Newt at Hastings Preserve. Photo credit: Adam Green

Field Classes, Seminars, Projects, & Independent Studies

We hope to resume field classes in 2022

Classes with a Field Component

The Biological Sciences Department offers a variety of courses with a field component.  Time off campus can vary between an hour (students in Bio 125: Marine Biology making a quick trip down to the harbor to gather samples) to a couple of nights (a weekend trip to a University of California Reserve at Big Sur for students in BIOL 130: Methods in Field Biology).  On these field trips, students learn techniques of data collection, practice their observational skills, learn more about a variety of habitats, and become more comfortable in the outdoors.


Classes with overnight field trips
  • Instructors: Adam Green and MIchelle Paddack.
    Through weekly field trips and two different weekend field experiences, students will study flora and fauna of California using current biological and ecological field research methods, collect and analyze data, demonstrate leadership and group work skills, and write and present a research proposal. Students must be able to hike in rough terrain and carry bulky equipment. Hours: 90 (36 lecture, 54 lab).  Sample syllabus

    Transfer Information: CSU Transferable

    The objectives of this course are:
    • Become familiar with flora & fauna of California & apply biological and ecological knowledge to field surveys.
    • Understand the art & structure of conducting biological & ecological field research.
    • Learn a variety of field techniques used in ecological and management studies to survey habitat and census plant and animal populations.
    • Learn how to plan and conduct field research, demonstrating leadership and group work skills.
    • Practice skills in data handling & analysis
    • Practice skills in oral presentation
    • Have fun in the field in beautiful places!
  • Instructor: Matt Kay
    Flora, vegetation and major ecological features of natural ecosystems. The core component of this class is a series of field trips, some of which are multiple overnight camping expeditions (e.g., Thursday or Friday - Sunday) or day trips that depart at irregular hours. During field trips, students will be required to keep a field notebook. Know that biological fieldwork requires alertness, tenacity, and organization, as well as responsible behavior to avoid accidents and personal injury.  Hours: 90 (36 lecture, 54 lab) Sample Syllabus

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

    The objectives of this course are:
    • Demonstrate the techniques used in the observation and interpretation of natural flora and vegetation.
    • Describe the basic principles operating in natural areas.
    • Record scientific observations of and demonstrate familiarity with the major ecological features of the area(s) visited.

Classes with half day or full day field trips
  • Instructor: Matt Kay
    In this course we will explore flowering plant diversity and identification. We will have three general goals this semester:
    • Become comfortable using The Jepson Manual, 2nd Edition, and other references useful for plant identification.
    • Achieve familiarity with many common and “important” (ecologically and economically) plant families in California (which are also common/important worldwide).
    • Have fun and put our skills to the test in a series of field trips later in the semester!

    Botanical classification, methods of identification and recognition of important California plant species and families. Hours: 90 (36 lecture, 54 lab). Sample Syllabus

    Transfer Information: CSU GE Area B2, CSU GE Area B3, IGETC Area 5B, IGETC Area 5C, CSU Transferable, UC Transferable. UC Transfer Limit: BOT 100, 121 and 122 combined: maximum credit, two courses.

  • Instructor: Krista Fahy
    Eight-week short course. Anatomy, physiology, evolution and behavior of birds. Field trips are timed to coincide with migratory periods and emphasize identification and classification. Sample Syllabus
    Hours: 45 (18 lecture, 27 lab)
    Transfer Information: CSU Transferable

Classes with field trips during lab time (1 - 2 hour field trips)
  • 4 units • Instructor: Jennifer Maupin (for the face-to-face class)
    Natural History is a very broad field that emphasizes observation of the natural world. In this course, we study concepts of botany, zoology, ecology, evolution, geology, meteorology, and more, and apply our knowledge to examination of our local natural habitats.  Weekly labs are primarily field trips to spots of interest in and around Santa Barbara.  These include walks on the beach, hikes in the hills, and sampling of streams and tide pools.  Whether you’ve lived in Santa Barbara your whole life or are new to the area, Bio 120 is a great way to get to know your local environment.   Sample syllabus for the face-to-face class.
    BIOL 120 is also offered online.  The online version of the class has online labs. 

