Course Guidelines for Biology 316L Animal Development Lab, 1 section (1 credit)


Instructor: Dr. Christopher Rose


Office hours: see; if I am not in my office, look for me in my lab; email me for an appointment outside of office hours.


Office: Bioscience 2028A              Lab: Bioscience 2022

Phone: 568-6666 (O)                    email:


Lab, exam and assignment schedule


Catalogue description: Animal Development Lab (0,3). 1 credit, Offered fall

This course complements Bio 316 with hands-on laboratory experience. Emphasis will be on microscope study of chick and frog embryos to better understand embryonic processes and anatomy, learning the tools and techniques for manipulating live embryos, and designing and carrying out independent research projects on live embryos using developmental biology techniques and reagents. Co- or prerequisite: Bio 316.


Goals and Objectives:


1. have students develop the skills for visualizing embryonic processes and anatomy in four dimensions.


2. have students develop the skills for designing and carrying out their own developmental biology research experiments. These include how to extract useful information from experiments that appear to have failed or do not provide clear-cut or obvious results, how to anticipate sources of experimental error and trouble shoot new procedures, and how to design a logical sequence of questions and experimental and observational steps for investigating complex phenomena. 


3. have students develop research and communication skills by producing a lab report and presentation on their group research experiments.


4. have the students be trained in basic histology and immunohistochemistry, as well as other lab techniques for studying vertebrate anatomy and development.


Prerequisite or corequisite: BIO 316.


Course time and place: Labs are on MF 2:30-3:45 in Bioscience 2033.


Required texts and materials: none.


Adding/dropping class: Policy and deadlines can be found at


Disabilities: Policy and deadlines can be found at


Attendance policy: There is no credit given for attending class and no grade penalty for missing class. However, since the skills learned in this course are cumulative and since a large component of the grade is based on participation and seriousness of effort, students are strongly recommended to come to classes and to make up material missed due to absences.


Grading: Grades will be based on participation in lab techniques, seriousness of effort, a group lab experiment proposal and presentation, and peer evaluation in the group effort. Participation in lab techniques is a measure of quantity of activity. Seriousness of effort is a measure of quality of activity, i.e., how well did you respond to instruction and feedback, how much care and thinking did you invest in making your lab activity successful, your ability to anticipate problems and trouble shoot, your ability to interact productively in a team effort, your ability to schedule your research to make it happen successfully, etc.. Students are required to commit an average of 5 hours per week, which because of the variable nature of developmental biology research might not coincide with regular class periods or be partitioned equally among weeks. In other words, once the research projects are underway, expect that you might have to work more than 5 of hours on some weeks and less on others. Also, although the professor is available for meetings and consultation throughout the term, recognize that scheduling your research activity to make your research successful is your responsibility and not the professor’s.


Breakdown of grades:



Participation in lab techniques

20 %

Seriousness of effort

20 %


Group lab experiment proposal

20 %


Group lab experiment presentation

20 %


Peer evaluation in group lab experiment

10 %





Group lab experiment proposals and presentations will be graded on the basis of the quality, timely submission and revision if necessary of a written Introduction, Materials and Methods & Schedule, and the quality and thoughtfulness of the presentation of Results and Discussion.


Final letter grades will be assigned using the standard numerical scale (e.g., > 90 = A, 80-89 = B, etc.). Grades of WP and WF will not be given out in this class.


Missed classes and deadlines: While there is no penalty for missing labs, students are strongly recommended to come to all labs and to come to office hours and ask for additional lab time to make up for missed labs. If you have a valid excuse (school-recognized religious observation; official school business; job, court or graduate school interview; sickness with doctor’s note; death or serious illness in family) for missing an assignment deadline, contact me by email at least three days before the date in question and you will either be given an extension or make-up exam or have your grade calculated on the basis of the remaining evaluations. If you do not have a valid excuse or fail to contact me three days before the date, your grade will be zero.


Inclement weather policies: Missed labs will be made up at times to be announced at the next lab meeting. On days when the start of school is delayed past the start of a lab, the professor will announce by email whether the lab will still be held.


Religious observation accommodations: Policy and deadlines can be found at


Laboratory policy: Students must wear closed-end shoes (no flip flops, sandals or other shoes with open toes or heels) when attending all labs. Some lab procedures might requite the use of safety glasses. Some laboratory exercises will involve the manipulation of frog and chick embryos. All procedures will be done in accordance with government regulations protecting animal rights and welfare. If any student objects to the use of live material for such educational purposes, he or she is strongly requested to bring their concern to the instructor's attention at the start of the course (i.e., in the first week of classes). Depending on the circumstances, the student may be given an alternative lab assignment or advised to reconsider their enrollment in the course. All students are requested to treat all laboratory exercises and animals with the respect and maturity befitting serious scientific inquiry.


Honor Code: All students are expected to be familiar with and abide by the JMU Honor Code ( Forms of academic dishonesty include cheating on tests or homework, lending your work to another person to submit it as his or her own, reporting false data, selling or uploading unauthorized documents from a class, deliberately creating false information on a works cited or reference page; and plagiarism, presenting another person’s writing, ideas or results as your own, whether intentional or not. Work submitted for this course must be your own and written for this course. To avoid plagiarism in writing, paraphrased and quoted materials must be properly cited in the text and referenced in the bibliography (see above); unnecessary or excessive use of direct quotations will be penalized.


Consult the following websites for information on educational rights and privacies:


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974

FERPA for Parents

FERPA for Faculty

JMU compliance with FERPA


Consult the Student Success Center website for information regarding disability services, student counseling and the writing center.