Syllabus: BIOLOGY 4900 – Special Topics: Behavior
Course Sort Number:  80484
Fall Semester 2021 -- 12:15 - 1:40 p.m., Monday & Wednesday, Peeples 111.

Dr. James K. Adams -- 164 Sequoya Hall      Off.: 706-272-4427     Cell: 678-767-5938
E-mail:       Faculty website:

Student Hours:  8:15 - 9:15 a.m., 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, M & W; 1:45 - 3:00 p.m. T & W.
Available much of Tuesday through Thursday afternoons, and Friday mornings most weeks.
Call ahead or e-mail ahead of time.

Kristen Weiss Sanders, M.S. -- 227 Peeples Hall        Phone: 404-465-2468
Student hours (all virtual via Teams, book via 
10:30-11:30 a.m., M & W; 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon Th; 9:30 -10:30 a.m. F

Textbook: Animal Behavior, 11th Edition, by Rubenstein and Alcock (ISBN: 9781605355481)


Syllabus: BIOLOGY 4900 -- Behavior. 2

Weekly Schedule: 3

August 9 - 12. 3

August 16 - 19. 3

August 23 - 26. 3

August 30 - September 2. 3

September 6 – 9

September 13 - 16. 4

September 20 - 23. 4

September 27 - 30. 4

October 4 - 7. 4

October 11 - 14. 4

October 18 - 21. 4

October 25 - 28. 4

November 1 - 4. 4

November 8 - 11. 5

November 15 - 18

. 5November 22 - 25

. November 29 - 30






Emergency Instructional Plan



Basic Needs Statement

Disability Access. 7

Crisis Resources. 9

Ethical Conduct. 7

Academic Dishonesty. 7

Classroom Behavior. 7

Campus Carry  7

Course Withdrawal Statement. 7

Full Withdrawal Statement. 8

Grade Appeals. 8

Academic Progression. 8

Title IX Information. 8

Student Well Being. 9

Officially Approved DSC Groups and Activities

Full URL Links. 9

Weekly Schedule:

August 9 - 12:  On Monday, we will introduce the course policies and introduce you to the course. Then we will talk about behavior from an evolutionary perspective, and discuss some of the simplest behaviors that virtually all organisms exhibit.  On Wednesday, we will have a guest lecture from Hussein Mohamed, talking about some simple eukaryotic organismal behavior, as well as fungal and plant behavior. We will give a few additional examples as well. Please peruse Chapter 1 in your textbook.

August 16 - 19:  We will have an introduction to the diversity of invertebrate phyla, and discuss how there are MANY groups for which we know very little about their behavior. We will assign our first PROJECT which will involve you, the students, picking a phylum that we will NOT cover and doing a short case study on a publication about behavior in one of these phyla. On Wednesday we will have a guest lecture from John Lugthart on (aquatic) inverts, particularly mollusks.

August 23 - 26:  We will start this week with a discussion of behavior in some non-insect arthropods, and then continue with discussion of various insect behaviors. On Wednesday, Aug. 25, your invertebrate behavior case study will be due.

August 30 - September 2: Monday we will continue with insect behaviors, and discuss your (second) independent project. On Wednesday, Sept. 1, we will have our first EXAM, covering non-animal and invertebrate behavior.

September 6 - 9:  Monday, Sept. 6, is the Labor Day Holiday.  On Wednesday, Sept. 8, you will need to provide us with your TOPIC for your independent PROJECT. We will begin the discussion of vertebrate behavior, with a guest lecture on fish from Ben Stenger from the Tennessee aquarium.

September 13 - 16:  This week we will be discussing behavior in "herps" (amphibians and reptiles). It is likely these lectures will be presented by visiting guest lecturers Daniel Gaillard and Christoper Manis.

September 20 - 23: On Monday, your independent project proposal is due.  We will visit DSC's world famous Turtle Assurance Colony (TAC), and see some of the work that goes on in the TAC. On Wednesday, we will begin a discussion of behavior in birds, with a visit from guest lecturer David DesRochers.

September 27 - 30:  We will continue with birds on Monday.  On Wednesday, Sept. 29, we will have our second EXAM on behavior in fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds.

October 4 - 7:  On Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 4 & 5, we have our Fall Break. We may have a visit to the Tennessee Aquarium over the break.  On Wednesday, we will begin our discussion of behavior in mammals, beginning with aquatic mammals.

October 11 - 14:  We will continue with mammals, discussing several groups (including bats), and continuing on into domesticated canines/felines. There will be a mini-assignment on pet behavior. We may begin our discussion of rodents this week as well. Friday, Oct. 15, is the last day to withdraw with a "W" (as opposed to a grade).

