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CCOG for BI 200B Summer 2022

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

Course Description

Introduces concepts of ecology and biodiversity. Covers distribution of organisms and their interactions with their environment. Explores physical factors of ecosystems such as climate, soil, and water. Introduces field sampling, environmental testing, and exploration of factors affecting biodiversity. Often involves regional 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

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Describe the natural history of a field site using direct observation and document research.
  2. Apply the scientific method to design a field experiment, collect data, and present  results and conclusions.
  3. Apply biological principles and generalizations to novel problems.
  4. Analyze the positive and negative effects of personal decisions on ecosystems and propose changes to mitigate negative effects.
  5. Explain informed positions or opinions on contemporary issues using documented research and applying ecological concepts.

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

BI 200B Principles of Ecology: Field Biology, prepares students for life as members of an informed society, with the ability to understand and to continue learning about issues related to our natural environment. Inquiries about populations, species interactions, ecosystems, and the relationship between humans and their environment are the basis of this course, and are used as a platform for practicing both qualitative and quantitative reasoning. Laboratory and field investigations allow students to develop skills in scientific information-gathering, developing hypotheses, and discerning the meaning of facts and data. By exploring human societies’ interactions, the natural world, deepen their understanding of themselves and their natural environment in this course. Relevance to our everyday lives- personal, professional, and as members of a community, is revealed as we anchor environmental topics to the theme of sustainability. By identifying ways in which our decisions and actions affect the living world, this course promotes an understanding of community and environmental implications, so that students may make informed decisions about how to use and manage natural resources in ways that preserve natural capital, support biodiversity, and contribute to ecosystem services. As this class often includes international travel, it provides students an opportunity to understand cultural differences and how these differences can lead to differing expectations of ethical participation in society and interaction with the natural environment.

Aspirational Goals

Aspirational Goals (Optional): Develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the field site that translates into actions that support healthy ecosystems.  

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment Tasks may include:

  • Essay, short answer, and multiple-choice questions in quizzes, exams, and/or homework
  • Field and/or laboratory reports or journals
  • Research papers
  • Self-assessment and reflection assignments
  • Presentations
  • Concept maps
  • Creation and/or interpretation of graphs

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
  • Population genetics
  • Taxonomy and the use of dichotomous keys
  • Phylogenetic reconstruction
  • Plant anatomy and ecophysiology
  • Animal anatomy and ecophysiology
  • Species interactions
  • Biodiversity and conservation practices
  • Biogeochemical cycles
  • Ecosystem services
  • Energy relationships

Biology 200 is relevant to many contemporary issues, such as:

  • Effects of chemical pollution
  • Human impact on ecosystems
  • Dwindling biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Acid rain
  • Waste management
  • Water treatment
  • Energy production
  • Agricultural practices
  • Transportation practices

Competencies and Skills:

  • Use field and laboratory techniques and equipment, for example, run transects, field identification of taxa, specimen collections, etc.
  • Locate and access reliable biological information relevant to area of study
  • Articulate scientific processes in written and/or oral format
  • Represent and interpret quantitative data
  • Draw conclusions based on evidence and present conclusions logically
  • Read and evaluate scientific literature
  • Relate scientific concepts to ecosystems.
  • Identify sources of scientific uncertainty.
  • Collaborate with peers.
  • Make informed decisions and understand impacts of individual and group actions.