BIO 373 is about how animals cope, compete, and reproduce in the face of changing social and physical environments. Emphasis is on energy regulation, territoriality and dominance, behavioral adaptations to microclimate, behavioral endocrinology, mate choice, and social bonds. Significant library research and data collection in the field are required.
The course includes lecture and laboratory components plus plenty of class discussions of primary literature. Generally each lecture period starts with a 30-min discussion of an assigned reading before moving into additional subject matter. Lectures are based on textbook readings as well as case studies, original data, and an occasional video. Laboratory sessions relate to the material learned in lecture and/or aid in the development of student research projects. Each student is assigned a research project early in the semester based on their previous experience and interests. The student then works within a 2-4 member collaborative research team made up of other students with complimentary research goals. At pre-scheduled check-points during the semester, team members meet during lab time to present reports of their progress, set goals for the following weeks, and problem-solve with their classmates and instructor. At the end of the semester, student teams prepare a research poster that reports the results of each of the independent projects.