Fall 2003


Instructor: Dr. Marianna D. Wood


I prefer that you call me Marianna, and I will use your first name as well.


My office is 103 Hartline Science Center (on the green floor).  I’ll be in my office Tuesday 10-12, Wednesday 1-3, and Friday 1-2 .  If you would like to see me and these times are not convenient for you, we can arrange another time to meet.


My office phone is 389-4666.  If I do not answer, the call is transferred to voice mail, and you can leave a message.


The best way to contact me is by e-mail which I check regularly.  My address is


Course information is accessible from my website,


Course Description:

In Ecology and Evolution, you are introduced to two of the major areas of biology. Ecology is the study of organisms and their environment. In particular, ecology focuses on populations (individuals of the same species in a particular area), communities (interacting populations, such as predators and prey), and ecosystems (communities and non-living factors, such as incoming energy from the sun). Evolution is the unifying concept of biology and explains both the diversity and similarity of all living things.


As a general education course, this class should increase your understanding of an area outside your major and help you become a truly educated person. You will learn current concepts of biology and the nature of science and scientific inquiry. You will also grapple with the practical and ethical implications of science and technology.


Course Structure:

This section of Ecology and Evolution will be taught with a team-based learning approach. In team-based learning, students are responsible for reading course material and learning the basic concepts through individual study. Class time is then spent working in teams on applications of the course material.


To ensure that students read and assimilate the basic material and come to class prepared, each of the five major sections of the course begins with a Readiness Assessment Test (RAT). These tests are multiple-choice, cover the basic concepts from the reading, and take place before the material is covered in class. Each RAT is first taken individually; immediately after, you take the same RAT with other members of your team. Both the individual and team RAT scores are used in computing your course grade.


After completing the RAT, class time will be used to work in teams on application-based assignments. These assignments are opportunities to apply the basic concepts from the course to real situations. The assignments will require the team to report to the class. Also, I will grade a random selection of these team assignments and use the scores in computing your course grade.


At the end of the course, you will grade the contribution of your team members to the functioning of the team. Students who contribute fully will receive all the peer evaluation points, but anyone who does not pull his/her weight will receive less than full credit.


There are two additional individual components of the course. There will be a comprehensive, multiple-choice final exam during finals week. There is also an individual project evaluating Web sites for accuracy, authority, objectivity, currency, and coverage.


Course Evaluation:

Your grade will be determined by the points you earn for individual and team work according to this formula:



individual work



RATs, 5 x 20



final exam



Web site evaluation project



team work



RATS, 5 x 10



team projects



peer evaluation






Your points earned will be converted to a letter grade using this scale:




























Class Attendance Policy:

If you miss a class due to an excused absence as outlined in PRP 3605 Class Attendance (personal illness, death or critical illness in the immediate family, or participation in a college-sponsored co-curricular activity), you must provide official, written documentation to verify the reason for the absence. Documentation must be provided within 24 hours of your return to class.


Exams must be taken on the day they are scheduled. All make-up exams for students with excused absences will be essay exams. No make-up exams will be given for students with unexcused absences. If you have a certified learning disability such that you require additional time for test-taking, see me to make appropriate arrangements.


If you miss class when a graded team project is done, you will receive no credit for the team work. If you have an excused absence, you may make up the team project individually. No make-up work will be available to students with unexcused absences.

Class Schedule and Reading Assignments from the Textbook:




25 August – 27 August

introduction to the course


29 August

RAT 1: chapter 1 and chapter 13 (pages 242-256)

29 August – 5 September

the nature of science and biology, evolution



8 September

RAT 2: chapter 9 (pages 141-149, 154-159, 167-169) and

   chapter 13 (pages 256-269)

8 September – 26 September

patterns of inheritance, mechanisms of evolution



29 September

RAT 3: chapter 14, chapter 15 (pages 297-303, 311-312, 317-319), chapter 16 (pages 321-325, 341), and chapter 17 (pages 343-349, 367-378)

29 September – 20 October

evolution of biological diversity, human evolution



22 October

RAT 4: chapter 18 and chapter 19 (pages 428-437)

22 October – 10 November

earth’s diverse environments, organismal and population ecology



12 November

RAT 5: chapter 19 (pages 406-427 , 438-441) and chapter 20

12 November – 5 December

community ecology, ecosystems and conservation biology



8 December, 8:00 –10:00 AM

final exam



Required Text:

Campbell, N. A., J. B. Reece, and E. J. Simon. 2003. Essential biology, 2nd edition. Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco, California.



Students with Disabilities:

If you have a disability which requires accommodation in this course, please see me as soon as possible. I am happy to make appropriate accommodations, provided timely notice is received.