BIO 307 ~ Spring 2014 ~ Course Syllabus  


    WELCOME TO ECOLOGY (Section 01)!

This course at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse explores the interactions between living organisms and their environments. Topics to be discussed include:  Principles of Evolution Environmental Conditions and Resources, Habitats and Niches Soil Ecology, Terrestrial  and Aquatic Ecosystems,  Population Ecology Life Tables and Survivorship Curves Life History Patterns, Population Growth Models, Interspecific Competition Predation Parasitism and Disease Mutualisms Decomposers and Detritivores Nature of the Community, Community Energetics, Community Structure, Community Stability, Principles of Island Biogeography, Patterns of Species Diversity Biogeochemical Cycles, Pest and Weed Control Harvesting, Hunting and Fishing, and Biological Conservation.


Instructor: Rick Gillis      Office: 3014 Cowley Hall   PHONE: (608)-785-8253   Office Hours    E-Mail: 


Lecture & Exam Schedule       


Exam Scores & Grades


Text Book: Ecology by Cain, Bowman and Hacker (2nd edition), Sinauer Publishing. 


Note: The use of the text book in this course is optional.  Although you may wish to use it as an additional reference, there will be no reading assignments in the text nor will any test material be taken from it!


Course Description


A study of interactions that determine the distribution and  abundance of living organisms.  An evolutionary approach is utilized to develop an understanding of the nature of these interactions at indivi­dual, population and community levels of biological organization.  Prerequisites: BIO 204 and BIO 210 or BIO 203. Lecture 3 hrs. 


Method of Evaluation and Grading System


Course grades will be based on four, non-comprehensive, multiple-choice examinations given during normal lecture hours. Each exam will be worth 100 points (50 questions) for a course total of 400 points.  The material for these examinations will be taken from the lecture notes only!


Note: Any of the lecture exams may be taken prior to the date and time for which they are scheduled for any reason. With reasonable justification (such as illness, participation in an athletic event, the scheduling of an unreasonable number of exams and assignments on the same day or two, etc.), students may take lecture exams at a later date. In such cases, it is the responsibility of the student to find a time to take the exam during which the instructor is free and available. 


OPTIONAL D2L ON-LINE PRACTICE EXAMS: Prior to each lecture exam, you will have an opportunity to take an on-line practice exam over the same material. Each practice lecture exam will cover the same material as the actual lecture exam and will be in the same 50 question, multiple-choice format. These practice exams do not count for credit nor will any points be deducted for not taking them.


Suggestion: Although you can certainly use your notes while taking these practice exams, the actual exams are “closed-book/closed-notes”, so the best advice is to study for each exam and then take it to see where you are with respect to the material you need to know for the exam!


The total number of points received in the course is divided by 400 and multiplied by 100 to arrive at a percentage of points possible.  The final grade distribution used is as follows:


   A: 90-100%   AB: 87-89%  B: 80-86%  BC: 77-79%  C: 70-76%  D: 60-69%  F: 0-59%

Code Numbers

In keeping with the University of Wisconsin System and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requirements for maintaining student confidentiality in the grading process, lecture exam scores will be posted by a three-digit Code Number known only to the student and the lecture instructor on the following link:


To obtain a Code Number (as well as the Data Sheet for your writing assignment), visit your instructor in his office at your earliest convenience – this is the only way of obtaining this number (which must also be used for identifying your extra credit writing assignment)!




In addition to the points mentioned above, all students will have the opportunity to earn up to 20 points of extra credit by completing a required writing assignment consisting of a Results section of a journal-style article using a supplied data sheet.  As part of the Writing-Across-the-Major program endorsed by and adopted by the Department of Biology, this assignment is an integral component of the course that must be completed by each student.   


Note: If you fail to complete this writing assignment and turn it in personally to your instructor by the time and date indicated on your Course Syllabus as well as in the Instructions for Completing the Writing Assignment, 20 points will be deducted from your total course points!


For a detailed set of Instructions for Completing the Writing Assignment, click here.


Class Attendance


Attendance at all lectures sessions is a normal and expected component of this or any other course at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse!  You are responsible for any announcements, changes to the exam schedule, assignment due dates, etc. made during lecture. Failure to be aware of such announcements or changes due to missing class is not considered a valid excuse for having done so! 


Thus, if you fail to take a lecture exam before or during its scheduled hour because the date of the exam was changed and a new date was announced in class, this does not constitute “reasonable justification” for missing the exam, and you will receive a score of zero for that exam!


Students With Special Needs


Any student with a documented disability who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the instructor and the Disability Resource Services Office at the beginning of the semester.  Such accommodations are not a special privilege; they are your legally mandated right!

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