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Mammalogy Fall 2006 Biol 425 (3 credits) Instructor: Link Olson ta: Hayley Lanier

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Mammalogy Fall 2006

Biol 425 (3 credits)

Instructor: Link Olson TA: Hayley Lanier

Museum WRRB 244

474-5998 474-1195

Office Hours: Wednesdays 2-3, Museum Mondays 2-3 pm (or by appt.) (or by appt.)

Lecture schedule (subject to change). All lectures are in Irving 201, 1-2 p.m.


Chapter (textbook)



Introduction; Why study mammals?

1, 2


Mammalian characteristics



Teeth and jaws



Life of Mammals film


Classification and systematics I

3 (31-46), 4


Classification and systematics II


Mesozoic mammals evolution of endothermy




Cenozoic mammals; Prototheria

9 (180-190)


Marsupials I

10, 11


Marsupials II

10, 11


"Insectivora" I, tenrecs, golden moles

12 (242-250), 3 (40-43)


Insectivora II, Life of Mammals



Dermoptera, Scandentia, Macroscelidea

12 (250-255)


Chiroptera I, Guest lecture, Hayley Lanier;

Life of Mammals

6 (113-114), 13


Midterm exam (1-2)


Chiroptera II; Evolution of echolocation

13 (261-264)



Guest lecture, Dr. Brian Barnes:

Physiological adaptations to the cold

9 (156-176)



14, 6 (111-112)


Carnivora I: Pinnipeds. Guest lecture, Lori Quakenbush, ADFG

16 (325-329)


Carnivora II

16 (314-325)


Rodentia I

18 (348-365)


Rodentia II; Lagomorpha; Guest lecture, Hayley Lanier

18 (365-369); Supp.


Xenarthra, Pholidota, Tubulidentata



Paenungulata, Biomechanics




Perissodactyla, Artiodactyla

20, 6 (103-104)



14 (114-115), 17


Guest lecture, Dr. Kris Hundertmark:

Taxonomy & Conservation



Guest lecture, Hayley Lanier:

Mammalian responses to climate change



Final Exam (1-3 pm)


Textbook: Feldhamer, G.A. et al. 2004. Mammalogy. 3rd edition Johns Hopkins. Additional media: "Life of Mammals" film series by David Attenborough.

Both the textbook and DVD are on reserve in the BioSciences Library

Supplementary readings ("Supp") will be made available for some lectures

Lab schedule (subject to change). Most labs will be in Irving 103, 2-5 p.m.




Introduction; Tour of UA Museum; importance of museum collections


Morphology I: Craniodental


Morphology II: Postcranial and integumental


Early therians; Monotremata



Marsupialia; "Insectivora"


Exam I


"Insectivora" (cont.), Chiroptera


Dermoptera; Scandentia; Macroscelidea; Primates



Carnivora I


Exam II; Special topic, "Preparing for graduate school or a professional career in mammalogy"


Rodentia; Lagomorpha


Xenarthra; Pholidota; Tubulidentata



Perissodactyla, Artiodactyla, “Subungulates,” Cetacea


Final exam (2-5 pm)

Lab reading materials will be provided to you; there is no required text.
The laboratory section of this course will focus on the traits used to recognize different groups of mammals (including, but not limited to, the orders and families represented in the teaching collection and the species of mammals found in Alaska).
Laboratory instruction will include group discussion, small group work, hands-on activities, and analysis of anatomical features. Students will be expected to understand and use identification keys. A firm grasp of taxonomic and systematic nomenclature will be critical to success in this course, and it is essential that you read the lab materials before coming to class.
Be Advised: Indifferent or malicious treatment of museum and teaching specimens shall be construed as full consent to be added to the teaching collection in the event of an untimely demise on your part. Some specimens will be displayed for visual inspection only and will be marked "Do not touch." Obey these signs! In addition, traditional preparation of study skins has in the past involved the use of certain chemicals as preservatives, therefore no food or drink will be allowed in the lab.

Course description: This course covers the diversity and life history of living and extinct mammals; their fossil record; evolutionary relationships among living groups; taxonomy; identification; biogeography and distribution; and fundamentals of mammalian evolution.
Course prerequisites: Biol 317 or permission from instructor; Junior standing or above.
Course goals and expected outcomes: The major goal of the course is to provide you with a familiarity of mammals sufficient to apply to a professional and/or graduate-level research or management career in biology. Specific objectives include the following:
1) Identify all the orders and selected families of mammals and understand the phylogenetic relationships among them.
2) Identify all of the terrestrial mammals of Alaska, know their general distribution, and be able to discuss key aspects of their natural history.
3) Appreciate and discuss the morphological, physiological, and behavioral diversity of mammals throughout the world.

