2011 courses

Natural History Exhibits Development-PIRE Seminar

ZOO 6927 (Section 6744) | GLY 6932(section 049H) | GLY 4930(section 063A)

Mondays and Wednesdays, 9th and 10th period (4:05 to 6:00 pm)
***Instructor's permission is required

Download the Syllabus

Class size limit

12 (6 via ZOO and 6 via GLY)


Bruce J. MacFadden
Curator and Professor 
Florida Museum of Natural History
273-1937, bmacfadd@flmnh.ufl.edu.

Course Synopsis

In this seminar-format class students will learn how to design, develop, and evaluate a small multimedia natural history exhibit related to the content of the Panama PIRE project.* While this course will focus on the content of the Panama PIRE (geology, paleontology, biodiversity), the theoretical framework and best practices learned will be generally applicable to other exhibits with STEM content.


The students' grade will be based on: classroom assignments (25%); attendance and participation (25%); and a group project-deliverable (50%).


There is no assigned text; readings and related assignments will be taken from the primary literature and web resources.


  • Monday, December 5 | Carr 222 | Polycom
  • Wednesday, December 7 | 265 Williamson Hall | SKYPE

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Paleontology of the Panama Canal


UF Students and Non-UF Students
Apply online at: www.abroad.ufic.ufl.edu


The Florida Museum of Natural History offers students an opportunity to earn 6 credits in Panama. This course will capitalize on the current excavations to enlarge the Panama Canal that are uncovering fossiliferous Miocene (15 to 20 million-year-old) and related Neogene deposits. Students will learn about paleontology, geology, and biology as these pertain to an understanding of terrestrial and marine Neotropical biodiversity, past and present.


  • Have direct experience in the field along the Panama Canal collecting fossils while learning the geological context of these discoveries. Related experience to understand Neotropical biodiversity.
  • Develop an individual research or outreach project.
  • Learn about the natural history, culture, and geography of Panama.
  • Develop and/or enhance in-country Spanish-speaking skills.
  • Meet, work along-side, and learn with university students from Panama.
  • There is no text; reading assignments will be taking from primary literature and web-based references.

Course Offerings

Choose One:
GLY 4930: Paleontology of the Panama Canal | 6 credits
ZOO 4932: Paleontology of the Panama Canal | 6 credits

Taught by:
Dr. Bruce MacFadden - Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology
Dr. Douglas Jones - Museum Director and Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology


This program is open to all undergraduates with a 3.0 or higher GPA and who are majoring in Geology, Biology, Anthropology, Zoology, or Wildlife Ecology. Other majors may be considered upon review of submitted statement of purpose essay.


  • At least 1 semester of Spanish (2 is best) or demonstration of Spanish competency.
  • Geology students will need to have taken historical geology or similar course.
  • Biology students will need to have taken organismal biology and/or course with taxonomic content.


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Cenozoic Vertebrates of the Neotropics

ZOO 6927 | GLY 6932

Course Prospectus

This graduate-level course will focus on the theme Cenozoic Vertebrates of the Neotropics. Major topics will include:

  1. History of vertebrates in the New World Tropics,
  2. Climatic and geologic/tectonic history of the New World Tropics, and
  3. The Great American Biotic Interchange. It will include lectures, discussion of assigned readings, and student research projects. It also will include field experiences collecting fossil vertebrates in Florida and during a trip to Panama over Spring Break.


Jonathan I. Bloch
Associate Curator and Professor 
Florida Museum of Natural History
273-1937, jbloch@flmnh.ufl.edu.

Bruce J. MacFadden
Curator and Professor 
Florida Museum of Natural History
273-1937, bmacfadd@flmnh.ufl.edu.



Class periods

Tu/Th 6th and 7th periods (12:50 to 2:45)

Required field trip dates

Panama: March 5-12; Thomas Farm: TBD


Instructor approval

Class size limit



210 Williamson (or TBD for video-conferencing with Panama)

Grades will be based on

  • Leading one discussion session about assigned reading (20 %)
  • Submission of written discussion questions each week (25 %)
  • Student research presentation (15 minutes) at end of semester and at Thomas Farm Evening Lectures (25 %)
  • Class & Field Trip attendance and participation (30 %)


Each student should anticipate about $1,500 (estimated) of funds needed to support the costs of the field trips, particularly to Panama. Some “work for travel funds” grants will be available to defray a portion of these costs, and students should consider other sources of support, as available.


Mostly articles assigned from the primary research literature and book chapters.

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Broader Impacts of Science on Society

ZOO 6927 (section 4100) | GLY 6932 (section 4895)

Wednesdays (location TBD), periods 9 & 10 (4:05 to 6:00 pm), 2 credits

Intended participants

Graduate students from any STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) discipline, including (but not limited to) anthropology, astronomy, botany, entomology, geology, science education, wildlife, and zoology. Instructors and invited speakers.


Bruce J. MacFadden
Curator and Professor 
Florida Museum of Natural History
273-1937, bmacfadd@flmnh.ufl.edu.

David L. Reed
Associate Curator
Florida Museum of Natural History
273-1971, dlreed@ufl.edu

Course Synopsis

There is an increasing emphasis on the relevance of what a scientist does and how we impact society in general. This is manifested in many ways, for example, NSF now requires "Broader Impact" statements in grant proposals and explicit plans for how these kinds of activities will be accomplished. This course will explore ways in which scientists can increase our impact, particularly to society at large. During this seminar-format course, students will engage in active participation and discussion. The beginning of the course will feature presentations by the instructor and invited speakers and preparations for the class project(s). The remainder of the course will primarily be driven by students' interests and individual projects.

No course prerequisites

Class size

Limited to 25 registered students

Readings and assignments

There is no text for this course. Weekly assignments include readings, mostly from the primary literature, web research, and class discussion/presentations. The individual or group project will require "out-of-class" work.

Evaluation (Final Grade)

  1. Class participation (30 %)
  2. Submitting written questions and leading discussions of assigned readings (30 %); and
  3. Development and presentation of either a proposed Broader Impacts plan related to your STEM research, or a group project to be developed during the semester (40 %). No exams.

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