    Both the online and the on-campus versions of BIOL 120 satisfy SBCC's General Education requirement in Natural Sciences. SBCC General Education: SBCC GE Area A
    Transfer Information: CSU GE Area B2, CSU GE Area B3, IGETC Area 5B, IGETC Area 5C, CSU Transferable, UC Transferable

    The Student Learning Outcomes for BIOL 120 are:
    • BIOL 120 SLO 1 - Distinguish major groups of organisms based on their structures, means of producing or acquiring food, and life history.
    • BIOL 120 SLO 2 - Compare and contrast different communities through a description of the diversity of organisms, the biological and physical factors that determine geographic range, and the adaptations that make each species successful in their particular habitat and niche.
    • BIOL 120 SLO 3 - Identify and describe major ecological, geological, climatological, and historical forces that shape global and local landscapes and ecosystems.

  • 4 units • Fall semesters only • Instructor: Michelle Paddack 
    Relationships between marine plants and animals and physical characteristics of Earth's oceans. Emphasis on forms of marine organisms found in the open sea, their characteristics and ecological relationships. Biological sampling techniques and physical measurements studied in laboratory and at sea. Sample Syllabus

    Student Learning Outcomes for BI0L 124: Biological Oceanography:
    • Physical: Summarize the major physical aspects of the oceans (salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, pH), how each one varies or does not vary, and how each one affects marine life (geographically and/or seasonally).
    • Adaptations: Describe basic adaptations that occur in marine pelagic organisms to facilitate buoyancy, migrations, and reproduction.
    • Communities: Compare and contrast marine benthic communities in tropical, polar, and deep-sea marine environments.
    • Lab: Recognize the major pieces of oceanographic equipment, what each one samples or measures, and what the sample or measurement can tell about the ocean.

    SBCC General Education: SBCC GE Area A
    Transfer Information: CSU GE Area B2, CSU GE Area B3, IGETC Area 5B, IGETC Area 5C, CSU Transferable, UC Transferable
    UC Transfer Limit: BIOL 124 combined with EARTH 151: maximum credit, one course.

  • 1 unit • Fall and Spring semesters • Instructor: Adam Green
    ENVS 111: Environmental Field Studies is a lab and field based course that can be taken concurrently with ENVS 110 or after completion of ENVS 110. 

    ENVS 111 is designed to better connect students to the issues around humans and their interaction with the surrounding environment and teach some basic skills in environmental science. Most labs are off campus in the field where we explore local ecosystems, collect data on biodiversity and environmental quality. During this course you will learn more about the basic science we cover in ENVS 110 and some of the issues specific to managing ecosystems, protecting species, water supply and quality, food systems, and waste management.

    Satisfies SBCC General Education requirement in Natural Sciences when combined with ENVS 110.
    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 Student Learning Outcomes for ENVS 111 are:
    • ENVS 111 SLO 1 - Explain how global environmental issues affect our local region.
    • ENVS 111 SLO 2 - Explain how local human activities affect the environment and how changes in the environment affect the local ecology and human population.

  • 4 units • Spring semesters only • Instructor: Michelle Paddack 

    By studying the local marine plants, algae and animals, students learn the basic structure, feeding habits, and reproductive modes of these representative species.  Their ecological adaptations are studied by the interactions between the organisms and their environment. Laboratory covers particular habitats in the littoral zone during low tides.

    In lecture students will learn to:
    • Define the major ecological principles operating in marine communities.
    • Recognize marine plankton as the base of most marine food webs.
    • Identify the major groups of marine organisms.
    • Compare the major littoral habitats, the species of marine organisms commonly found in each one, and their adaptations to the habitat.

    In lab students will learn to:
    • Recognize common littoral marine organisms of the West Coast of North America and understand the roles they play in specific marine ecosystems.
    • Specify the major marine physical and biological forces at work in littoral zones.

    SBCC General Education: SBCC GE Area A
    Transfer Information: CSU GE Area B2, CSU GE Area B3, IGETC Area 5B, IGETC Area 5C, CSU Transferable, UC Transferable
    UC Transfer Limit: BIOL 125 and 126 combined: maximum credit, one course.

  • 5 units • Spring and Fall semesters • Instructor: Blake Barron • Class for  Biology Majors

    Prerequisites: MATH 107 or MATH 110C or MATH 137C or SS 110C or equivalent based on SBCC's Assessment Center placement via multiple measures. 
    Course Advisories: BIOL 101, ENG 110 or ENG 110H.

    Principles of animal taxonomy, evolution, population and community ecology; protist and animal diversity and adaptations; emphasis on vertebrate anatomy and physiology. Required for the Biological Sciences major. Satisfies SBCC General Education requirement in Natural Sciences. Sample syllabus.

