Intro PageClass_Intro.html

Meeting Times

Lecture: Mondays & Wednesdays: 11 AM-12:15 PM in FA 301

Laboratory: Monday: 2:00 PM-5:00 PM in FA 252



C. Richard Tracy (dtracy@unr.edu)Sarah Snyder (ssnyder213@gmail.com)

     FA 259     FA 142

Fran Sandmeier (fcsandmeier@gmail.com)

     FA 140

Office Hours: by appointment

In this lab we are going to gain hands-on experience with reptiles and amphibians. The structure of labs will vary throughout the semester. First, we will use reference collections to become familiar with reptile and amphibian diversity. We will learn how to use dichotomous keys to identify animals using structural characters. Our primary focus will be on the herptofauna of Nevada and nearby California species. Next, we will use dissection as a tool to examine the internal anatomy and physiology of herps. The remaining labs will consist of experimental laboratories and field trips to local herp hot spots. The goal of this lab is for you to become more familiar with the natural history, ecology, and biology of a wide variety of amphibians and reptiles and in the process to have fun!

Lab Text (available in the bookstore)

Stebbins, R. C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians (3rd Ed.). Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA. 


You are expected to attend every lab. Attending lab is necessary to complete most graded assignments. If you are not able to attend a lab due to a valid conflict please notify the instructor as soon as possible so accommodations can be made.

Any student with a documented disability who feels they may need academic adjustments or accommodation is requested to speak with the instructor by the second week of class. All discussions will remain confidential. 

Field Trips

Later in the semester we will go on field trips. Dates may change due to weather. There will be two weekend field trips that are highly recommended, one will be an all-day trip to nearby CA and one will be an overnight trip to the Mojave Desert. These trips will provide you with the important opportunity to watch live amphibians and reptiles in their natural environment, note where and how they live, and practice field identification as well as keeping a field notebook.  The mid-week field trips are a mandatory part of the course. If you cannot attend the weekend trips additional field observations on your own time will be required and a summary of your observations will be presented on the last day of lab.

Graded Materials

You will have a number of graded assignments throughout the semester. Some will be in-class activities or quizzes and others will require work outside of class. We will go over guidelines in more depth as deadlines approach but below is an overview.

Laboratory practical- There will be one lab practical towards the beginning of the semester where you will be required to know amphibians and reptiles (or their parts) on sight (i.e., without keys or notes). No make-up practical will be given because of the substantial amount of time required to set up a lab practical.

Species account- Each student will complete four species accounts (one anuran, one chelonian, two squamates). Guidelines will be given

Lab reports- You will be required to write two professional laboratory reports as individuals. Reports do not need to be excessively long but should follow a standard format and convey your experimental design and the results you obtain. Guidelines will be given.

Group presentation- Your lab group will need to make a short (~10 min) powerpoint presentation of your research question and results from the lizard behavior lab to share with the other groups.

Field Notebook- You will record your observations of herps from field trips in a field notebook. The format of this notebook will be explained in more detail during lab.


Scavenger Hunt  10 pts (bonus pts available)

Species Summaries  20 pts

Lab Practical  60 pts

Amphibian Dissection Handout/Drawing  10 pts

Reptile Dissection Handout/Drawing    10 pts

Locomotory Performance Lab Report  20 pts

Chemoreception Lab Report  20 pts

Lizard Behavior Group Presentations  15 pts

Field Notebook  65 pts

Total230 pts

Tentative Lab Schedule


Biol 432/632, Herpetology LAB

  Great Basin Western ToadsGB_Western_Toads_2.html
Scavenger Hunthttp://dl.dropbox.com/u/8411712/Biol%20432/Lab/Scavenger%20Hunt.doc
     Lab LecturesLab_Lectures.html
Species Accountshttp://dl.dropbox.com/u/8411712/Biol%20432/Lab/SpeciesSummariesb.doc
Nevada Frogs and Toadshttp://dl.dropbox.com/u/8411712/Biol%20432/Lab/nvfrogs_toads_edit.pdf

Tyranosaurus rex

North America

Amphibian Lab Exercisehttp://dl.dropbox.com/u/8411712/Amphibians%20Lab%20Assignment.doc
New Species Accounts writeuphttp://dl.dropbox.com/u/8411712/Biol%20432/Lab/SpeciesSummariesc.doc
New Lab Schedulehttp://dl.dropbox.com/u/8411712/Biol%20432/Lab/HerpLabSchedule2012d.doc
Nevada Snakes Labhttp://dl.dropbox.com/u/8411712/Snakes%20Lab%20Assignment.doc
Nevada Lizards Labhttp://dl.dropbox.com/u/8411712/Biol%20432/Lab/Lizards%20Lab%20Assignment.doc
Open HerpLab Schedulehttp://dl.dropbox.com/u/8411712/Biol%20432/Lab/LabOpen.xlsx
Locomotary Performance Labhttp://dl.dropbox.com/u/8411712/Biol%20432/Lab/LocPerfAssignment.docx
Nevada Turtles Labhttp://dl.dropbox.com/u/8411712/Biol%20432/Lab/Turtles%20Lab%20Assignment.doc

Dick Tracy