BIOEE 4750

BIOEE 4750

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2019-2020.

This course covers many aspects of avian biology, including ecology, behavior, evolution, anatomy, physiology, and conservation. This is an active learning-style offering in which students complete pre-class work through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Bird Academy online learning platform, and then engage in interactive activities and exercises during class periods. This course may be taken alone, or students can choose to enroll simultaneously in one or both of the associated laboratory classes, one of which parallels the BIOEE 4750 content and one of which focuses on a survey of worldwide avian diversity.

When Offered Spring (offered in alternate years).

Prerequisites/Corequisites Prerequisite: 1 year of college-level biology, environmental science, or the equivalent.

Distribution Category (PBS-AS)

  • Demonstrate understanding of key concepts in classifying avian diversity including terminology, classification tools, and species concepts. Identify the defining features of avian orders and a subset of avian families as well as the geographic distribution of birds. Describe the challenges of delimiting species as well as the evolutionary processes that contribute to the formation of new species, including a thorough understanding of the importance of natural selection, sexual selection, and genetic drift.
  • Exhibit comprehensive knowledge of avian plumage, including an understanding of feather development and function, the differences between structural and pigmentary coloration, and molt patterns.
  • Explain the basic physical requirements of flight and the way that avian feathers, physiology, and behavior are adapted to meet these requirements.
  • Identify the important physical features of birds and explain how these systems (skeletal, muscular, respiratory, digestive, circulatory, nervous) work in conjunction to allow birds to adapt to such varied environments.
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the major physiological systems in birds (sensory, endocrine, brain, immune, metabolism) with a particular focus on how these systems are shaped by different life history characteristics.
  • Differentiate the major morphological and behavioral adaptations that are associated with variation in foraging style and nutritional demands in birds.
  • Characterize the costs and benefits of the most common types of avian social interactions including mate choice, cooperation, territory defense, dominance hierarchies, and group living.
  • Describe the importance and diversity of avian vocalizations, including the variation in focal repertoires, the process of song learning and development, mechanisms of song production, and functional role of bird song in communication.
  • Identify the main features of avian breeding biology (phenology, nests, clutch size, incubation, parental care) and describe how these characteristics vary across species with different life histories. Identify the key abiotic and biotic factors that limit bird populations and explain how those factors structure avian populations.
  • Define avian dispersal and migration and identify the selective forces and key adaptations that are critical for long distance migration, such as physiological flexibility, orientation, and seasonal timing.

View Enrollment Information

Enrollment Information
Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session. 

  • 3 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • 18341BIOEE 4750  LEC 001