Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Bio. Sci. 16R - Canyon Lands of the Southwest: Course Detail

(2 unit - approx. 54 hrs. min.)

Catalog Description: Field class exploring the wetlands, forest and deserts of the Grand Canyon and nearby natural areas. Identification, distribution and adaptation of local and unusual species (plants and animals) living in association with canyon topography. Topography variation (canyon vs. rangeland forms) as a source of unique microenvironments existing within an overall semi-arid climate type. Principles and practices of land and resource management and its effects on natural systems investigated. Ecology and management of the Colorado River contrasted to local rivers in California.

(typical class outline might include:)

Specific Topics:

Water conflicts between man's growing population and ecosystem needs - resource use (water, energy, wilderness); Changing climate and environments recorded in the rocks of the Grand Canyon series; Life zone distribution (communities) -- abiotic environmental differences and response by living systems; Microenvironments and microclimates - making available niches.

General Concepts and Topics to be emphasized:

Nature of Science and Scientific Thought; Minerals of Life; Water - use and loss by biol. systems; Temperature relationships (production); Environmental suitability; Biogeochemical cycles - general, phosphorus cycle ex.; Water cycle - watersheds; Formation/ Rocks and minerals; Geological time frames & geomorphology; Soil Particle sizes - clay humus complex; Microenvironments & Microclimates; Riparian environments - importance to other habitats; Niche concepts; Herbivores and plant populations; Life tables - Population age structure and sex ratios; Origins of Life - Theory of Evolution (sense of time); Human Population Growth - population placement & needs; Soil erosion / conservation; Environmental Ethics, resources (use/abuse); Urban Problems / Needs -- cost of regulation

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