Field Methods In Ecology

Instructor: Edward F. Connor

Professor of Biology

San Francisco State University

Office: HH 545 Phone: (415) 338-6997 email:

Prerequisites: One semester of college biology or permission of instructor

This course includes both an introduction to methods for sampling and studying a variety of organisms in the field, and an introduction to how to design sampling programs and interpret the data collected. The principles for the design, execution, and interpretation of data derived from field sampling programs and experiments will be the focus of this course. Methods for sampling aquatic invertebrates and fish, small mammals, insects, plants, and birds will also be discussed and demonstrated. Data collection for impact assessment and environmental monitoring will also be a component of the course. Projects from previous years include:











Students will be involved in designing field sampling programs, sampling and studying natural populations, compiling and entering data into computer data files, analyzing data, and interpreting and presenting the results on the sampling programs.

Each days activities will involve time in the classroom for lectures and designing sampling programs, time in the field to study, observe, sample, and collect data, and time in the lab to compile, analyze, interpret, and report results.

Clothing: Bring clothes appropriate for use in the field. Bring clothes that will protect you from thorns, poison oak, and insect bites. Be prepared to get wet and dirty.

Equipment: Most sampling equipment will be provided. But, bring notebooks, pencils, pens, calculators, laptop computers (if you have one), and binoculars (if you have a pair).

Books: A small library of reading and reference materials pertinent to the course topic will be available on site.

Car Pooling: We will be driving short distances to field sites, and this will require some car pooling.

Timing: Plan to arrive at the camp by Sunday evening. The first meeting will be at 8:00 am on Monday  so be ready to go at that time. The class will break up on Friday afternoon.

Enrollment: You may obtain more information on this and related courses by visiting the Sierra Nevada Field Campus page. If you'd like additional information, email or call me at the numbers above.

Other Lecture Material (Powerpoint files)