University of Mississippi, Department of Biology, BISC321, Introduction to Aquatic Biology

Biology 321 – Introduction to Aquatic Biology – Spring 2014

Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, Professor of Biology; 328 Shoemaker; 662-915-5803; stt@olemiss.edu; Office hours: MW 9-10:30 am, or by appointment.


Catalog Description of Course Objectives Principles of freshwater biology with emphasis on factors affecting ecology and populations in diverse aquatic environments.

Required course readings Moss, Brian. 2010. Ecology of Freshwaters: A view for the twenty-first century. 4th edition. Blackwell Scientific [or 2nd or 3rd editions]; McPhee, John. 2002. The Founding Fish. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux; and other readings as assigned.

Course grading Grades will be based on up to pop quizzes (10%), a midterm exam (20%), laboratory participation and reports (30%), and a final comprehensive examination (40%). Your grade will be the better of two grades determined on the following scales: Scale 1: A, > 90%; B, 80-89%; C, 70-79%; D, 60-69%; F, < 60%; Scale 2: A, > 1.5 standard deviations above the mean; B, from 0.5 to 1.5 standard deviations above the mean; C, + 0.5 standard deviations from the mean; D, from 0.5 to 1.5 standard deviations below the mean; F, > 1.5 standard deviations below the mean.

Make-up exams A single comprehensive make-up exam will be given immediately after the final exam for anyone who missed the midterm exam for any reason. None of the laboratories can be made up, and there will be no make-ups given for missed pop quizzes).

Schedule of lectures (MW, 11-11:50 am, 108 Barnard Observatory), reading assignments (in parentheses), and laboratories (Tu, 1-3:50 pm, 205 Shoemaker or at other designated locations); lecture and lab notes and handouts are available on blackboard.

  • 22 Jan Introduction; course objectives and requirements

  • 27 Jan Physical characteristics of water and constraints on life (Ch.2 & 3)
  • 28 Jan Lab 1: Hypothesis testing -- thermal stratification in standing waters
  • 29 Jan The chemistry of freshwater (Ch.4)

  • 3 Feb Light and temperature (Ch. 5)(FF: 1,2)
  • 4 Feb Lab 2: Scientific report writing
  • 5 Feb Evolution and diversity of freshwater organisms (Ch.6)

  • 10 Feb Headwater streams and rivers (Ch.7; FF: 3,4)
  • 11 Feb Lab 3: Data analysis -- hydrological variation from cypress tree rings
  • 12 Feb Degradation of upland streams (Ch. 8)

  • 17 Feb Middle stage and depositional floodplain rivers (Ch. 9 & 10; FF: 5)
  • 18 Feb Lab 4: Stream environments
  • 19 Feb Floodplain Ecosystems

  • 24 Feb Floodplains, continued (FF: 6)
  • 25 Feb Lab 5: Reservoirs
  • 26 Feb Reservoirs: life in river-lake hybrids (FF: 7)

  • 3 Mar Reservoirs, continued
  • 4 Mar Lab 6: Newspaper reports on reservoirs
  • 5 Mar Midterm Exam

  • 10-14 Mar Spring Break

  • 17 Mar Lakes and other standing waters (Ch. 11; FF:9, 10)
  • 18 Mar Lab 7: Field Station
  • 19 Mar Paleolimnology (FF: 11)

  • 24 Mar Paleolimnology, continued (FF: 12)
  • 25 Mar Lab 8: Field Station
  • 26 Mar The communities of shallow waters (Ch. 12)

  • 31 Mar Communities of the pelagic zone (Ch. 13)
  • 1 Apr Lab 9: North Mississippi Fish Hatchery
  • 2 Apr Nutrients, algal succession and grazing (FF: 13)

  • 7 Apr Predation and open water communities (FF: 14)
  • 8 Apr Lab 10: Water and Sewage Treatment
  • 9 Apr Freshwater fishes, biomanipulation and water quality (FF: 15)

  • 14 Apr Benthic-pelagic interactions (Ch. 14)
  • 15 Apr Lab 11: Newspaper accounts of water or sewage treatment
  • 16 Apr Fish production and freshwater fisheries (Ch. 16; FF: 16)

  • 21 Apr Biomanipulation for fisheries and water quality
  • 22 Apr Lab 12: Discussion of John McPhee's book The Founding Fish
  • 23 Apr Paleolimnology and the history of lakes (Ch. 10)

  • 28 Apr Aquatic biogeography and exotic species
  • 29 Apr Lab 13: Debate on Issues in Aquatic Ecology
  • 30 Apr Climate change and the future of aquatic habitats (Ch. 11)

  • 5 May Final examination, Noon, Monday


    Last Modified: Thursday,21 January 2014
    Copyright © 2014 Stephen Threlkeld. All Rights reserved.