Course instruction will consist of hourly lectures twice a week, a weekly lab, textbook and lab readings, and classroom discussion.
Course policies: Material presented in all lectures and labs scheduled during normal class periods is fair game on any quiz or exam. Participation in lecture and lab discussions will count towards your final grade (see below). Lectures and lab will begin immediately upon the hour of scheduled meeting times. Plagiarism and other forms of cheating will result in an automatic "F" in the class.
Please turn off or silence cell phones during class and lab. A cell phone ringing during class or lab will result in a deduction of 1% from your final grade; in addition, if your cell phone goes off during a test or quiz, you will be penalized 10% for that exam.
Attending office hours at least once during the semester is highly encouraged. Students who attend at least one office hour will automatically earn 1% of the 5% of the grade based on participation.
Disabilities Services: The Office of Disability Services implements the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and insures that UAF students have equal access to the campus and course materials. We will work with the Office of Disabilities Services (203 Whit., 474-7043) to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities.

Additional course information:

This class requires extensive memorization of taxonomic nomenclature, anatomical features, and paleontological dates (in addition to lecture and reading material). This can seem daunting, but it is nonetheless necessary to gain an appreciation and understanding of mammalian diversity and evolution. Study groups are strongly encouraged.

Handouts and other materials will be made available on Blackboard, not necessarily prior to class (handouts will also be provided at the beginning of each lecture).
Extracurricular opportunities: One or more voluntary activities outside of class time will be scheduled to provide you with the opportunity to learn specimen dissection and preparation in the University of Alaska Museum's mammal research collection. You will learn about the value of museum specimens in science and conservation in both lecture and lab.
Guest lecturers: A number of researchers at UAF study mammals, making this a particularly good place to learn about them. There are several guest lectures scheduled for the class. Content from all of these lectures will be included in lecture and/or lab exams.
Course project: There is no term paper per se required for this class. [B]Instead, each student will be required to prepare a new Species Account for the Animal Diversity Web. This will be discussed further in lecture and lab, but you should visit the Animal Diversity Web at:
to get an idea of what's involved (go to "Mammals," then "Classification," then browse by Order. You can also search by "University of Alaska Fairbanks" to read accounts published by students in previous Mammalogy classes). You need not select an Alaskan species for your account, but you should discuss your choice with the instructor or TA prior to commencing. You must identify a species and get approval from the instructor or TA no later than 15 October (a minimum of 3 peer-reviewed publications with life history or other information on your selected species must be presented) and have a rough draft (worth 20% of the total term project) turned in for review no later than 17 November (but earlier is better!). [C]Each student must meet individually with the instructor at least once during office hours or after lab to go over the [D]instructor's comments on their draft. Professional mammalogists with relevent expertise will then be sought, by the instructor, to conduct a [D]peer review of the account. [A]A final revision addressing all feedback will be due on the last day of class, upon which 20% of the course grade will be determined. Accounts will then be considered for online publication by ADW staff. The decision to publish your account will occur after grades are due and will not be a factor in your grade determination. Revisions requested by ADW will be voluntary on your part.

Much of the material covered in this course is also available on this web page, and you are strongly encouraged to read through the information in the "Information" tab and familiarize yourself with all the hyperlinked text in this section. Future mammalogy students will benefit from your contributions. This is the internet at its best!
Grading: Your final grade will be determined based on the following:

15% Midterm (40% essay questions, 60% other [short answer, multiple choice, true/false]) (15% total grade x 40% essay=6% total grade)

25% Cumulative Final Exam (60% essay questions, 40% other) (25% x 60%=15% total grade)


5% Lab Exam I

5% Lab Exam II

10% Unannounced lab quizzes (covering both lecture and lab material, essay or short answer questions) (10% total grade x 100%=10% total grade)

5% Participation (1/5th of which you can earn just by coming to an office hour!)

15% Lab final


5% Term project, rough draft

15% Term project, completed (20% total grade x 100% written=20% total grade)
Total: 100%

2004 2006 2008

A= 90-100 5 3 3

B= 80-89 8 7 7

C= 70-79 7 3 8

D= 60-69 1 1 0

F= 59 or below 1 0 0

6%+15%+10%+20%=51% of final grade derived from writing activities.

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