October 18 - 21: We will continue with a discussion of rodents, including those used in the lab, followed by a discussion on conditioning and a visit to the biobehavioral lab (if it is ready).  We will be having guest lectures by Catie Clinard and Lizzy Dunaway from Psychology. On Wednesday, your mini-assignment on pet behavior will be due.

October 25 - 28: On Monday, Oct. 25, we will have our third EXAM on non-primate mammals. On Wednesday, we will be discussing prosimian primates.

November 1 - 4:  Monday, we will discuss Old World Monkeys, and on Wednesday, New World Monkeys.

November 8 - 11:  Monday, we will discuss lesser apes, Orangutans and Gorillas, followed by Chimpanzees and Bonobos on Wednesday.

November 15 - 18: Monday we will discuss human behavior. On Wednesday, Nov. 18, we will have our fourth EXAM on primates.

November 22 - 25: Monday will be the first day of Independent Project presentations. Wednesday through Friday is Thanksgiving Break.

November 29 - 30: Monday we will continue Independent Project presentations

FINAL "EXAM" time: Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, 12:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. We will NOT have an exam, but instead will be finishing up our Independent Project presentations.

Withdrawal date is Friday, October 15, 2021.


Biology 4900: Behavior – Fall 2021; James K. Adams – 164 Sequoya Hall
and Kristen Sanders

            Currently, class will be in person, at full capacity.  Be aware this could change during the semester. As this is the first time we are teaching this class, readings will be assigned as we go along, and quizzes will also be given from time to time (but we haven't decided on all of these at this point). Attendance in class is recommended, but if you are absent, YOU are responsible for the material covered as well as any announcements and assignments given in class.  Remember, YOU (or somebody close to you) are paying for your education, so you actually get less for your money if you do not attend class!  Attendance to all tests is mandatory for all students (at least for now), unless you have a reasonable and valid excuse. Make-up tests will be given only if you have notified us  beforehand (with reasonable and valid exceptions) that you will be absent, and only if we agree that your reasons are sound. To reach us, call James at 272-4427 (office), my cell at 678-767-5938, leave an e-mail message at; or you can call at home until 9:00p.m. at 706-602-6993 (Calhoun is a local call from the Dalton area). To contact Kristen Sanders, please e-mail her at, or call her at 404-465-2468.

            If you miss a test or lab without contacting us (up to 24 hours afterwards), you will receive a zero for that test, even if you come to us later with a doctor’s (or other) excuse (there are, of course, exceptions for EXTREME circumstances).  When you contact us, you need to indicate when you wish to make up the missed test.  If you do it before we are done grading and returning the tests to other students, you will be allowed to have the same test, but if you schedule to make the test up after we have returned it to other students, then obviously you will get a different test. If you missed the scheduled make up time, you will receive a zero, with excuses only in extreme circumstances.  Anyone caught cheating on any assignment or test will result in an “F” for the course. 

Grading scale:
90 - 100%:       A
80 - 89%:         B
70 - 79%          C
60 - 69%          D
<60%               F

            Grades may be subject to some curving after all points are totaled at the end of the semester.  You
will be notified of such at that time.

            We are in the process of discussing and deciding on point totals for various projects, and we are also going to include quizzes (but we haven't decided exactly when or how many). Please bear with us as this is the first time we are teaching this class and we haven't settled on all reading and quizzes/assignments.

4 exams @ 100 points each                 400
Quizzes                                               ?
Invert behavior project                        40 (?)
Pet behavior project                            ?
Independent project                            100?
Total:  ?

You may drop/withdraw from the course without penalty until Friday, October 15, 2021.

DESCRIPTION OF THE COURSE:  This course covers behavior, presented in a taxonomic format. We will first look briefly at behavior in non-animals (prokaryotes, "protists", fungi, plants), and then continue with a discussion of invertebrates, with particular emphasis on insects. From there we will continue our discussion in vertebrates, with particular emphasis on mammals, especially rodents and primates. During all of our discussions, we will emphasize the importance of evolution in shaping the behavior of all the organisms we discuss, which means we will focus on behaviors that significantly increase fitness: finding and processing food, attracting mates, avoiding predation, and the like.  Needless to say, there will be a large number of examples of interesting behavior presented. We intend to use a number of videos, and examples from personal experience. 

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Provide examples of evolutionarily important behavior from a wide variety of organisms.
  2. Understand how the production of proteins from DNA in turn is intimately tied to the evolution of behavior.
  3. Explain how, even among quite unrelated organisms, certain similar behaviors occur over and over again in a variety of organisms, because of the importance of the behaviors to the fitness of the organisms.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS: This is the first time this course has been taught, and as such, we will be learning TOGETHER how to best present the material in the course. You will have readings from the book, but we don't know precisely what those are yet as we have not finished preparing all of our lectures. We will provide you with review sheets and outlines, in which we will include the readings. However, these handouts may vary widely in detail as we will be having many guest lectures. Therefore, taking good notes will also be very important to your success, though we will likely record the lectures and make them available to you so that you will have access to all of the information multiple times. And, as is always the case, if you have a question, ASK!!


Emergency Instructional Plan:      

Should it be necessary that we miss classes due to inclement weather or coronavirus, please refer to the schedule of readings/exercises on the syllabus and my faculty website at and complete the indicated readings/exercises. Obviously, we can continue online even if inclement weather or coronavirus does keep us from coming to campus. We MAY be able to do limited group field trips, IF people are still well and the college has been closed, but don’t count on it. Do not forget that I have a special link on my website specifically for test dates and due dates, so it should be easy to remind yourself if the due date for some quiz/collection update/test is fast approaching.

(Last modified by the Faculty Senate and approved by the JEDI Committee April 2021)

Diversity enriches human interaction and learning. Different perspectives lead to innovative, sustainable solutions for our most persistent and challenging problems. When we engage and learn from each other, we thrive. Thus, we embrace diverse communities; we respect and value their unique experiences and contributions. Everyone in our community has a responsibility to ensure that all feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard.

CARE Team:   (Last modified and reaffirmed June 2021)

The Campus Assessment, Response, and Evaluation Team, also known as CARE, at Dalton State College engages in proactive and collaborative approaches to identify and assess students who are potentially distressed or may exhibit concerning behaviors. The CARE team is an interdisciplinary assessment group comprised of both faculty and staff. In order to ensure the well-being and safety of our students, please submit concerns via the online CARE Referral Form.

BASIC NEEDS STATEMENT (Affirmed by the Faculty Senate, June 2021)

Any student facing food insecurity or not having a safe and reliable place to sleep is urged to utilize available resources for students enrolled at Dalton State. For assistance accessing food, please visit the free Birdfeeder (a supplemental student pantry) located in The Nest found on the lower level of the Pope Student Center. All currently enrolled Dalton State students are eligible, and no proof of need is required. For those who lack a safe and stable place to live, or have other needs, please contact the Dean of Students Office at or call 706-272-4428, Linea de asistencia en Español: 706-712-4573.

Disability Access  
(From the Disability Access website, reaffirmed June 2021)

Students with disabilities or special needs are encouraged to contact Disability Access. In order to make an appointment or to obtain information on the process for qualifying for accommodations, the student should visit the Disability Access Library Guide or contact the Disability Access office.

Contact information
Andrea Roberson, Associate Director of Disability Access and Student Support Services Pope Student Center, upper level 706-272-2524

Crisis Resources

A mental health crisis can happen to anyone. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, thoughts of harming yourself or others, or experiencing a crisis event, then contact any of the numbers below to receive support 24/7/365.

Georgia Crisis and Access Line: 1-800-715-4225

Tennessee Crisis Phone Line:    1-855-274-7471

Suicide Prevention Lifeline:      1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line:                       Text “HOME” to 741741

Trevor Lifeline (LGBTQ+):       1-866-488-7386

Ethical Conduct   (Last modified and reaffirmed June 2021)

Academic Dishonesty:          
Cheating, plagiarism, and engaging in any behavior prohibited by faculty are part of the Dalton State Code of Conduct, which can be found in its most updated form as at Dalton State Student Code of Conduct. ANY assistance provided or given in any way toward work in a class constitutes cheating unless such behavior is authorized by your instructor. Additionally, any use of the ideas or words of others should be noted, or this will constitute plagiarism. Using another students’ work or collaborating on an assignment not designated as collaborative is unacceptable. Furthermore, presenting work that was completed for another class, while not plagiarism technically, is not the same as presenting original work and is therefore unacceptable unless it has been authorized by your instructor. Using a private company to complete work for you is contract cheating and is also against the Student Code of Conduct. For more details on what Dalton State considers to be Academic Dishonesty, please review the Student
Code of Conduct. Instructors will assign grades based on classroom performance. Additional sanctions may be provided as a learning experience from the Student Conduct process.

Classroom Behavior: Dalton State is committed to respect via the Roadrunner Respect pledge. To learn more, please visit Roadrunner Respect. “I pledge to show my fellow Roadrunner students, faculty, staff, and administration respect by treating others the way they want to be treated and by thinking about others first before making decisions that might affect them.”

