Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Bio. Sci. 16B - Local Ecosystems Of Nevada County: Course Detail

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

Catalog Description: Selected ecosystems within Nevada 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. This class is an introduction to local natural areas and their inhabitants.

Typical class outline might include:

For each of the Nevada 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:

Levels of organization (life forms), Diversity, complexity, community stability, Stability at the individual level, Disturbance - effects of, Ecosystem - basic parts / examples, Community as a Functional Unit, Niche concepts, Microenvironments & microclimates, Habitat concepts, Biogeochemical cycles - general concept, Air Pollution -- (including acid rain), Elevation relationships, Responses to stimuli (photoperiod, chemical, etc.), Organism response to seasonal changes, Mycorrhizae (fungi and tree roots), Nitrification, Formation/ Rocks and minerals, Soil Formation / Ecology, Man - as an ecosystem organism, Environmental Ethics, resources (use/abuse), Use of dichotomous keys for plant identification

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

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