Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Bio. Sci. 16T - Coastal Habitats of Northern California: Course Detail

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

Catalog Description: Biological & ecological survey of the special features of the California coast between Prairie Creek Redwoods National Park (Humbolt area) and Point Reyes National Seashore (Marin area). Terrestrial ecosystems in association with the coastline will be emphasized, including aspects such as: climate, geology, ecology and species diversity of each ecosystem examined. Marine habitats (tidepools and mudflats), redwood and mixed evergreen forest, coastal scrub and beach (dune), special habitats will be studied, identifying local plants, animals and relationships between them. The human impacts of a growing population upon the natural environments will be observed and discussed.

(typical class outline might include:)

Specific Topics:

Tidepool ecology - abiotic factors of living at the edge of the sea; Redwood forest - biology of a long-term climax species and effects of lumbering practices (past & current); Special adaptations of sand dune plants and other coastal species; Coastline - historic uses and importance to mankind.

General Concepts and Topics to be emphasized:

Kingdom Plants & Animalia - Review of specific phyla; Levels of organization (life forms); Photosynthesis, Osmosis, Bulk flow; Xeric, Mesic, Hydro - plant adaptations; Alternation of generations - life cycles; Diversity, complexity, stability; Ecosystem - basic parts / examples; Ecosystem homeostasis; Energy transfer dynamics; Food chains and webs (trophic levels); Nitrogen cycle; Climate, wind, weather, circulation patterns; Light - nature, physics (composition, etc.); Temperature variations; Geological processes - beach/shore; Soil Horizons - nutrients, etc.; Soil - Podsolization, Laterization, Calcification; Tides - cause, effects; Community Vegetation; Structure & stability; Populations and generation time, reproduction rates; Horizontal and vertical Zonation; Environmental resources (use/abuse)

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

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