As part of this course, you will be required to take field notes for the field portion of the class which I will grade at the end of the semester. These field notes should be taken as if you were a naturalist describing the biology/ecology of a newly-discovered environment. An example of what I expect:
Date: October 22, 2011
Location: Fort DeSoto
Time: 09:30 – 09:45
Conditions: Heavy rain and wind, occasional lightning, severe flooding due to extremely high tides
Walking on the trail at the welcome center where the water was waist deep. At the southern red cedar tree I noticed a bull shark feeding on a brown pelican, at which time I turned around and went home.
Species identified (for species you identify, sketches are often helpful, maybe even indicate whether or not you took a picture. I STRONGLY suggest you take notes on any diagnostic characters we talk about):
Southern red cedar – 20 feet tall, with scaly, needle-like leaves, bluish berries, and brown, shredded bark
Brown pelican – large, brown bird, with a long, broad beak and a white head
Bull shark – 5 feet long, very deep-bodied (large girth), blunt nose
Obviously I don’t anticipate that you will encounter a scene such as this, but similar detail is required. Notes should be taken both in class and during your out-of-class excursions. Include drawings of plants/animals, key identifying features, terms we discuss etc. These notes will be extremely beneficial when studying for your field exam as well as preparing your collections. NOTE: field notes do not need to be typed, but I must be able to clearly read your writing. Also, a simple list of species we encounter will not be sufficient. To receive full credit, at a minimum you must have a set of field notes for every field trip we take. Should you miss a field trip, it is your responsibility to make up the trip on your own.