Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
BI 200B
Course Title:
Principles of Ecology: Field Biology
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces concepts of ecology. Includes lecture component covering the concepts of ecology and diversity of life and a field component surveying plants, animals, or other kingdoms, and interactions with their environment. May involve national or international travel. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. 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 non-dogmatic 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

After completion of this course, students should be able to:

A. Appreciate the natural history of a field site based upon moderate exposure to content knowledge based on the site.
B. Use the scientific method for experimental design in the field, data collection, and presentations of results and conclusions.
C. Analyze their individual thinking and learning styles and how their styles can be integrated with methods used in science.
D. Discover and investigate major themes in biology
E. Apply biological principles and generalizations to novel problems
F. Practice application of biological information in their lives (personal, work and career)
G. Develop informed positions or opinions on contemporary issues

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment Tasks may include:
scientific papers that follow standard scientific format presenting independent investigations and may include peer-review(s);
oral presentations of biological information, informed positions on contemporary issues, and/or laboratory results;
design and interpretation of field studies;
major independent projects, such as, experiential learning plus journals, botany collections with ecosystem reports, library research term papers, and field journals;
scientific article critiques;
laboratory practical exams or quizzes;

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes and Concepts may include any subset of the following:
The distribution and adaptations of organisms
Population ecology
Community ecology
Ecosystem ecology
Human Ecology
Evolution by natural selection
Population genetics
Survey of biodiversity
Taxonomy and the use of dichotomous keys
Phylogenetic reconstruction
Plant anatomy and ecophysiology
Animal anatomy and ecophysiology
Biology 200 is relevant to many contemporary issues, such as, effects of pollution, how humans impact food webs and ecosystems, dwindling biodiversity, global warming, acid rain, overpopulation, etc.
Competencies and Skills:
Use field and laboratory techniques and equipment, for example, run transects, use of GIS, field identification of taxa, specimen collections, etc.
Locate and access biological information relevant to area of study
Think critically
Collaborate with peers -- work effectively in groups
Articulate scientific processes in written and/or oral format
Present data using the scientific format
Present conclusions logically
Read scientific literature
Apply the scientific method