Fall 2021 - BISC 360W D100

Techniques in Ecology and Evolution (3)

Class Number: 1627

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    BISC 202, BISC 204 (or GEOG 215), and STAT 201, all with C- or better.



A practical lab- and field-based introduction to techniques in ecology and evolution. Students will collect, analyze, and interpret data, using appropriate experimental design and statistical methods. Specific topics include: sampling and describing communities, evaluating spatial patterns, investigating animal behaviour, population estimation, estimating competition, and phylogenetic inference. Students who have taken BISC 404 Plant Ecology may not take BISC 360 for further credit. Writing.


This course is writing-intensive and some labs include an outdoor component, rain or shine.


Learning Outcomes:

This course aims to foster the following skills and qualities in students:         At a minimum, students should be able to:
Experimental design
  • design appropriate methods to collect observational or experimental data to address hypotheses
  • critique methods in published scientific papers
Interpretation of data
  • perform statistical analyses of observational and experimental studies
  • present results as tables or figures
  • interpret results of experiments
Reading skills
  • read and critically evaluate ecological studies in the primary literature
  • provide a synthesis of the results obtained from a number of separate studies
Writing skills
  • introduce a hypothesis to be tested, citing literature appropriately
  • interpret findings and compare them to existing literature


  • Worksheets and quizzes: 45%
  • Papers (write-ups of labs/experiments): 55%


This course outline is tentative and subject to change.

Delivery Method: Lecture: Synchronous (recorded), Remote; Lab: Synchronous, in-Person.

Midterm(s): none

Final Exam: none

LAB1   -    Th 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
SSCB 7222, Burnaby

LAB2   -   Fr 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
SSCB 7222, Burnaby

Note: Labs are in person


Effective immediately, the Department of Biological Sciences is adopting a mandatory mask policy for all areas under Biology’s control and in spaces elsewhere where Biology faculty teach, applying to everyone regardless of vaccination status.



Webcam and microphone, Computer

laptop computer with Microsoft Excel

Students will be required to purchase access to an online software package for one lab (estimated cost of $6 USD). Details will be provided by the instructors.


No textbook required. Readings from the primary literature will be made available on Canvas, and lab handouts will be provided as part of your course registration fee.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.