Bio 130's Big Sur field trip

Ecology, Evolution, & Environment

The principles of Ecology and Evolution are implicit in many of the classes offered by the Department. We also offer classes that focus more specifically on these topics.  These classes are listed below.

  • Offered online in Fall semesters and on-campus in Spring semesters. Instructors: Larry Friesen (online) and Jennifer Maupin (on campus)

    Principles of biological evolution, diversity of life on Earth, and a survey of living and extinct organisms. Investigates theories of life's origin, modes of speciation and adaptations of dominant life forms through the ages. Evolution and Adaptation (Biology 112) combined with the optional Biology Laboratory (Biology 141) satisfies the SBCC General Education Requirement in Natural Sciences and transfers to all UC and California State University campuses where they will satisfy a general education requirement for a life science laboratory course. Evolution and Adaptation alone satisfies the UC/CSU general education (IGETC) requirement for a life science lecture course.
     
    SBCC General Education: SBCC GE Area A Lecture
    Transfer Information: CSU GE Area B2, IGETC Area 5B, CSU Transferable, UC Transferable

    Description of the on-campus class:
    What is evolution?  What are its causes, how and why does it vary from one population or species to another, and what does it have to do with genes, randomness, and the environment?  A famous biologist once said “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,” and indeed biologists now view the world and all biological inquiry through the lens of evolution and adaptation.  In Bio 112, we study the development of Darwin’s theory of evolution, and tie ideas of natural selection in with more recent knowledge from the fields of genetics, DNA analysis, development, and paleontology.  Throughout the course, we emphasize how the process of evolution connects all species while at the same time making each of us unique. Sample syllabus for the on campus class.

    Description of the online class:
    Evolution and Adaptation is a general biology course emphasizing the history of the development of the theory of evolution, the mechanisms by which organisms change over time, and how these changes under the influence of natural selection has produced organisms adapted to the environments within which they live. Sample syllabus.

    The course objectives for both the on-campus and the online BIOL 112 are:
    • Describe principles of evolution.
    • Correlate historical events with advances in understanding of evolutionary processes.
    • Describe the underlying genetic basis of inherited characteristics.
    • Solve elementary problems of Mendelian and population genetics.
    • Explain the underlying bases of systematics, classification and taxonomy.
    • Describe the functional design of major taxa of each kingdom with special emphasis on trends of major invertebrate and vertebrate group evolution.
    • Describe the chemical evolution of Universe and Earth and the scientific theories relating to the origin of life.
    • Provide an annotated time scale of the history of life on Earth.

  • BIOL 122 is usually taught every semester including summer.  Instructor: Larry Friesen

    Ecology is a general biology course emphasizing the history of the development of the principles of ecology, the interactions of organisms with biotic and abiotic elements of their environment, the growth and distribution of populations, and the relationships that occur within communities. Ecology (Biology 122) combined with the optional Ecology Laboratory (Biology 123) satisfies the SBCC General Education Requirement in Natural Sciences and transfers to all UC and California State University campuses where they will satisfy a general education requirement for a life science laboratory course. Ecology alone satisfies the UC/CSU general education (IGETC) requirement for a life science lecture course. Sample syllabus.
    BIOL 122 satisfies SBCC General Education Requirement in Natural Sciences when combined with Biology 123.
    SBCC General Education: SBCC GE Area A Lecture

    Transfer Information: CSU GE Area B2, IGETC Area 5B, CSU Transferable, UC Transferable

    The Student Learning Outcomes for this course are:
    • Describe gene transmission from generation to generation in populations, the five “forces” that drive evolution and how gene frequencies change.
    • Describe population growth, survivorship, distribution, the limitations to growth, and the effects of reproductive isolation.
    • Describe "niche" and "community" and the conditions that operate in neutral and niche-based models of community structure using examples of adaptations of organisms from a variety of habitats and examples of communities both ancient and modern.
    • Compare and contrast nutrient flow within aquatic, marine and terrestrial ecosystems using multiple examples from a variety of habitats.

  • BIOL 123: Ecology Lab.  Online. Offered frequently but not every semester. Instructor: Larry Friesen

    BIOL 123: Ecology Laboratory is the companion course to Ecology (BIOL 122) that provides exercises that illustrate ecological principles. You must currently be enrolled in Ecology or have completed Ecology in order to enroll in the laboratory. The laboratory sequence comprises ten self-contained exercises, independent of the lecture, that illustrate different aspects of population growth, structure, abundance, distribution, and biodiversity. Sample syllabus.

    Satisfies SBCC General Education Requirement in Natural Sciences when combined with Biology 122.
    SBCC General Education: SBCC GE Area A Lab.

    Transfer Information: CSU GE Area B3, IGETC Area 5C, CSU Transferable, UC Transferable.

    The Student Learning Outcomes for this course are:
    • Describe general ecology principles and how they are quantified.
    • Design and complete population sampling experiments to determine population size and growth, predator-prey interactions, and reproductive potential.
    • Calculate values from data collected that describe size, age structure, variation and distribution of populations, biodiversity of an area, and environmental factors determining growth and success.

  • Instructor: Larry Friesen

    Diversity, adaptations and evolutionary history of life on Earth; principles of ecology and evolution. Examination of theories of systematics and nomenclature.
    Course Advisories: High school biology. Skills Advisories: Eligibility for ENG 110 or 110H.

    Transfer Information: CSU GE Area B2, IGETC Area 5B, CSU Transferable, UC Transferable

    The Student Learning Outcomes for BIOL 150 are:
    • Describe the molecular and structural unity of life, explain how evolution, natural selection and natural phenomena increase and decrease biodiversity, and discuss the reasons that certain areas of Earth are “biodiversity hotspots”.
    • Describe the history of biodiversity on Earth, the sequence of appearance of organisms in a taxonomic/systematic context, and the times and causes of mass extinctions.
    • Compare and contrast experimental methods and mathematical formulae that are used to define biodiversity, species richness, abundance, carrying capacity, and population growth and structure.
    • Describe the characteristics of phyla and superphyla, how morphological characters and analysis of genomes can be used to define and divide populations of organisms of different ancestry as well as unite related groups, and discuss the reasons that some clades are difficult to place on the “tree of life”.

  •  BIOL 171 is taught only in the Fall semesters.  Instructor: Mike Masson


    In this course we will examine the process of evolution as it applies to the evolution of the human species and its primate relatives.  We will study the structural and behavioral adaptations of humans and the other primates, and the fossils that bear on the evolution of all the primates and of humans in particular.  Sample syllabus.

    Transfer Information: CSU GE Area B2, IGETC Area 5B, CSU Transferable, UC Transferable
    UC Transfer Limit: BIOL 171, ANTH 101 and ANTH 101H combined: maximum credit, one course.

    After taking this course, you should be able to:
    • Explain, at length and with specific examples, the story of human evolution.
    • Explain why we humans look the way we do, and why we are built the way we are.
    • Explain our biological relationship to the other primates.
    • Integrate new findings into your understanding of these matters, as they arise.

Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program designed to develop an understanding of living and non-living earth processes and how they affect and are affected by the human population. Courses in biology, earth sciences and history provide a foundation in the functioning of living systems including population growth, ecology, and toxicology; geologic processes including energy resources, geologic hazards, and pollution; and human attitudes towards nature including historical perspective and context for our current situation.

  • In the Spring and Fall semesters, ENVS 110 is offered in a hybrid format (one lecture/week online and one lecture/week on campus).  ENVS 110 is offered fully online in Spring, Fall and one of the summer sessions. Instructor: Adam Green.

    Growth and variations in populations of organisms and their interactions with the physical environment. Characteristics of living natural resources and changes caused by expanding human populations and technological developments. Satisfies SBCC General Education requirement in Natural Sciences when combined with ENVS 111. (Required for the Environmental Studies major.) Sample syllabus.
    Skills Advisories: Eligibility for ENG 110 or ENG 110H.
    SBCC General Education: SBCC GE Area A Lecture

    Transfer Information: CSU GE Area B2, IGETC Area 5B, CSU Transferable, UC Transferable

    The Student Learning Outcomes for this class are:
    • 1 - Explain and apply the fundamentals of evolution and population dynamics to the interaction of humans with the biological world.
    • 2 - Explain how ecosystem function affects and is affected by producing food, securing water and producing energy and the resulting consequences for human populations.
    • 3 - Analyze the sources of pollution and their impacts on ecosystems and human health.

  •  Offered Spring and Fall semesters. Instructor: Adam Green

    Field studies designed to demonstrate general ecological/environmental principles through exposure to and analysis of many different communities and sites of environmental concern. Satisfies SBCC General Education requirement in Natural Sciences when combined with ENVST 110. Sample syllabus 
    Corequisites: ENVS 110. Skills Advisories: Eligibility for ENG 110 or ENG 110H.
    SBCC General Education: SBCC GE Area A Lab
    Transfer Information: CSU GE Area B3, IGETC Area 5C, CSU Transferable, UC Transferable
    UC Transfer Limit: No credit for ENVST 111 unless taken after or concurrently with 110.

    The objectives for ENVS 111 are: 
    • Collect data using field water chemistry analysis equipment
    • Collect data for abundance and distribution of populations in a variety of habitats using observational techniques.
    • Describe ecological relationships and the impact of the loss of species at different trophic levels
    • Identify ecological problems and human impacts in evidence at a site
    • Describe the process of waste water treatment, waste disposal, air pollution monitoring, energy development and use, and the impacts of these activities on the human population and surrounding environment.
    • Describe and explain conflict resolution.

  • Offered Fall semester only • on campus • 2 unit • Instructor: Adam Green

    Skills Advisories: Eligibility for ENG 110 or ENG 110H.

    Students work in groups to develop projects that make the college and local community more sustainable. Lectures, discussions and workshops provide the student with current knowledge in environmental science, sustainable practices, and real-world skills needed to implement practical solutions to local environmental and social problems.

    Transfer Information: CSU Transferable

    Student Learning Outcomes:
    • 1 - Develop and implement a project that addresses sustainable practices on the campus or in the community.
    • 2 - Visually and verbally present the results of a project coherently and effectively.
    • 3 - Write a coherent and effective report on a project using appropriate evidence and documenting sources and collaborators.