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Science & Nature

Ornithologist in Training: Bird Evolutionary Biology and Systematics (Flex)

Flexible schedule. Learn about the science of systematics, methods scientists use to uncover the phylogeny of birds, and what drivers contribute to avian speciation and hybridization. (Biology, Animals, Zoology, Ornithology)
Heather Gerth, M.S.
66 total reviews for this teacher
New class
No live meetings
Over 6 weeks
year olds
learners per class
per learner - per week

How does aFlexible Schedulecourse work?

No scheduled live video chats
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Great if your learner prefers independent pacing or is uncomfortable with live video chat

Available Times

Pacific Time

Mon Oct 31

Oct 31 - Dec 19 (6 weeks)
Flexible Time
1 learner enrolled
Don't see a time that works for you?


Class Experience

- Learners will be able to define the vocabulary words systematics, phylogeny, classification, and monophyletic group and use them to describe the methods used in the science of systematics.  
- Learners will be able to describe the principles of natural selection and explain how this process can result in evolutionary change.  
- Learners will be able to describe the process of sexual selection and explain how this process has produced a variety of traits in birds.  
- Learners will be able to describe how reproductive isolation drives speciation.  
- Learners will be able describe 2-3 specific ways that hybridization can influence the evolution of or survival of bird species.  
Heather is a published ecologist who has conducted field ecology research for more than a decade.  She has done research in Costa Rica, Teton Mountain National Park, the Southern Appalachian Mountains, and in the Midwest. Her main research interests are birds and landscape ecology. Heather is also an environmental educator and naturalist with over 20 years of experience teaching students of all ages through nature centers, schools, and Girl Scouts.
This is a flexible schedule course designed to take 1-2 hours each week.  
Optional Course Textbook: This course is a part of the Ornithologist in Training curriculum series. Most of the courses are organized by topics that are similar to the chapters in The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Handbook of Bird Biology (Third Edition, ISBN# 978-1-118-29105-4). This text is NOT required for the course; however, some learners may wish to supplement the Ornithologist in Training curriculum series courses with optional textbook reading. In the Handbook of Bird Biology, Chapter 2 Avian Diversity and Classification, Sections 2.1 and 2.2 as well as Chapter 3 How Birds Evolve corresponds closely with the content of this course.
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
No live meetings, and an estimated 1 - 2 hours per week outside of class.
This course uses the following external resources: Pear Deck, Google Jamboard, and Google Forms.  Students will be provided with links in the Outschool Classroom to access relevant resources each week.  Students will not need to create any accounts to access these resources, but are expected to provide their first name only in their responses so that the instructor can review these responses and provide each student with individual feedback in a private message through Outschool communications. 
Lovette IJ and Fitzpatrick JW. 2016. Handbook of Bird Biology, Third Edition. Wiley & Sons, Inc.  Hoboken, NJ.


Heather Gerth, M.S.
Lives in the United States
Published Ecologist, Ornithologist, and Environmental Educator with Over 20 Years of Teaching Experience
66 total reviews
45 completed classes

About Me

***I will be on maternity leave from May-July 2022.  Responses to messages may be delayed during this time, but I still look forward to hearing from you!

I am passionate about ecology, birds, and getting students outside observing and studying... 
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