Vertebrate Zoology: Animal Systems, Evolution, and Ecology

Fall 2021
Junior - Senior
Class Size: 50
16 Credits per quarter
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Vertebrate animals represent a diverse and ecologically important component of all life on earth. They contribute to the vast majority of the described biodiversity on our planet and can be found in virtually every ecosystem from the deep ocean to the tops of our highest mountains.  They are integral to ecosystem functions at scales small and large. Despite this variation in form and ecology, vertebrates all share a set of distinctive shared traits. In this program we will gain a broad understanding of animal diversity and patterns of divergence by reviewing the major groups of vertebrates - fishes, herptiles, birds, and mammals. This program will investigate the relationship between form, function, and species interactions to gain a deeper understanding evolutionary processes and the role of ecology as the interface for evolutionary change. We will map the appearance and radiation of animals across geologic time and investigate global patterns of climate and ecosystem distribution and how animal biodiversity relates to those patterns.  

Course content will be covered via lectures, workshops, labs, and field outings. Learning will be assessed via: periodic assessments of textbook material, lab practical work and assessments, and field assignments including a nature journal. Connections between textbook learning and current research will be made via seminar discussions and a final project. Students completing the program will gain a foundation in evolutionary processes as they relate to vertebrates, animal ecology, comparative anatomy and physiology, and introductory concepts relating to advanced organismal biology, wildlife biology, ecology, and evolution.



General Biology with lab (a minimum of 8 credits)

Fall 2022 Registration

Academic details

Preparatory For

Environmental Science, Ecology, Conservation, Zoology, Wildlife Biology

Maximum Enrollment
Online Learning
Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers 25-49% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.
Class Standing
Upper Division Science Credit

Upper division science credit may be awarded upon successful completion of all program requirements and sufficient demonstration of upper division level work. Standard level credit will be awarded for completion of work below the expectations of Upper Division work. Credit will be awarded in Vertebrate Zoology, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, and Vertebrate Behavior.


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule