Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Bio. Sci. 16M - Marine Mammals and Birds: Course Detail

(1.5 unit - approx. 45 hrs. min.)

Catalog Description: Introduction to the biology & ecology of marine mammals & marine birds. Both shore & pelagic organisms are discussed, emphasizing California associated species. Field & lecture topics includes: adaptations, behavior, reproduction, distribution, anatomy, physiology, identification, evolution, ecology, & current status of whales, elephant seals, true & eared seals, sea otters, bay & shore birds, & sea birds.

(typical class outline might include:)

Specific Topics:

Evolution of marine mammals - fossil forms, environmental pressures; Field characteristics of marine mammals and marine birds; Biology of whales (gray), seals, walrus, otters, sea birds, & shore birds; Man's historical involvement with marine mammals and birds.; Introduction to marine ecological communities and zones; Ecosystems of Monterey Bay: wharf, deep reefs, sandy beach, pelagic, mudflats, tidepools, etc. (when held in Monterey area); History and ecology of Ana Neuvo Island & biology of Elephant Seals.

General Concepts and Topics to be emphasized:

Kingdom Animalia - specific phyla & functional anatomy; Food chains and webs (trophic levels); Production of Aquatic ecosystems; Pyramids of Productivity, biomass, numbers; Phosphorus & Nitrogen cycle; Air currents (global) - winds, waves; Atmosphere - organization and composition; Climate Patterns, global & regional; Variation in Aquatic Environments; Water - Properties, tides, chemistry, Ocean currents; Upwelling - currents, plankton (zoo & phytoplankton); Estuaries (currents, composition, life forms); Ocean & coastal environments (communities); Species interaction and community organization; Behavior - Animal and/or plant & niche concepts; Coexistence - resource partitioning; Distribution methods - plants and animals; Competitive exclusion principle; Populations: variation, reproduction. rates, generation time; Theory of Evolution; Extinction and species Diversity; Mutations, recombination, genetic pool; Conservation - Problems / solutions; Biological Magnification

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

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