Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Bio. Sci. 16A - Local Ecosystems of Placer County: Course Detail

(1/2 unit - approx. 13 hrs. min.)

Catalog Description: An introduction to local natural areas and their inhabitants.

Selected ecosystems within Placer County will be investigated in the field to identify and study its characteristic plants and animals and discover their relationships with the physical environment. Specific study sites may vary—see class schedule or contact department.

Typical class outline might include:

For each of the Placer County field study sites, determine as appropriate:

Common plant and animal species present; Describe abiotic elements of the ecosystem (geology, soil, water, air, climate, topography, etc.); Investigate relationships between ecosystem components; Man's influence upon ecosystem (past, present & future).

Biology / Ecology concepts to be emphasized:

Ecosystem - basic parts / examples, Community as a Functional Unit, Gradient Analysis and ecotones, Microenvironments & microclimates, Light - Importance, Niche concepts, Organism response to seasonal changes, Species Importance to ecosystem, Succession - define/examples, Biogeochemical cycles - general concept, Air - Properties - pollution - importance, Evapotranspiration and water balance, Temperature variations, Diet - Carnivore, herbivore, omnivore, etc., Symbiosis & mutualism, Man - as an ecosystem organism, Environmental Ethics, resources (use/abuse), Urban Problems / Needs

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

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