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Crash Course
BIOL 3454: General Zoology

Lecture: MWF 11:00-11:50 a.m.

Lab: various times

Instructor: Matt Nelson, biology lecturer

Catalog description: An overview of animal life including the diversity and evolution of major animal phyla, reproduction, development and aspects of physiological function. The laboratory examines form, function and phylogenetic relationships in a wide variety of animal types. Prerequisite: BIOL 1441, 1442, or equivalent, or permission of instructor.

About the instructor: Dr. Nelson did his undergraduate work at Texas Wesleyan University. He received a master's degree in biology from UT Arlington in 1997 and earned his Ph.D. in quantitative biology from UT Arlington in 2004. His research is mainly in behavioral ecology. He studies wolf spiders and occasionally works with reptiles and amphibians.

Required reading: Integrated Principles of Zoology by Hickman et al and an occasional online journal article.

Course format: The course is part lecture and part lab and usually includes around 160 students. This spring 189 students are enrolled in the course, which is a general survey of the animal kingdom, focusing on taxonomy, anatomy and certain physiological aspects of each group. Labs include dissections and looking at the specimens of the many animals that are studied. Students take three lecture tests and a comprehensive final exam. The lab grade, which accounts for 40 percent of the total grade, includes quizzes, worksheets and two lab practical exams.

Who takes the course: Primarily biology majors.

What the prof says: "We look at all of the major phyla (groups) of animals. We spend a lot of time on arthropods and chordates. Arthropods because they are arguably the most successful group on the planet and chordates because they are the group to which we belong. I mostly lecture, with a few personal anecdotes thrown in to keep it interesting. I also use the computer and show photos and a video or two."

Pop quiz

1. The closest living relatives of birds are probably
a. crocodiles
b. lizards
c. bats
d. frogs
e. platypuses

2. Plesiomorphies are
a. less evolved characteristics
b. newer characteristics
c. older characteristics
d. less adaptive characteristics
e. A and C

3. Which of the following does NOT have a circulatory system?
a. sponges
b. cnidarians
c. tapeworms
d. all these have a circulatory system
e. none of these have a circulatory system



1. a
2. c
3. e

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