Schaefer Lab

Ichthyology (BSC 414/514L) Class Links

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Ichthyology - BSC 414/414L, BSC 514/514L

Instructor:Jake Schaefer
Phone: 601-266-4928
Course Homepage:
Office hours: Monday, Wednesday 8:00-9:00 am, Tuesday 8:00-11:00am. If these office hours don't fit your schedule please see me for alternate times when we can schedule a meeting. Feel free to contact me after class or through email to set up a meeting time.
Office: 102 TEC
Lectures: 1:15-2:45 Monday, Wednesday in WSB 153
Labs: 3:00-6:15 Monday in WSB 153
Textbook Diversity of Fishes, Second Edition by Gene Helfman, Bruce Collette, Douglas Facey and Brian Bowen
Course Objectives

  • Recognize all major taxonomic groups of fishes
  • Ability to identify freshwater fishes of the Southeastern US
  • General knowledge of the science of ichthyology
  • Understanding of basic anatomy and physiology of fishes
  • Understanding of the evolution, systematics, and zoogeography of major groups of fishes
  • Appreciation of current issues concerning conservation and fisheries applications

Grading Policy

There will be three inclass exams. For the most part, these exams will also divide the semester into units based on the topics we cover. There will also be two papers you will write during the semester. Final grades are assigned in a standard 90-80-70 scale with no curve and no extra credit. The point values are as follows:

Exam 1 100 points
Exam 2 100 points
Lab Practical 1 100 points
Lab Practical 2 100 points
Diversity Paper 100 points
Class Presentation (Graduate only) 50 points
Lab Participation 50 points
Final Exam (cumulative) 200 points

Total 750 points (800 graduate)

See the course calendar for exam dates. This calendar is subject to change, and all changes will be announced in class and on the course web page. Exams will consist of a variety of question formats. All questions will come from lecture material and assigned readings in the textbook. Finally, academic integrity is considered fundamental to the learning environment. Acts of dishonesty are not acceptable and will be dealt with appropriately.

Attendance Policy

I strongly encourage your attendance at lecture. Although your attendance record is not calculated into your overall course grade, experience has shown me that students having several absences do not perform well on exams. If you miss a lecture, find someone in class to tell you what you missed or see me during office hours. It would be wise to borrow a classmate's notes and/or read the textbook because we cover important material every day. If you have to miss class, I would be happy to go over what you missed during my office hours.

Course Workload

Students are expected to invest considerable time outside of class in learning the material for this course. The expectation of the University of Southern Mississippi is that each week students should spend approximately 2-3 hours outside of class for every hour in class working on reading, assignments, studying, and other work for the course. Time management is thus critical for student success. All students should assess their personal circumstances and talk with their advisors about the appropriate number of credit hours to take each term, keeping in mind that 30 credit hours each year are needed to graduate in four years. Resources for academic support can be found here.

Field Work
There will be field trips during lab times and attendance on trips is mandatory. A large portion of your lab partition grade will be based on attendance and participation in collecting trips. On these trips, active participation will involve you getting wet and possibly muddy. Appropriate dress includes old tennis shoes or boots, long pants (shorts are OK but do not offer much protection). We will provide you with a set of waders if you want, however these are quite warm and may not be comfortable during the summer. If you are not a particularly strong swimmer, please let me know and life vests will be available. We will make every attempt to collect in streams and rivers that are easy to access, shallow and clean. However, this is not always possible. Please be prepared.

There will be two field trips that last more than one day, one to southwestern Arkansas and one to northern Mississippi. For these trips we will leave as early as possible on Friday, stay overnight on location, sample and return late on Saturday. Attendance at one of these two trips is mandatory, extra credit (40 points, the equivalent of half a letter grade) will be awarded if you attend and participate in both trips.

Finally, please do not attempt to handle snakes while on field trips, we may encounter poisonous species.

Dates of Interest

For information on the last day to drop this class, see the academic calendars published by the Office of the Registrar.

The final exam will be administered at the scheduled time, see the final exam schedule published by the Office of the Registrar.

Class Disruptions

Please respect the other students in the class by not causing disruptions. This includes cell phones ringing, having conversations with others in the class or other disruptive behavior.

Missed Exams

In general, all exams must be taken in class on time. If there is some reason you can not take an exam at that time, please see me ahead of time. If you miss an examination for medical reasons, please give me a written statement to that effect signed by the attending physician. Documentation will be accepted only up to one week following the missed examination. Exams missed without medical documentation or prior consent of the instructor result in a grade of 0. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Disability Support Services

If a student believes that they have a disability which is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and makes them eligible to receive classroom or housing accommodations, they should contact the Office for Disability Accommodations (ODA) for information regarding the registration process. Disabilities covered by the ADA may include but are not limited to ADHD, learning disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, physical disabilities, chronic health disorders, temporary illnesses or injuries and pregnancies. Students should contact ODA if they are not certain whether their documented medical condition qualifies for ODA services. Students are only required to disclose their disability to the Office for Disability Accommodations. All information submitted to ODA by the student is held with strict confidentiality.


The University of Southern Mississippi Office for Disability Accommodations

118 College Drive # 8586

Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001

Voice Telephone: 601.266.5024 or 228.214.3232

Fax: 601.266.6035

Individuals with hearing impairments can contact ODA using the Mississippi Relay Service at 1.800.582.2233 (TTY) or emailing ODA at

Academic Integrity

All students at the University of Southern Mississippi are expected to demonstrate the highest levels of academic integrity in all that they do. Forms of academic dishonesty include (but are not limited to):

• Cheating (including copying from others’ work)

• Plagiarism (representing another person’s words or ideas as your own; failure to properly cite the source of your information, argument, or concepts)

• Falsification of documents

• Disclosure of test or other assignment content to another student

• Submission of the same paper or other assignment to more than one class without the explicit approval of all faculty members’ involved

• Unauthorized academic collaboration with others

• Conspiracy to engage in academic misconduct

Engaging in any of these behaviors or supporting others who do so will result in academic penalties and/or other sanctions. If a faculty member determines that a student has violated our Academic Integrity Policy, sanctions ranging from resubmission of work to course failure may occur, including the possibility of receiving a grade of “XF” for the course, which will be on the student’s transcript with the notation “Failure due to academic misconduct.” For more details, please see the University’s Academic Integrity Policy. Note that repeated acts of academic misconduct will lead to expulsion from the University.


Note: This syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor. All changes will be announced in class.