Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Bio. Sci. 16K - Foothill Ecology of the Sierra Nevada: Course Detail

(1.5 unit - approx. 45 hrs. min.)

Catalog Description: Field biology examining the processes of seasonal change, biological responses to change and the composition of local biological communities: identification of local animals, plants (spring wildflowers) and unique ecological islands (Pine Hill, Table Mountain, Ione, & Calveras Big Trees). Study sites range from 100' to 6000' in elevation between Chico (Bidwell Park) and Yosemite National Park area. Includes human's history, influence and use of this region. (Attendance on both field trips required for course completion.)

(typical class outline might include:)

Specific Topics:

Environmental factors involved in community distribution through out the lower elevations of the Sierra Nevada.; Vascular plant anatomy and physiology including major wildflower family characteristics.; Specific habitat descriptions of the local endemic communities.; Rare and endangered plants of the Sierra's foothills - biology, population status and politics.; Ecological examination of biological responses to changing seasons in the foothills and lower mountainous zones.

General Concepts and Topics to be emphasized:

Kingdom Animalia - Review of specific phyla; Kingdom Plants - Review of specific phyla; Diet - Carnivore, herbivore, omnivore, etc.; Ecosystem - basic parts / examples; Gradient Analysis; Production of terrestrial ecosystems; Evapotranspiration and water balance; Climate patterns, regional, microclimates; Geological processes - rivers/glaciers; Soil Horizons - nutrients, etc.; Soil Particle sizes - clay humus complex; Special soil types (serpentine, etc.); Topographic & elevation influences; Community - alternate views on the concept; Disturbance; Organism response to seasonal changes; Seasonal cycles, changes - terrestrial environments; Environmental Ethics, resources (use/abuse); Resources - energy

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(For official course listings, please consult the Sierra College online course catalog.)

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