House Bill 280
House Bill 280 commonly known as the “campus carry” legislation, is effective as of July 1, 2017. For information regarding HB 280, please visit --

Course Withdrawal Statement
(Last modified and reaffirmed June 2021)

The last day to drop this class without penalty (a W) is Friday, October 15, 2021. If you submit the online form to drop the course by this date, you will be assigned a grade of W. After this date, withdrawal without penalty is permitted only in cases of Extreme Hardship as determined by the Dean of Students and a Hardship Withdrawal Committee; otherwise, a grade of WF will be issued. Students who fail to complete the official drop/withdrawal procedure will receive the grade of F. All Hardship Withdrawal decisions are communicated to students via their DSC email, and appropriate administrative offices are notified. Withdrawal from class is a student responsibility. The grade of W counts as hours attempted for the purposes of financial aid.

Full Withdrawal Statement

(Last modified and reaffirmed June 2021)

The proper form for withdrawing from all classes at the college after the official drop/add period but before the published withdrawal date (Academic Campus Calendar) is the Schedule Adjustment Form. All students must meet with a staff member at the Dean of Students office in the upper-level of the Pope Student Center to initiate the withdrawal process and complete an exit interview. After meeting with the staff member, students will then finalize the withdrawal process in the Enrollment Services Office.

Grade Appeals

A student may file a formal challenge to a grade if there is unequivocal evidence that one or more of the following applies:

a)       It was a direct result of arbitrary and capricious conduct on the part of the instructor;

b)      The instructor discriminated against the student on the basis of a protected classification as the term is defined by Federal Law, Georgia State Law, or the Administrative Code of the City of Dalton;

c)       The grade was incorrectly calculated;

d)      A clerical error occurred in recording the grade; or

e)       A mitigating circumstance prevented the student from completing a final assignment or attending the final exam.

To appeal a grade, the student must notify the instructor in writing no later than two days after the posting of final grades. See Grade Changes and Appeals [ix] for the complete documentation.

Academic Progression

To remain in academically good standing, students must maintain an institutional GPA of 2.0 or higher.  Students who do not maintain a 2.0 move through a sequence of statuses ranging from Academic Warning to Academic Probation to Academic Suspension to Academic Dismissal.  See Academic Progress [x] for the complete documentation.

Title IX Information

Student Sexual Misconduct Policy [xi]

(Last Modified May 2018)

In accordance with federal and state law including, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the University System of Georgia (USG) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any of its education programs or activities or in employment. The USG is committed to ensuring the highest ethical conduct of the members of its community by promoting a safe learning and working environment. To that end, this Policy prohibits Sexual Misconduct, a form of sex discrimination, as defined herein.

Please visit the
Title IX at Dalton State web page [xii] for additional information on the policy [xiii], How to Report [xiv], Resources [xv], and Training.

Student Well Being

The Dalton State College Counseling Center (DSCCC) provides brief mental health services to currently enrolled students. All services are free and confidential. We also provide referrals to community resources for more comprehensive support such as medication management, ongoing help for chronic mental health concerns, and more. To schedule a free consultation, visit and complete the “Phone Consultation Request” form or call 706-272-4430. 

Officially Approved DSC Groups and Activities: 
When students are engaged in officially approved Dalton State groups or activities that require them to
participate in events off campus during school days, they shall be treated similarly to any faculty or staff
member acting in that same capacity. Thus, just as faculty and staff have excused absences from their
regular work schedules, students shall be excused from class without penalty if they are off campus
representing Dalton State College in an approved, official capacity during their regular class time.
Examples include presenting a paper or otherwise participating in a conference, attending a University
System student affairs event, participating in intercollegiate competition (athletic or academic), partici-
pating in an approved field trip, etc. Just as faculty and staff members are required to submit Request
to Travel forms for approval, in order to be excused, the student needs to provide the following informa-
tion to the instructor prior to the date when he/she will be absent from class:

The student shall be allowed to make up any work missed during the time he/she is off campus repre-
senting DSC in an official capacity. He/she shall discuss what will be missed with the instructor and make
arrangements to make up any assignments, tests, presentations, etc. that were scheduled on that date.

Full URL Links

[i] CARE Reporting Form:

[ii] Disability Access:

[iii] Disability Access Library Guide:

[iv] Dalton State Student Code of Conduct:


[v] Roadrunner Respect:


[vi] Extreme Hardship:


[vii] Academic Campus Calendar:


[viii] Scheduled Adjustment Form:


[ix] Grade Appeals:


[x] Academic Progression:


[xi] Student Sexual Misconduct Policy:

[xii] Title IX at Dalton State web page:


[xiii] Title IX Policy:


[xiv] Title IX How to Report:


[xv] Title IX Resources:


[xvi] Title IX Campus Programs:






    I have read the handout labeled BIOLOGY COURSE POLICIES and understand and agree with the
course policies listed therein.  I also understand that I cannot receive a grade for any assignment, etc. until
I have signed and returned this sheet.

             Signed: _________________________________________

             Date:                _________________________________________

             Phone Numbers where I can be reached in the daytime / evening (optional):



            Email address: _________________________________________

 Reason(s) for taking this course: