Days, times and place to be determined
Bldg. 970 Natural Area Drive
Updated August 2013

Instructor and Office Hours:
Dr. Marc Branham
Room 2005 Steinmetz Hall (Entomology Building)
Bldg. 970 Natural Area Drive
P.O. Box 110620
TEL 352-273-3915
FAX 352-392-0190

Office hours: Monday 1:00-4:00 p.m., or by appointment

Course Description: In the broad sense, this course intends to acquaint students with the importance of systematic research on insects and the techniques used in this endeavor. The specific goal of this course is to provide students with the skills necessary to produce systematic manuscripts - mainly oriented toward documenting morphological variation. The techniques required to do so are often specific to the taxa under study, or the end product desired. Familiarity with the appropriate methods for a given study is necessary for achieving a finished product of high quality. Unfortunately, and all too often, using suboptimal techniques yields scientifically inaccurate descriptions. This course is designed to take the student from a live insect to a publishable manuscript. Students will apply techniques presented in class to a project they largely complete outside of class. These projects include multiple techniques that must be completed in a specific series. Decision-making, problem solving and experimentation by the students is encouraged in order from them to select the most appropriate techniques and their sequence of application. These selections (and the student’s finished product) will be evaluated at the end of course, both by the instructor and by fellow classmates via an open-class critique. The open-class critique is useful for students to evaluate the outcomes of other techniques, their combination and effectiveness in communicating important details.

Objectives and goals

Final Project: Each student is to turn in a final project. Final projects will consist of student work employing at least four techniques presented in this course. Examples of these four methods must be documented as the four main sections of the final project portfolio. For example, if an inked plate for publication is the final product of the project, a student’s portfolio should consist of a) the ink drawing prepared as a plate for publication (following the submission requirements of the journal it is being submitted to) as well as three additional sections that might include b) the drawing tube sketch of the subject, c) the permanent slide that was made of the subject prior to sketching it and d) a discussion of any preparations that were made to the subject prior to slide mounting (i.e., fixing, clearing, staining, etc.) Obviously, you are likely to employ many more than four techniques before you finish the final step.

Discuss with your instructor which steps you should include in your final project portfolio - well before the end of the semester. I would also suggest that you extensively document each of the steps you employ, not only for possible use in your Portfolio, but also for your own personal use in the future.

TO TURN IN: The Final Project Portfolio must include:
a) A 3-5 page written description of the techniques you used to arrive at the final product,
b) Examples of four techniques you used in producing the final product,
c) Both a hard copy and an electronic copy of your final product,
d) A photocopy of the submission guidelines for publication from the journal you choose (which you will follow in the preparation of your plate)
e) And the actual specimen (or part of the specimen) that was illustrated or photographed.
The complete Portfolio is to be handed in at (1:55pm sharp, on Dec. 6.)
Previously prepared materials (or prepared plates) are not to be used for your portfolio. If you have questions or concerns, ask me.
[More details about the how the Portfolio should be organized will be presented in class.]

The class exercises and quizzes will only cover material presented in class. No quizzes can be made up without prior approval, but the lowest quiz score will be dropped. Exercises will generally focus on the students applying concepts recently presented, either individually or in a group setting.

Final project (portfolio) - 70%
Class exercises and quizzes 20%
Class participation (collecting, discussions, etc.) 10%

A = 90-100%
B+ = 85-89%
B = 80-84%
C+ = 75-79%
C = 70-74%
D+ = 65-69%
D = 60-64%
E = 0-59%

Subject to change
WEEK 1: Introduction, Techniques for preserving specimens.
WEEK 2: Techniques for preparing insect cuticle; making permanent and temporary microscope slides.
WEEK 3: Microscopy I: Optical theory, stereomicroscopes.
WEEK 4: Microscopy II: Compound microscopes.
WEEK 5: Microscopy III: Electron microscopes.
WEEK 6: Scientific Illustration I: By hand.
WEEK 7: Scientific Illustration II: By computer.
WEEK 8: Macro Photography I: By hand.
WEEK 9: Macro Photography II: Commercial systems.
WEEK 10: Image manipulation, file transfer, and storage.
WEEK 11: Zoological nomenclature and the Publishing Process.
WEEK 12: Databases (specimen, morpho., molecular, image).
WEEK 13: Demonstration of phylogenetic software packages.
WEEK 14: Final Project (Portfolio).
WEEK 15: Final Project Critique

Critical Dates for Exams or Other Work: Please see the printed syllabus for scheduled dates of exams. Midterm exams are scheduled to last 1.5 hours, and will usually begin one-half hour before normal class time, depending on student schedules. Exams consist of short answer and essay questions. There is no final examination. Students will be expected to sign the following statement on all exams: "On my honor I pledge that I have neither given nor received assistance in the completion of this test.

Policy Related to Class Attendance: Attendance is not taken in class and is not required. However valuable information and discussion will be missed if the student does not attend class.

Policy Related to Make-Up Exams or Other Work: Missed exams cannot be made up except in the case of prior excused absence or family or medical emergencies. Late assignments will lose 10% of their value each day after 5:00 p.m. on the due date. Weekends count as one day. Late assignments will not be accepted more than one week after their due date.

Class Demeanor Expected by Instructor: Please be considerate of your classmates by not chatting during lecture. The banging of doors is very distracting to both students and professor, therefore please arrive on time and do not leave early. Turn off cell phones and beepers before coming into classroom. UF rules prohibit your having food or drinks in classrooms. Use of tobacco products (in any form) in the classroom is prohibited.

Additional General Information: The following information applies to all courses at the University of Florida.

We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standard of honesty and integrity.

Academic Honesty: As a result of completing the registration form at the University of Florida, every student has signed the following statement: "I understand that the University of Florida expects its students to be honest in all their academic work. I agree to adhere to this commitment to academic honesty and understand that my failure to comply with this commitment may result in disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the University."

Copyrighted Materials and Software Use: All students are required and expected to obey the laws and legal agreements governing copyrighted material and software use. Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator. Because such violations are also against University policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate.

Plagiarism: The UF Science and Engineering policy about plagiarism is located here. Please read it. Plagiarism will not be tolerated in this course.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation.

University Counseling Services: Resources are available on-campus for students having personal problems or lacking clear career and academic goals which interfere with their academic performance. These resources include:

1. University Counseling Center, 301 Peabody Hall, 392-1575, personal and career counseling;
2. Student Mental Health, Student Health Care Center, 392-1171, personal counseling;
3. Sexual Assault Recovery Services (SARS), Student Health Care Center, 392-1161, sexual counseling; and
4. Career Resource Center, Reitz Union, 392-1601, career development assistance and counseling.