Senior Seminar, ECOL 4950, University of Georgia, Fall, 2011

We will update this page as the semester progresses.
Students should check it at least weekly for assignments, deadlines, and other information.


General course goals

  1. Career development -- Curriculum vitae
  2. Presentation skills -- Book report
  3. Learning methods in large-scale ecology and quantitative analysis -- Assignments
  4. Learning local natural history -- Survey of moths and wildflowers

Time -- 3:45-4:25PM, Monday

Dates -- The following is our tentative schedule based on UGA's official calendar for Fall Semester, 2011. It may change for logistic and other reasons.
  • 15 Aug -- INTRODUCTION
    • Course structure
    • Student introductions
    • Assignment-1:
      Write at least a 2-page curriculum vitae. Due before class 12 September.
      Email it as a pdf, doc or html attachment to -- Subject: 'ECOL 4950 -- CV -- your name'
      For examples, click here.

       [Add: 15-19 Aug; Drop: 15-18 Aug]
  • 22 Aug -- The Big Why -- What are the 10 most pressing ecological questions?
    • Class Questions
      Please list the 1) author, 2) year, 3) title, 4) publisher, and 5) ISBN of a book NOT on the list at the bottom of this page that contains subject matter relevant to this class.
      Due before midnight Wednesday, 7 September.
      Email it to -- Subject: 'ECOL 4950 -- Book -- your name'

  • 29 Aug -- Tragedy of the Commons
    Bring your brain to class.

       [5 Sep -- Labor Day Holiday]

  • 12 Sep -- Large-scale natural history questions
    Bring a digital camera that passes the Dime Test.

    • Assignment-3:
      Detail your 3 most pressing ecological questions.
      Due before class 19 September.
      Email them to -- Subject: 'ECOL 4950 -- Ecological questions -- your name'
      Ecological Questions

  • 19 Sep -- Inventory and monitoring techniques
    Bring a laptop to class.

    • Assignment-4:
      • Upload photographs of at least 5 moth species to your album, documenting where and when you took them.
        We will start identifying these in class on Monday.
        Due before 5:00PM, Sunday, 25 September.

      • Send an email to -- Subject: 'ECOL 4950 -- Book report -- partners' names'
        with partners names, book title, and date at which you will give your report. Due before 5:00PM, Wednesday, 21 September.

  • 26 Sep -- Species identification; Quantitative methods
    • Assignment-5:
      Upload photographs of at least 10 wildflower species to your album, documenting where and when you took them.
      We will start identifying these in class on Monday.
      Due before 5:00PM, Sunday, 2 October.

  • 3 Oct -- Biotic survey
    Bring a laptop to class.

    • Assignment-6:
      Read and evaluate the Ecological Questions
      Select the best three; identify the question by the name and number, restate it in your own words, and then critique it in a paragraph.
      Email your three paragrpahs to -- Subject: 'ECOL 4950 -- Best ecological questions -- your name'
      Due before 5:00PM, Sunday, 9 October.
      Best Questions

       [Midterm: 6 Oct]

  • 8 Oct -- Optional Field Trip
    Bring camera
    3:30PM -- State Botanical Garden -- Goldenrod patch under power line by river. (Take first right; then first right.)

  • 10 Oct -- Ecological Questions


       [Withdrawal Deadline: 20 Oct]

  • 24 Oct -- --Double Session--Class Discussion
    • Assignment-7:
      Read Mothing, especially the Results and Analysis sections. What specific questions would you want to ask from these and similar moth datasets from other sites? Be prepared to discuss one of your questions in class. What is your hypothesis? How would you test it?

       [Fall Break: Friday, 28 Oct]


  • 7 Nov--Double Session--Book reports--The Diversity of Life and Last Child in the Woods and A Land of Ghosts and Walden


       [21 Nov -- Thanksgiving Holiday]

  • 28 Nov--Double Session--Book reports--Collapse and The Future of Life and Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and 1491

  • 5 Dec -- Book reports--The Windward Road and The Forgotten Pollinators

       [Reading Day: 7 Dec]

  • 14 Dec, Wednesday, 3:30-6:30 -- Final survey reports (no exam)

       [Grades due: 20 Dec, 5:00PM]



Assignment% Grade
1) Class attendance/assignments20
2) Curriculum vitae10
2) Book report20
5) Natural history inventory: image album with 50 identified species50


There will be no mid-term or final exam.

Academic honesty

All academic work must meet the standards contained in "A Culture of Honesty." Students are responsible for informing themselves about those standards before performing any academic work. The link to more detailed information about academic honesty can be found at:


The course has no assigned text. You will be expected to present a book report to the class with a partner, starting on 17 October. Select from the following:


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