paper. In making your revision you will need to
prepare a cover letter describing in detail your responses to the reviewers
comments and suggestions.
Revised paper (due December 4) - 100 points
Mammal Labs: The labs are an integral part of the course (lecture material will often be repeated in the labs, and what you learn and observe in the labs will be used in lectures). The lab work accounts for 46% of you grade in this course. Labs meet from 2:30 to 5:15 on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. The lab uses mammal skins, skulls, skeletons and or tissues.
Graduate Teaching Assistant: Nelish Pradhan
Laboratory Manual: Lab exercise will be posted on Blackboard. You will need to print off a copy of each week’s labs and bring them with you to lab.
Week 1 August 26-30 Lab 1 – Introduction and Characteristics
Lab 2 – Value of Museum Collections
Week 2 September 3-6 Lab 3 – Preparation of Study Skins and
Q Collection of Field Data
Lab 4 – Cranial and Skeletal Anatomy
Week 3 September 9-13 Lab 5 – Dental Anatomy
Lab 6 – Higher Classification and Key to
the Living Orders
Lab 7 – Order Monotremata
Lab 8 – Cohort Metatheria (Marsupials)
Week 4 September 16-20 Lab 18 – Morphometrics and
Q Introduction to Phylogenetics
Week 5 September 23-27 Lab 6 – Key to the Living Orders
Lab 9 – Superorder Afrotheria
Lab 10 – Magnaorder Xenarthra
Lab 17 – Magnaorder Boreoeutheria:
Dermoptera, and Primates
Week 6 Sept. 30-Oct. 4 Lab 19 – Population Biology
Week 7 October 7-11 Lab 6 – Key to the Living Orders
Lab 18 – Magnaorder Boreoeutheria:
Order Rodentia: Hystricomorpha,
Week 8 October 14-18 Lab 6 – Key to the Living Orders
Q Lab 19 – Magnaorder Boreoeutheria:
Order Rodentia: Myomorpha &
Anomaluromorphia; and Order
Week 9 October 21-25 Lab 6 – Key to the Living Orders
Q Lab 11 – Magnaorder Boreoeutheria:
Orders Erinaceomorphia &
Week 10 October 28- Nov. 1 Lab 6 – Key to the Living Orders
Q Lab 12 – Magnaorder Boreoeutheria:
Week 11 November 4-8 Lab 6 – Key to the Living Orders
Q Lab 13 – Magnaorder Boreoeutheria:
Week 12 November 11-15 Lab 20 – Parasites and Zoonotics
Week 13 November 18-22 Lab 6 – Key to the Living Orders
Lab 14 – Magnaorder Boreoeutheria:
Lab 15 – Order Perissodactyla
Lab 16 – Mirorder Cetartiodactytla
Week 14 December 2-4 Review and Lab Practicals
Laboratory Exercises - 250 points; including:
a. 10 Laboratory Quizzes (10 points each) - 100 points
Quizzes will be given at the first of the labs denoted with a Q over the material covered in the previous lab exercise.
b. 2 Laboratory Reports (50 points each) - 100 points – If you take part in a field trip, you only need to prepare any two of the three reports. However, if you can’t participate in a filed trip you may make-up the points but preparing a third report. (see guidelines posted on Blackboard for preparation of lab reports)
1. Morphometrics and Systematics due Oct. 11
2. Population Biology due Oct. 25
3. Parasites and Zoonotics due Dec. 4
c. 2 Mini-reports (25 points each) - 50 points (see guidelines)
1. Value of Museum Collections due Sept. 13
2. Dental Anatomy due Sept. 27
Laboratory Practicals (200 points) - December 4 (6:00 pm)
a. Mammals of New England - 100 points
(Closed book with coverage of identification, taxonomy, adaptations, natural history)
b. Mammals of the World - 100 points
(Key [supplied] may be used; coverage restricted to identification and taxonomy)
3. Laboratory Project (150 points); examples:
1. Salvage of material and data from Herp pit traps (identify, measure,
collect skulls, tag, record data) – minimum of 15 specimens
2. Mammal specimens (skins and skulls with data) – minimum of 3
Processing of skulls (cleaning and some repair) – need 1 student
Museum work: curatorial work of matching skin with skulls and data
entry - possibility for 2 students
Specimen identification - Peromyscus
Morphometrics – minimum 25 specimens
DNA sequencing – minimum 3 specimens
Ectoparasites (collection and identification)
Others possible – Let me know what you have in mind!
4. Field Trip (graded on participation and field notes) - 50 points
You are invited to participate in one of two or three scheduled field trips, however, participation is not mandatory.
September 7-8 To be determined
September 28-29 Small Mammal Survey (Charleston)
October 12-13 Small Mammal Survey (Morgan)
More details on each trip will be posted on Blackboard.
If you are not able to attend any of the field trips and are concerned about
the 50 points, you should plan on preparing and handing in on time lab
reports for all three labs (Morphometrics and Systematics, Population
Biology, Parasites and Zoonotics).
If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to Dr. Kilpatrick a letter from ACESS (http://www.uvm.edu/access) in a timely manner (by the end of the second week of classes) so that your needs may be addressed.
All students of the University of Vermont are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of the institution which can be found at http://www.uvm.edu/cses/?Page=ah.html&SM=ahmenu.html. Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior. All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the Coordinator of Academic Integrity or the Academic Integrity Council (http://www.uvm.edu/cses/?Page=ahform.html&SM=ahmenu.html).
Material presented in this course may not be sold and are the intellectual properties of the instructor and others.