Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Bio. Sci. 16Y -Ecology Of Selected Wilderness Ecosystems: Course Detail

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

Catalog Description: A field study of selected wilderness sites, comparing their biological inventory (plants & animals), ecological relationships, physical environments, and sensitivity to human interactions and activities. Both qualitative and quantitative field survey techniques will be used to record ecological data at each study site. Management techniques, history and objectives of wilderness preservation, and resource use conflicts will be emphasized.

(typical class outline might include:)

Specific Topics:

Minimum & maximum impact activities (travel, camping, etc.) by humans upon wilderness ecosystems; Identification and biology of characteristic species (plants & animals; Environmental study techniques - sampling with minimal disturbance, examination for environmental changes; Historical and ecological history of specific study sites.

General Concepts and Topics to be emphasized:

Nature of Science and Scientific Thought; Capturing light (chlorophyll and other pigments; Diversity, complexity, stability; Ecosystem - basic parts / examples; Food chains and webs (trophic levels); Environmental suitability; Nutrient Cycling and limitations; Abiotic Environment; Climate, wind, weather, circulation patterns; Formation/ Rocks and minerals, geologic time; Weathering, (chemical, biomechanical); Special soil types (serpentine, etc.); Variability in physical environment; Community Stability; Species interaction and community organization; Autotrophic succession, causes, types; Competition and Diversity; Extinction - Information Value (loss of a resource); Evolution & Natural Selection; Environmental Ethics, resources (use/abuse); Urban Problems / Needs, cost of population growth

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

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