Field Herpetology (ZOOL 327 – 3 semester hours)
Meeting time: May 13-30 (Monday – Thursday, full day)
Instructor: Dr. Tom Blanchard (University of Tennessee at Martin)
Phone: (731) 881-7594
The Reelfoot Lake area provides a great variety of aquatic and terrestrial habitats that supports a diverse assemblage of amphibians and reptiles. The lake itself is a relatively shallow, natural lake with abundant emergent and submerged vegetation and extensive areas of periodically flooded cypress forests. The loess bluffs that are to the east and south of Reelfoot Lake offer upland habitat unlike that which is found throughout most of northwest Tennessee. This course offers a great opportunity to observe a number of amphibian and reptile species in their natural habitats. The course will focus on the basic ecology of amphibians and reptiles, common techniques used to capture, handle, and mark various species, and the analysis of ecological data. Each day will include a 1 – 2 hr. lecture, followed by field trips to different habitats around the Reelfoot Lake area. Night-time sampling will be a common activity during this course. Prerequisites: BIO 130 and 140 or instructor's approval.
Field Ornithology (ZOOL 323 – 3 semester hours)
Meeting time: June 4-July 5 (Tues., Thur., alternate Frid., Full day)
Instructor: Dr. H. Dawn Wilkins (University of Tennessee at Martin)
Phone: (731) 881-7188
Field Ornithology is designed to teach students how to identify birds and to give students a better understanding of what it means to be a professional field ornithologist. We will investigate the numerous habitats around Reelfoot Lake as students learn to identify a wide range of species. In addition, students will use the scientific method and common field techniques in ornithology as they participate in research projects. Projects include observing differences in diversity between habitat types, censusing owls, erecting and monitoring nest boxes, observing interactions within heron rookeries, and mapping Osprey/Eagle nests. This course will require extensive field work in a variety of situations including hiking, wading, canoeing, and boating. Prerequisites: BIO 130 and 140 or instructor's approval.
Aquatic and Wetland Plants (BIOL 462 – 3 semester hours)
Meeting time: June 3-July 3 (Mon., Wed., alternate Frid., Full day)
Instructor: Dr. Lisa Krueger (University of Tennessee at Martin)
Phone: (731) 881-3171
Plants are a diverse group of organisms that play vital roles in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Aquatic and Wetland plants is a field-oriented course designed to introduce students to the biology, ecology, and taxonomy of aquatic and wetland plants, with an emphasis on sight recognition and identification of species using diagnostic keys. The course includes field trips to various aquatic and wetland habitats around the Reelfoot Lake area where students will collect plant material that will then be identified through keying in the lab upon return. Some brief coverage of aquatic and wetland plant adaptations and the biological classification of hydrophytes will be developed in lectures. As many agencies are interested in hiring people with plant identification skills, this course may be of particular interest to students planning to pursue careers in environmental biology or ecology. This course requires field work involving physical activities such as hiking, wading and canoeing. Prerequisites: BIOL 130 and 140 or instructor's approval.
Geology of the Greater Reelfoot Lake Ecosystem (GEOL 485 – 3 semester hours)
Meeting time: June 3 - June 14 (Monday-Friday, 9 – 4 p.m.)
Instructor: Dr. Michael A. Gibson (University of Tennessee at Martin)
Phone: (731) 881-7435
Reelfoot Lake is an unusual as lakes go because it formed due to earthquakes that re-routed the Mississippi River, and geologic processes still dictate its size, shape, location, and other physical characteristics. This unique lacustrine ecosystem is home to an incredible array of plants and animals. The basins and sediments in the lake, the surrounding floodplain of the Mississippi River, and nearby Chickasaw Bluff glacial and pre-glacial deposits define the parameters in which these organisms must adapt. This course is an examination of over 30 million years of geologic process and materials that formed and have subsequently shaped Reelfoot Lake, its surrounding drainage area, and living and fossil ecosystems. Topics include: Modern geologic processes and sediments of fluvial and lacustrine systems emphasizing Reelfoot Lake and Mississippi River, geologic history of the Upper Mississippi Embayment region, fossils and paleoecology of the region, and environmental issues such as earthquakes, flooding, mass wasting, and water contaminants. Field and laboratory emphasize techniques used in geologic investigations of these systems. Prerequisites: BIO 130 or instructor's approval.