Marine Vertebrate Zoology- MSC 276

Course Outline and Syllabus

Instructors: Jacqui Jenkins Degan

Office Number: S204D

Phone: 362-7405

E-Mail: or


Shawna Daniel

Office Number: S204C

Phone: 362-7407



Robins et al., A Field Guide to the Atlantic Coast Fishes,

Houghton Mifflin Co., 1986.

NOTE: This book is out-dated, but is the most economical guide on the market. Please be prepared to update information in this book weekly. You should bring this book to ALL lectures AND labs.

Resource Readings:

Moyle, P.B., Cech, J.J., Fishes: An Introduction to Ichthyology. 1995

Helfman, G.S., Collette, B.B., Facey, D.E., The Diversity of Fishes. 1999

Linzey, Donald W., Vertebrate Biology. 2001

Readings will be assigned FREQUENTLY in this course. You need a student ID to access the Resource Readings at the CFCC library. The books can be signed out for 2 hours, but cannot be removed from the library. If you choose to copy the readings in the Media Lab, be prepared to pay a fee per page copied. The Helfman book is for sale at the CFCC Bookstore, but limited copies are available..


Dissection kit – These are sold in the CFCC Bookstore.

Field clothing – Closed-toe shoes & clothing that you do not mind getting dirty.

Course Description:

This course covers the behavior and classification of marine fishes, reptiles, birds and mammals. Topics include identification, feeding behavior, reproduction, migration and other marine vertebrate characteristics. Upon completion students should be able to identify marine vertebrates and demonstrate an understanding of the methods vertebrates use to survive in the marine environment.

Course Hours Per Week: Class 3, Lab 2.

Semester Hours Credit: 4

Prerequisite: None

Class Objectives:

  • To identify marine vertebrates from North Carolina waters and abroad.

  • To understand the identifying characteristics of major classes and families of marine vertebrates.

  • To understand some of the behavioral habits, such as feeding behavior, migration, locomotion, and reproduction of each group.

  • To classify individual vertebrates by Class, Order, Family and Scientific name.


Attendance will be recorded during the first minute of each scheduled class. If you show up after that point, you will be recorded as Late (an L in the class record book). If you are not present for the class, you will be recorded as absent (an A in the class record book) at the end of the class period. Each hour absent will reduce the attendance grade by 2 points. More than 16 hours absent will result in failure. Two L’s equal one A (i.e. One L is 30 minutes). Attendance during labs will be taken every hour. This is NOT high school. You are paying to be here, and you do not require permission to leave the class. Just remember that each hour is worth 2 points, and roll is checked often by the Instructor.


Students may withdraw by filling out and having the instructor sign a withdrawal form available in the Registrar's Office, in accordance with the Rules written in the Student Calendar.

Conduct and Safety:

Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that will not interfere with the learning or safety of classmates. Individual private conversations should be avoided as they are disruptive and a distraction to others who are listening to and participating in the information being presented. You will receive ONE warning for such behavior, and all subsequent occurrences will result in dismissal from the lecture or lab. The use of cell phones in this class is strictly prohibited. Failure to comply will result in a 10% penalty on a quiz. Each additional incident will result in the doubling of the previous penalty. If you are expecting an important call, let the Instructor know beforehand. Put your phone on vibrate, and take the call in the hallway. No food or drink is permitted in the classroom. Tobacco products are prohibited.

Grading (8 point scale):

Exams (Midterm and Final) 40%

Lab Exercises and Lab Project 20%

Quizzes 15%

Lab Notebook 15%

Attendance 10%

Exams & Quizzes:

Exam questions will be multiple choice, true or false, matching, fill in the blank or short answer. Quiz questions will cover the lecture material AND assigned readings. Quiz format will be similar to exam format, but on a much smaller scale. There are no quiz make-ups. Quizzes will take place once per week, at the discretion of the Instructor. If you are late to a class you will not be permitted to take the quiz. Make-ups of lecture exams are only possible under extenuating circumstances (documented medical or family emergencies). Under no circumstances will there be a Practical exam make-up.


Due to the nature of lab exercises there will be no laboratory make-ups. Graded assignments are due on the assigned date. Late work will be penalized 5% for each day late. The lab notebook may be used on lab practical exams. A final project will be assigned as part of your lab grade. This assignment entails choosing a peer-reviewed scientific journal article, and presenting the article to the class.

Internet Resources:

Online resources will be used extensively in this course. Make sure you get a student ID card ASAP. This will allow you to use the computer resources on campus. The Instructor’s website will be used for lectures, readings and announcements. It will be updated weekly. It is expected that the Instructor’s website and your Campus Cruiser email be checked for updates frequently (minimally twice a week and/or before any class periods). You should know what will be covered BEFORE you come to class every week. All lectures can be found on the Instructor’s website.


Tutoring at the CFCC Learning Lab:

If you are interested in tutoring, or being tutored, in this or any other class, please visit the Learning Lab at the CFCC library. Supplemental instruction will be available for this course. Please contact Heather Stoker ( for more information.

Accommodation of Special Needs Based on Disability

Any student who requests classroom accommodations because of a disability must present documentation to verify his/her disability. This documentation must be furnished to the Disabilities Service Coordinator, and this should be provided prior to requesting accommodation by the instructor. On a confidential basis, the student, disabilities services and the instructor will determine the appropriate accommodations following documentation. Accommodations will be provided in a manner that is consistent with the objectives, outcomes, and academic standards of the course. Absences must not exceed class attendance policy.

Campus Cruiser

Every student has an official CFCC-provided email account which is to be used for all email correspondence with your instructors and with the CFCC staff. Some information from CFCC will be emailed to this address ONLY and not sent through postal mail, so it is very important that you check this account periodically. To access this account, please visit the CFCC website (

and click on the CampusCruiser link; then follow the instructions to log in. Your email address is This email account is for your use while you are attending classes and will still be active until one year after your last class. Your account may be used for personal as well as academic email and is subject to the CFCC Acceptable Use Policy.

Academic Honesty

Any behavior indicating dishonesty, unethical intent or action as specified by CFCC will result in an “F” for the course. Plagiarism is using as your own the words or ideas of another, whether written or oral. When you use material from a source, you must quote or paraphrase accurately and properly cite the information. Failure to do so is considered plagiarism. Examples of plagiarism include word-for-word copying without correctly indicating that you are quoting, inaccurate quoting and paraphrasing, and incomplete or missing documentation. Purchasing a paper or copying someone else’s work and submitting it as your own are also plagiarism. Any misrepresentation of the source in your writing or speaking would constitute a form of plagiarism.

Whether intentional or unintentional, plagiarism is not acceptable and will result in the student being assigned a grade of zero for the assignment and/or the course, at the instructor’s discretion. Please read page 23 of the 2008-2009 CFCC student catalog for more information on cheating and plagiarism.

***The instructor reserves the right, acting within the policies and procedures of Cape Fear Community College, to make changes, adjustments, additions, and deletions in course content, first-day handout, or instructional technique, without notice or obligations.