Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Bio. Sci. 16W -Biology Of Pacific Northwest And The Cascades: Course Detail

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

Catalog Description: Introduction to the biology of the Pacific Northwest Rain Forest, coastal and mountain environments of Washington & Oregon. The cool rain forest of Olympic Peninsula, Cascade Mountains (Mt. Rainier, Mt. Saint Helens, etc.) provides a source of rich and unique plants, animals and environments to study. Largely due to different climate, volcanic soils, changing landscapes and other factors, the biology of this area produces complex layers of life and abundant wildflowers and other organisms to study (compare & contrast). Special topic includes autotrophic succession, distribution of tidepool life along coast, plants and climate of the cool rain forest, ecosystems of the Cascade mountains.

(typical class outline might include:)

Specific Topics:

Changes in landscapes - coastline to mountain crest; Anatomy and physiology of a cool climate, rain forest; Seasons and climate variations - elevation vs. north/south transects (growing season); Mountain animal species - biology, ecology, behavior, adaptations; Succession - time and communities (Mt. Saint Helens & the Cascades).

General Concepts and Topics to be emphasized:

Capturing light (chlorophyll and other pigments; Water - use and loss by biol. systems; Xeric, Mesic, Hydro - plant adaptations; Alternation of generations - life cycles; Asexual reproduction - special methods; Fungi spore dispersal (life cycles); Meiosis and sexual reproduction; Diversity, complexity, stability; Ecosystem - basic parts / examples; Biogeochemical cycles - carbon, water, nutrients; Cation exchange in temperate forest; Cycles and stability; Climate patterns, regional; Light - nature, physics (composition, etc.); Geological processes - glaciers, mountains; Geological processes - plate tectonics; Weathering, (chemical, biomechanical); Soil Horizons - nutrients, etc.; Upwelling & Plankton (Phyto, Zoo); Soil - as an ecosystem; Alpine / Tundra, Forest, Coastline environments; Community Vegetation Structure, stability; Autotrophic & Heterotrophic succession; Hydrarch succession (bog succession); Biological Optimum; Extinction - Information Value (loss of a resource); Parks and Wilderness system; Environmental resources (use/abuse)

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

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