Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Bio. Sci. 16I - Biology of the Mono Lake and the Great Basin: Course Detail

(1 unit - approx. 30 hrs. min.)

Catalog Description: Ecological investigations into the unique ecosystem of the Mono lake / Bodie area of the Great Basin Desert. Its ecology and history will be used to comprehend the current biological & political status of this special habitat. Fieldwork will emphasize the region's terrestrial and aquatic animals, plants, geology, unique species, ecological importance, man's influence and current use.

(typical class outline might include:)

Specific Topics:

Unique structure and function of Mono Lake's ecosystem.; Bodie's history & the effects of its people on the desert ecosystems.; Region's history of water conflicts between man and nature.; Geologic history (ice age, etc.) of Mono Lake and the desert.

General Concepts and Topics to be emphasized:

Water - use and loss by biol. systems; Ecosystem - basic parts / examples; Diversity, complexity, stability; Ecosystem homeostasis; Energy transfer dynamics; Food chains and webs (trophic levels); Pyramids of Productivity, biomass, numbers; Production of Aquatic ecosystems; Geological processes - plate tectonics; Rain shadow effect (causes of deserts); Plankton (Phyto, Zoo); Species interaction and community organization; Primary succession; Niche concepts; Migration and Dormancy; Population Growth and Regulation; Limiting factors; Extinction and species Diversity; Human Population Growth; Pesticides and Heavy Metal Pollution; Environmental Ethics, resources (use/abuse); Cost of regulation; Urban Problems / Needs

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

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