Ecology and Evolution of Terrestrial Vertebrates Lab

Head Teaching Assistant


Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara
Level: Upper division undergraduate, 2 units
Role: Head Teaching Assistant
Quarters taught: Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Organismal ecology and evolution can be understood in the same terms used to describe distinguishing features - for example, bill shape, foot type, and dentition are common “clues” for identifying animals, but these all contribute to a species’ “ecology”: what role does it play in an ecosystem?

By the end of the class, students will feel confident in their grasp of the following basics of vertebrate ecology:

  1. To identify terrestrial vertebrates using “ecological clues”: habitat, behavior, morphology
  2. To understand animal survey methods and how they fit into experimental design

This class fulfills these goals with a combination of nature walks, monitoring of local field sites, assignments, and assessments for students to track their progress throughout the quarter.