Biology 524 Ornithology

Official Description: Study and identification of birds, especially those of the Pacific Coast and San Diego region. Six hours of laboratory or field excursions and a field project. Prerequisite: Biology 201. Strongly recommended: completion of three to six upper division units in the major.

What to Expect: Ornithology includes weekly field trips to local sites throughout San Diego County. These trips provide an opportunity to observe bird behavior first hand. There are also weekly lab meetings where we learn common names of over 150 species of local birds as well as the scientific names of major bird groups found throughout the world. An independent research project is required where you will gather your own data, analyze the data, write up your results, and present them to the rest of the class. Pictures from past field trips can be seen here. All of our data is uploaded to eBird.

Students registered in the class may access course content from the Canvas website.

Mount Laguna

Ornithology field trip site, Mount Laguna

Biology 509 Evolutionary Biology

Official Description: Evolutionary biology including genetics of populations, speciation, systematic biology, adaptation, role of development in evolution, evolution of behavior, and comparative biology. The course is taught from the perspective that evolutionary biology is the central organizing principle of biology. Two lectures and two hours of activity per week. Prerequisite: Biology 352.

What to Expect: This class involves conceptual thinking about current topics in Evolutionary Biology. There are two, one-hour lectures per week, but most learning takes place during discussion sections which also meet twice a week for one hour. Discussions focus on reading and interpreting the current scientific literature on evolutionary biology. Students should be prepared to work in groups. In addition, a term paper is required.

Students registered in the class may access course content from the Canvas site.


Tanager phylogeny
Evolution and Diversification of tanagers, from Burns et al. 2014