Arizona Field Course
Arizona Desert Ecology and Herpetology 2023-24
School of Environmental & Natural Sciences
Module - Semester 1
10 day field course in Arizona and New Mexico or equivalent areas, focused on herpetology and desert ecology.
Prepare for field course by background reading. Carry out field excursions to habitats, including both daytime and nighttime fieldwork and lab work. Learn about the habitats and fauna by a variety of means, including personal observations, talks by BU and local staff. Observe and record animal behaviour and habitat by various means that may include photography, video recording and/or sketching.
Under staff supervision, practice capturing and handling of fauna, particularly reptiles and amphibians, while observing ethical and safety protocols. Carry out species identification using field guides and keys. At the end of the fieldwork, an assignment will be set which will include numerical analysis of data, observations or material collected in the field.
-threshold -Threshold: Can record observations in a reasonably clear and systematic fashion and has some grasp of the practical issues relating to collection and presentation of data/observations. Considerable inconsistencies in note-taking remain. Exhibits some knowledge of habitats and biota visited and the relevant conservation/ management issues, although this may be very incomplete and contain significant errors. Presents findings largely accurately and clearly. Able to identify most organisms at least to the level of major group.Grade D & C (40-49%)
-good -Good: Can record observations clearly and systematically, with a grasp of the practical issues relating to collection and presentation of data/observations, and few major omissions. Exhibits strong knowledge of habitats and biota visited. Shows awareness their ecological, biogeographical and environmental context. Able to identify a majority of organisms to the appropriate level (usually species). Presents findings accurately and with flair, clarity and originality.Grade B (60-69%)
-excellent -Can record observations thoroughly, systematically and clearly, without significant omissions, taking trouble to find out details of identification to fine taxonomic level or to uncover theories of the function and evolution of the behaviour observed. Clear evidence of original, unguided observations. Exhibits clear awareness of the ecologica, biogeographical or environmental context of observations. Presents findings accurately and succinctly with clarity, imagination, originality and strongly-developed aesthetic sense. Able to identify most organisms to species level, with evidence of thoroughness and awareness of potential pitfalls.Grade A (70-100%)
- Demonstrate identification skills and knowledge relating to fauna of visited regions.
- Demonstrate the ability to make detailed, thorough and original field observations and to record and present them systematically.
- Demonstrate the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (undertaking directed reading, time management, working to a deadline)
- Demonstrate understanding of the factors governing distribution and habitat use and niche partitioning in animals.
Numerical exercise Practical report analysing data collected during field course.
Exam (Centrally Scheduled)
ID Quiz Test of identification skills of reptiles and amphibians OR arthropods using identification keys and field guides. Test to be run while in the USA.
Logbook Or Portfolio