ENTM 60200 Insect Biology - syllabus
ENTM 69200 Analysis of Ecological Data - syllabus

Instructor Info

Jeff Holland
Assistant Professor
Office: SMTH B17
Phone: 494-7739

Office Hours

I have no set office hours, however if you contact me we can set up a time. I usually respond to email quickly, and this is often the fastest way to get information.


None, but the ability to read simple x-y graphs is important. Contact instructor if you are unsure about this.

Course Description

Students will gain an appreciation of various factors that influence the biodiversity of an area and why this is important. Examples of ecological studies will be presented to examine the factors impacting the biodiversity and show how this research is carried out.

Course Objectives

Students will learn how biological diversity is measured and used in scientific studies, and the reasons this diversity is posited to be important. Students will learn various facets of evolution as the driving force behind biodiversity. The course will stress species interactions, community dynamics, and spatial ecology as they relate to biodiversity.

Class Schedule

This is a lecture course with no laboratory component. The lectures are organized into three overall sections that cover: 1) Evolutionary influences on species diversity, 2) Human influences on diversity and how this is measured, 3) Why diversity is important. There will however be three interactive demonstration exercises that students will participate in and then write up. There will be mid-term and final exams, as well as several quizzes on the material of the past few lectures and reading assignments. Lectures make use of overhead projections, black/white-board, MS PowerPoint™ rarely, various props, and graphical computer simulations.

Week Of Lecture Topics
January 7 What is biodiversity and why is it important?
Overview of life present and past
January 14 Estimates of biodiversity
History of evolutionary thought
January 21 Speciation and diversity
Extinction and diversity
January 28 Trends in coevolution
Mechanisms in coevolution
February 4 Mechanisms in coevolution
Space, place, and evolution
February 11 The intermediate disturbance hypothesis
Fires fueling diversity – simulation & assignment
February 18 Species – area relationships
Measures of diversity (finally, some math!)
February 25 Scales and levels of diversity
Mid-term exam
March 3 Classification and species concepts
Introduced species and biodiversity
March 10 Spring vacation – no classes
Spring vacation – no classes
March 17 The equilibrium theory of island biogeography
Isolation and area – simulation & assignment
Mrch 24 Island biogeography and conserving biodiversity
Habitat loss and fragmentation
March 31 Metapopulations and metacommunities
Landscape ecology
April 7 Extinction thresholds, lags, and debts
The diversity-stability debate
April 14 Measuring biodiversity in the field – simulation & assignment
Ecosystem services and the precautionary principle
April 21 The value of biodiversity
Conservation of biodiversity
Exam Period Final Exam

Text (Required Reading)

Samways, M.J. 2005. Insect Diversity Conservation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

A few additional readings will come from selected books and journal articles that will be on reserve in the library.

Grading Policy

Grades will be assigned based on mid-term and final exam marks, three written exercises, and four quizzes on lecture and reading material. Mid-term and final exams will cover both lecture and reading material.

Assignment Points Grading Scale
Mid-term exam 25 90.0 - 100 % A
Final exam 25 80.0 - 89.9 % B
3 written assignments (3*10) 30 70.0 - 79.9 % C
4 random quizzes (4*5) 20 60.0 - 69.9 % D
Total 100 pts. < 60.0 % F

Students must contact me before missing either exam with a sufficiently serious excuse to avoid a mark of zero for the exam. Only one make-up exam time will be scheduled, and the students writing it will determine amongst themselves when this will occur and then contact me; it must occur within one week of the original missed exam. Written assignments are due at the beginning of class seven days after being assigned. Late assignments will be penalized 10%/day (not 10% of mark) with 'one day late' beginning immediately after the hand-in time. Missed quizzes cannot be made up. The lowest mark (percentage) received on one of the seven assignments or quizzes will be dropped. Students are urged to save this dropped mark for assignments or quizzes missed for legitimate reasons.

The Written Assignments

The in-class demonstrations on which these assignments will be based will take the form of a brief introduction lecture followed by the use of a graphical computer simulation that I will run in class to examine the phenomena being investigated. Students will provide input by making suggestions regarding simulation parameters and then record the results. The assignment will be written as a scientific study with Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Reference sections, and will be due one week later at the start of class. The first two simulation write-ups are to be done individually. These will be point form outlines only. For the third simulation write-up students will work in groups of 3-4 and hand in a single complete paper for the group. Each student in a group for the third written assignment will receive the same group mark. More detailed directions, suggestions, and a mark break-down for the assignments will be handed out in class.

The Quizzes

Quizzes will cover material from both the previous few classes and relevant readings. Students will be randomly assigned to small groups to complete the quizzes and will hand in one quiz for the group.

Attendance Policy

I expect students to be in attendance for all lectures and will not provide course notes beyond the handouts in class.

Academic Honesty

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Refer to Purdue University Regulations, Part 5, Section II).

Students with Disabilities

Adjustments to make the educational opportunity more accessible are available for students with disabilities. Refer to the Purdue University Policies and Procedures on-line handbook).

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