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BISC 334 | Ornithology with Dr. Jason Hoeksema

Students reconstructing bird skeletonDr. Jason Hoeksema, an ecology expert with a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, teaches Ornithology. The course introduces students to all aspects of the biology of birds — development, anatomy, physiology, behavior, ecology, evolution, systematics, field identification, and conservation — through a combination of lectures, laboratory exercises, and field trips. Field trips teach students to recognize how particular bird species depend on unique habitats, and students learn to identify dozens of bird species by sight and sound.

Ornithology helps to prepare students for almost any career in biology, as it brings together concepts from across the broad field of biology, allowing students to synthesize fundamental biological principles through the example of birds. Preparation for graduate and professional school programs is supported by lectures grounded in recent scientific literature and by laboratory activities that teach fundamental skills such as specimen dissection. Overall, students’ lives are enriched by learning to recognize the value and complexity of birds all around us.
 

    By the end of the semester, students should be able to

  • understand the structure and function of the major organ systems of birds, including skin/feathers, muscles & bones, digestive system, circulatory system, and reproductive system;
  • recognize and interpret important behaviors of birds such as song, territoriality, nesting, foraging, and migration;
  • understand the ecological factors influencing the abundance and distribution of bird species;
  • know the key characteristics and evolutionary relationships of bird lineages; and
  • identify bird species occurring in a diversity of habitats in Mississippi, by sight and sound.

“Amazing course. It was so incredibly different than any other class I’ve taken at Ole Miss. Dr. H is incredible too; I’ve never had a teacher that knew so much about the subject, actually cared about the subject, listened to the students, and cared for the students; he’s pretty funny too.”


“He makes bird watching fun and worthwhile. He teaches in a very fun way and uses many tools and other resources to get across the point or concept he is trying to make. He created an engaging learning experience, and he was very helpful and understanding.”