Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
BI 161
Course Title:
Ecology/Field Bio: Great Basin
Credit Hours:
2
Lecture Hours:
20
Lecture/Lab Hours:
0
Lab Hours:
0
Special Fee:
$0.00

Course Description

Introduces the relationships among plants, animals and the general geological formations of various life zones for the Great Basin and/or Cascades geographical areas through a field trip experience. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

1. Fieldwork Statement

Fieldwork is a professional competence in many areas of Biology. Standard field practices include measurements of abiotic and biotic components. Fieldwork includes use of all the senses to make observations in natural and built environments. Field training may include developing skills in site characterization, measurement and data collection, application of key terms and concepts, species identification, and observation. Certain protocols may require use of equipment, chemicals, and expensive gear. Field training is experiential often leading to unique sets of observations/data in particular locations. Fieldwork may include inherent risks (uneven terrain, off-trail work with map & compass, variable weather, insects, environmental irritants, travel, stress, etc.). Fieldwork can be physically challenging and may require overland travel on foot or unusual means to field points, carrying field equipment (as well as food, water, and safety equipment), taking measurements under duress (learning new protocols, requiring remaining in an unusual posture or position for a length of time, timing pressures for certain procedures, holding organisms, variable weather, etc.), survival skills, orienteering, and so on.

2. Evolution Statement

To clarify the teaching of evolution and its place in the classroom, the Portland Community College Biology Departments stand by the following statements about what is science and how the theory of evolution is the major organizing theory in the discipline of the biological sciences.

  1. Science is a fundamentally nondogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. In science, a theory is neither a guess, dogma, nor myth. The theories developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance, but can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation.
  2. The theory of evolution meets the criteria of a scientific theory. In contrast, creation "science" is neither self-examining nor investigatory. Creation "science" is not considered a legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F. 2d 1004).

Biology instructors of Portland Community College will teach the theory of evolution not as absolute truth but as the most widely accepted scientific theory on the diversity of life. We, the Biology Subject Area Curriculum Committee at Portland Community College, therefore stand with such organizations as the National Association of Biology Teachers in opposing the inclusion of pseudo-sciences in our science curricula.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Students should be able to:

  1. Use knowledge of the plant and animal species for further appreciation of the diversity of life.
  2. Use knowledge of the niche and habitat of organisms of the Great Basin and/or Cascades region to apply to the interconnections between organisms of this planet.
  3. Use knowledge of the basic geological process that formed this region as a basis for understanding of how abiotic factors affect other biotic distribution patterns.
  4. Operate a variety of scientific field research equipment in other courses or for other projects.
  5. Communicate more effectively about biological topics orally and in writing.

Outcome Assessment Strategies


Course outcome assessment will be achieved using a combination of the following: field journals, reflective journals, group projects, individual projects, quizzes, tests, homework assignments, presentations, papers, and self-assessment of group dynamics.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  •  Field Sampling
  • Plant Identification
  • Animal Identification
  • Measuring Environmental Parameters
  • Geological Processes
  • Malheur Wetland Ecology
  • Alvord Desert and Hotspring Ecology
  • Human Impact (historical and present day)

Process Skills: 

  • Read
  • Write
  • Field and Laboratory Techniques and Equipment
    • perform water and soil analysis
    • use taxonomic keys
    • use equipment to characterize plant communities
  • Locating and accessing information
  • Think critically
  • Collaborate with peers-work effectively in groups
  • Present (both oral and written) conclusions logically