Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Bio. Sci. 16J - Biology of Point Reyes National Seashore: Course Detail

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

Catalog Description: From the cliffs below the lighthouse to the inner coastal woodlands and forest, the National Seashore provides a rich coastal laboratory to study the interaction between life forms, their habitats and man's activities. Coastal habitats: grasslands, mudflats, forest, marsh, cliffs, tidepools, beach and dunes. Depending on season offered, emphasis may include wildflowers, owls & other birds or large mammals.

(typical class outline might include:)

Specific Topics:

Biology of the Spotted Owl and its special habitat requirements.; Flower classification and adaptations to a windy environment.; Some effects of introduced organisms (deer & weeds) upon the ecosystem.; Long term relationships between coastal communities.; The history & politics of Point Reyes National Seashore - open space management.

General Concepts and Topics to be emphasized:

Ecosystem - basic parts / examples; Food chains and webs (trophic levels); Biochemical cycles - Phosphorus cycle; Climate, wind, weather, circulation patterns; Light - nature, physics (composition, etc.); Geological processes - beach/shore, plate tectonics; Estuaries (currents, composition, life forms); Grassland environments; Succession and time/space; Niche concepts; Behavior - Animal and/or plant (Search image, etc.); Food gathering - energy costs; Distribution methods - plants and animals; Population Growth and Regulation; Carrying Capacity of the Environment; Man - as an ecosystem organism; Conservation - Problems / solutions; Biological Magnification; Urban Problems / Needs; Parks and Wilderness system; Concepts of Resource Management

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

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