California State University, San Bernardino

Department of Biology / College of Natural Sciences

Biology 340 – Comparative Embryology

Dr. Stuart S. Sumida

Winter 2015; Tuesday & Thursday 12:00-2:50; BI-204




Course Information

Instructor:  Dr. Stuart S. Sumida       

Office location:   BI-314

Telephone: 909-537-7338


Office hours: Tuesday 15:00-16:00; Thursday 11:00-12:00; plus TBA

Class Days/Time: Tuesday & Thursday 12:00-14:50

Classroom:  BI-204


Course Description

Descriptive survey of developmental patterns of tissue and organ formation to include studies of plants, insects, echinoderms, and amphibian, avian, reptilian, and mammalian vertebrate embryology. Students will develop an understanding of the diversity and evolution of plants and animals, with an emphasis on vertebrate development. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory. Materials fee required. Prerequisite: BIOL 300 with a grade of "C" or better. Biology 342 strongly recommended. This course is a Biology Department upper division elective course.  It does not satisfy any particular requirements of the Biology Major Core, but it does provide upper division elective units toward graduation with a Biology Major.  It is not required for entrance to medical, dental, or other professional school programs.

Course Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes

Wherein by University directive we restate what we just said in the course description above using the latest buzzwords- in this case, “SLOs”.  Student Learning Outcomes are the knowledge, skills, attitudes, competencies, and habits of mind that our students are expected to acquire.  In BIOL 340 students will be expected to:

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

BIOL 340 Course-specific Assessment

Biology SLO General

Develop an understanding of the diversity and similarity of developmental patterns among plants and animals.

Lecture examination:

Written essay questions; short answer questions; diagramming questions; standard embedded questions on short answer questions.

Biology SLO General

Develop an understanding of the evolution organismal development over the course of phylogenetic diversity and geological time

Lecture examination:

Written essay questions; short answer questions; diagramming questions; standard embedded questions on short answer questions.

Biology SLO 1.2 Development & Physiology - Five Kingdoms of Life (part of Goal 1: Biological Sciences Breadth)

Students will be able describe the features which distinguish the Three Domains of life and the developmental and physiological mechanisms which are fundamental to all living organisms.  (In this case two of the tree domains.)

Lecture examination:

Written essay questions; short answer questions; diagramming questions; standard embedded questions on short answer questions.

Outcome 1.3 Organismal Genetics, Evolution, & Ecology (part of Goal 1: Biological Sciences Breadth)

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the principles of organismal genetics, evolution, and ecology. (In this case with focus on evolution.)

Lecture examination:

Written essay questions; short answer questions; diagramming questions; standard embedded questions on short answer questions.

Biology SLO 2.1 Laboratory Practice & Techniques

Students will develop proper laboratory practice, proper use of equipment and the ability to use basic and advanced techniques in several areas of biology.

Standard Laboratory Exercises

Laboratory practical examinations.

Biology SLO 5.1 Career & Advanced Degree Success

Graduates will demonstrate the ability to use their degrees to undertake careers in biology or to gain admittance to graduate or professional school.

Tracking medical and other health-science and biology related career paths of graduates.


Required Texts/Readings (note where available)



1.     Gilbert, Scott F.  2010.  Developmental Biology, Tenth Edition.  Sinauer Associates Incorporated, Philadephia, PA. ISBN-10: 0878939784. (“G”)  (Eight and Ninth Editions also acceptable. New and used versions are available on line at prices significantly less than those of the CSUSB Student Store.)

2.     Wright, Shirley J.  2005.  A Photographic Atlas of Developmental Biology.  Morton Publishing Company, Englewood, Colorado.  ISBN 10: 0895826291. (“W”)

Students are expected to have read all assigned material prior to the beginning of the designated lecture section.

Other readings

Additional readings may be assigned during the course of the quarter.  They will be posted to Blackboard and

Policy on Attendance and Recording of Lectures: 

All lectures are the copyrighted property of the instructor.  Audio recordings of lectures may be made for individual use only.  They may not be sold, reproduced, or redistributed in any way.  Although tape recorders may be used as a study aid, they may not be used in lieu of attendance.  Attendance is not monitored, but it is expected of all students.  Students who miss a class session must acquire the course notes from a fellow classmate.  The instructor’s lecture materials will not be distributed to individuals in the class.


Laboratory Equipment: 

White lab coats are not required for laboratory exercises. However, closed-toed shoes are required for entrance into the laboratory. As no chemical or tissue exposure is experienced, eye protection is not required for entrance to the laboratory.  Student microscopes and microscope slides are provided.  Preserved slides of both plants and animals are examined in the Biology 340 course.  All students must participate in the laboratory or forfeit the laboratory points.  Objections to the use of preserved animal materials will not excuse students from laboratory requirements.


Office Hours: 

Dr. Sumida’s office hours will be held in room BI-314 on Tuesdays directly after class from 3:00 to 4:30, and Thursdays immediately before class from 11:00 to 12:00.  Additional hours will be added once the instructor’s and students’ schedules are evaluated.  Additional hours are normally scheduled near midterm and final examinations. Students may send questions to Dr. Sumida via e-mail at:

E-mailed questions for CSUSB courses are normally answered within 48 hours.  Answers may be to multiple students if more than one student asks a similar question via e-mail.  To facilitate speed of response, please make some kind of reference to Biology 340 in the subject line.


Web Resources

Please note, web resources for this course are in two places.  Documents posted to blackboard must be ADA compliant requiring specific formatting and specific fonts.  Documents on Blackboard are ADA compliant.  However, given the reliability of Blackboard, documents are also placed on Dr. Sumida’s webpage.  These documents are not ADA compliant.   The class syllabus, updates on grades, and summaries of lecture activities are available as PowerPoint, PDF files will be available on Blackboard. The class syllabus, updates on grades, and summaries of lecture activities are available as PowerPoint, PDF, and MP4 files will be available on the course website:

Please note, all files are available as of the beginning of the quarter, but these files could be changed and updated as new information becomes available for any particular topic.  Please check for updates periodically. These files are meant as a study aid only and without the accompanying lecture information do not represent a complete overview of the course.  They are intellectual property of the instructor, Dr. Stuart Sumida, and are for student use in Biology 340 only and may not be otherwise distributed or reproduced.


Grading Policy

Grading Procedures:

There will be two midterms of 150 and 200 points each.  The final examination will be worth 250 points. A series of short quizzes on laboratory activities will be worth 100 points.  700 total points are possible.  No extra credit points are available. Examinations that are missed due to unavoidable problems (e.g. military service, illness, or a death in the family) will normally be made up as an oral examination administered by the instructor.  Family trips and vacations are NOT considered proper excuses for missing an exam.


Grading Criteria:

The course is not graded on a curve.  Letter grades are not assigned for individual exams or quizzes; rather they are based on the cumulative points.  Grades will be set according to the criteria listed following. There is no extra credit work available.


Grade             Percentage of Total Points 

A                     90-100                 B-               72-74          D                50-54

A-                    87-89                   C+              70-71          F                 Below 50

B+                   84-86                   C                 60-70                            

B                     75-83                   C-               55-59                            


University Policies

Students are referred to the “General Regulations and Procedures" in the CSUSB Bulletin of Courses for the university’s policies on course withdrawal, cheating, and plagiarism.


Plagiarism and Cheating

Students are expected to be familiar with the University’s Policy on cheating and Plagiarism. Please review this at (CSUSB Bulletin, pages 51-52). Instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Cheating on exams or plagiarism (presenting the work of another as your own, or the use of another person’s ideas without giving proper credit) will result in a failing grade and sanctions by the University. For this class, all assignments are to be completed by the individual student unless otherwise specified.


Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drops, academic renewal, etc. found at (CSUSB Bulletin, pages 46-48).


Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

CSUSB Syllabus Policy (2.g) states that at a minimum, each course syllabus must contain a statement of ADA compliance (below are the 2007-08 official statements for supporting students with disabilities), and the reminder that it is the student's responsibility to seek academic accommodations for a verified disability in a timely manner.


Support for Students with Disabilities

If you are in need of an accommodation for a disability in order to participate in this class, please see the instructor and contact Services to Students with Disabilities at (909) 537-5238. If you require assistance in the event of an emergency, you are advised to establish a buddy system with a buddy and an alternate buddy in the class. Individuals with disabilities should prepare for an emergency ahead of time by instructing a classmate and the instructor.


Course Schedule and Reading Assignments

Although the course schedule designates Tuesdays as lecture periods and Thursdays as laboratory periods, please note that these activities can be variable.  Refer to the schedule below for topics, activities, and reading assignments.  Sessions designated with an asterisk (*) indicate laboratory material quiz days.  (Note: subject to change with fair notice.)





Reading Assignment



Class Logistics; Introduction; Course Scope




Phylogenetic Perspective and the Evolution of Development – “Evo-Devo

G - Chapters 1



Overview of Plant Development




Protostome Development – Insects as the Example

G – Chapter 6



Basic Deuterostome Development – Echinodermata

G - pp. 217-234



Lab Exercise: Sea Urchin Embryology

See lab exercises.



Midterm Examination 1; 150 points




Introduction to Chordate Embryology – “Amphioxus” [and] Lab Quiz 1; 20 points

G – pp. 237-238 (section on tunicates)



Tetrapod Embryology - Amphibians

G – pp. 217-234; Fig. 10-3; 375-378; 415-418



Lab Exercise: Frog Embryology - I

See lab exercises.



Lab Exercise: Frog Embryology - II

See lab exercises.



Basal Amniote Embryology – Reptiles and Birds

G – pp. 285-298; also 333-337; 375-382; 415-418 (emphasis on avian parts).



Lab Quiz 2; 30 points Lab Exercise: Basal Amniote Embryology (Reptiles/birds) I

See lab exercises.



Midterm Examination 2; 200 points




Lab Exercise: Basal Amniote Embryology (Reptiles/birds) II

See lab exercises.



Mammalian Embryology

G – pp. 298-311; also 375-382; 415-418 (emphasis on mammalian parts).



Lab Exercise: Mammalian Embryology

See lab exercises.



Later Embryology of Vertebrates – mesodermal derivatives

G – Chapters 12-13



Lab Final Quiz; 50 points; Later Embryology of Vertebrates – development of the skull




Evo-Devo revisited – the example of the vertebrate limb

G – Chapter 14



Tuesday.  Final Examination; 12:00; 250 points.




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