    SBCC General Education: SBCC GE Area A
    Transfer Information: CSU GE Area B2, CSU GE Area B3, IGETC Area 5B, IGETC Area 5C, CSU Transferable, UC Transferable
    C-ID: BIOL 135S, BIOL 140, BIOL 150.

    The course objectives for BIOL 102 are:
    1. Explain the basic principles of modern Biology utilizing zoological concepts and examples.
    2. Characterize and classify the diversity, adaptations and evolution of the major groups of animals.
    3. Use and describe critical thinking and scientific analysis of facts and ideas.
    4. Provide evidence of skills in performing zoological laboratory procedures using modern scientific laboratory equipment and techniques.
    5. Construct an appropriately formatted and cited biological research paper to exhibit skills in integrating and evaluating accurate information in the scientific literature, and in generalizing on the basis of such information.
    6. Use dissection techniques for comparative zoology anatomy
    7. Compare and and contrast different phyla of animals
    8. Compare cell types of major categories of living organisms
    9. Describe important biomolecules present in all living organisms
    10. Describe the history of life on Earth, including a timeline of major evolutionary events

  •  4 units • Spring, Fall and Summer II • Instructors: Various

    BIOL 100 is offered as a hybrid class in Spring and Summer II.  It is offered on campus in Fall, Spring, and Summer II.

    BIOL 100 is an introductory, non-majors course that introduces you to the basic concepts of biology. It surveys topics of life science from genetics and cells to organisms and evolution and is designed for non-biological sciences majors with no prior general biology course. Satisfies SBCC General Education requirement in Natural Sciences. SBCC General Education: SBCC GE Area A.  Sample syllabus

    Transfer Information: CSU GE Area B2, CSU GE Area B3, IGETC Area 5B, IGETC Area 5C, CSU Transferable, UC Transferable
    UC Transfer Limit: No credit for BIOL 100 if taken after BIOL 101, 102 or 103.

  •  4 units • Spring and Fall semesters • Instructor: Matt Kay

    Plant structure and function; the role of plants in the biosphere and society. Laboratory includes field studies. Designed for non-Biological Sciences majors with no prior general botany course. Satisfies SBCC General Education requirement in Natural Sciences. SBCC General Education: SBCC GE Area A. Sample syllabus

    Transfer Information: CSU GE Area B2, CSU GE Area B3, IGETC Area 5B, IGETC Area 5C, CSU Transferable, UC Transferable
    UC Transfer Limit: No credit for BOT 100 if taken after BOT 121; BOT 100, 121, and 122 combined: maximum credit, two courses.

    Student Learning Outcomes for BOT 100:
    • BOT 100 SLO 3 - Compare and contrast the major evolutionary lineages of plants and plant-like organisms, including important structural features of each lineage, ecological importance, and human uses
    • BOT 100 SLO 2 - Describe the anatomy and physiology of plants and plant-like organisms
    • BOT 100 SLO 1 - Describe fundamental processes operative throughout botany and plant biology, including evolution via natural selection, sexual reproduction, photosynthesis, basic chemistry, and biochemical processes (cellular respiration, fermentation, photosynthesis)

  •  4 units • Spring and Fall semesters • Instructor: Eric Wise • Class for Biology Majors

    Prerequisites: MATH 107 or MATH 110C or MATH 137C or SS 110C or equivalent based on SBCC's Assessment Center placement via multiple measures. Course Advisories: Eligibility for ENG 110 or 110H.

    Principles of biology, with emphasis on major plant groups. Anatomy, physiology, evolution, and diversity of the Archaea, Bacteria, Protista, Fungi and Plantae. Required for the Biological Sciences major. Satisfies SBCC General Education requirement in Natural Sciences. SBCC General Education: SBCC GE Area A. Sample syllabus

    Transfer Information: CSU GE Area B2, CSU GE Area B3, IGETC Area 5B, IGETC Area 5C, CSU Transferable, UC Transferable. C-ID: BIOL 135S, BIOL 140, BIOL 155.

    Student Learning Outcomes for BIOL 101:
    • BIOL 101 SLO 1 - Explain the anatomy and morphology of plants and plant-like organisms as well as the functional characteristics of these organisms including their physiology and adaptation to the environment.
    • BIOL 101 SLO 2 - Describe the diversity of existing and fossil plants and plant-like organisms including life cycles and relationships with one another.
    • BIOL 101 SLO 3 - Discuss, from a scientific perspective, the molecular nature of living organisms including their chemical composition, replication, and growth.

Planting seedlings at earthday

Seminars, Projects, & Independent Study classes