Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Bio. Sci. 16E - Ecology of the Sierran Conifer Forest: Course Detail

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

Catalog Description: Introduction to forest biology / ecology emphasizing interrelationships between the Sierran forest inhabitants (animals, plants, fungi) and their environment. Study sites include a variety forest and other associated mountain ecological communities. Depending on season offered, special topics may include: fungi biology, wildflower ecology, tree anatomy, forest nutrient cycles, forest birds, and soil organisms.

(typical class outline might include:)

Specific Topics:

Habitat Features - Tree canopy, snags, underground protection; Habitat variety - Aspect, Slope, Substrate, Moisture, Shade, etc.; Flowering plants (structure, taxonomy, seed anatomy & distribution); Fungi (Major groups, Life cycles, Spore dispersal, Identification); Conifers (Taxonomy, anatomy, life cycles, distribution, adaptation); Animals (Invertebrates, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles); Human Impacts (Sierran history, land use, conservation, acid rain)

General Concepts and Topics to be emphasized:

Kingdom Plants - Review of specific phyla; Diffusion, Osmosis, Bulk flow, Active Transport; Photosynthesis & Organic compounds (of life); Cell Theory - cell organization, strategies; Water, transport systems /Transpiration relationships; Plant Functional Anatomy; Alternation of generations - life cycles; Asexual reproduction - special methods; Fungi spore dispersal (life cycles); Ecosystem - basic parts / examples; Detritus Pathways of Energy flow (decomposers); Food chains and webs (trophic levels); Production - gross & net; Biogeochemical cycles - general concept; Carbon & Nitrogen cycles; Mycorrhizae (fungi and tree roots); Solar Radiation and filtration; Soil - as an ecosystem; Plant Distributions, Biomes / Biogeographic Regions; Community - alternate views on the concept; Autotrophic succession; Heterotrophic succession; Symbiosis: mutualism, parasitism

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

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