CCOG for BI 142 Summer 2024

Course Number:
BI 142
Course Title:
Habitats: Marine Biology
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Provides a survey of basic ecological principles related to marine ecosystems, with a focus on local habitats and organisms. Discusses interconnectedness of human societies and marine systems. Includes a laboratory component that explores biological and physical aspects of marine systems. 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 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

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Apply basic ecological principles to describe the structure and function of marine ecosystems.
  2. Observe and identify marine organisms with a focus on local habitats.
  3. Discuss the interconnectedness of human societies and marine systems.
  4. Evaluate data related to biological, chemical, and physical components of marine systems.

Quantitative Reasoning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to analyze questions or problems that impact the community and/or environment using quantitative information.

General education philosophy statement

The oceans are essential to life on earth, and our marine ecosystems are under great pressure. This course introduces concepts, skills and scientific approaches used to study marine systems. Students will investigate the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of these systems, as well as the complex relationships between humans and marine resources. In this course, students deepen their understanding of their relationship to the natural environment and develop their ability to reason quantitatively by performing data collection and interpretation.

Aspirational Goals

Nurture a love of the ocean that translates into action that supports healthy marine systems. 

Course Activities and Design

Course activities may include:

  1. Lectures
  2. Field trips
  3. Active learning approaches such as relevant case studies
  4. Laboratory sections may include fieldwork and laboratory experiences using a variety of skills such as: proper use of equipment, data collection and analysis, use of dichotomous keys to identify common marine species, and dissection
  5. Written lab reports or papers
  6. Oral presentations
  7. Reflection activities

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Outcomes Assessment Strategies:

  1. Exams and quizzes which may include multiple choice, matching, true-or-false, short-answer, identification, and essay questions.
  2. Written lab reports and/or lab notebooks
  3. Written assignments
  4. Oral presentations

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Concepts and Themes:

  1. Introduction to physical and chemical oceanography
  2. Fundamentals of ecology
  3. Structure and function in marine organisms
  4. Biodiversity of marine ecosystems
  5. Interactions between marine, terrestrial, and atmospheric systems.
  6. Interconnectedness of human societies and marine systems


  1. Marine habitat degradation
  2. Effects of climate change on marine ecosystems and coastal communities
  3. Biodiversity loss
  4. Endangered species
  5. Overfishing
  6. Plastics in the ocean


  1. Collect data related to marine habitats
  2. Careful observation of marine organisms
  3. Use dichotomous keys
  4. Analyze data related to environmental parameters and present conclusions
  5. Practice scientific literacy by locating and accessing reliable information and use this information to draw logical conclusions
  6. Collaborate with peers and work effectively within groups
  7. Clear written and oral presentation of information and data