SRJC Course Outlines

12/9/2023 3:52:51 PMBIO 31 Course Outline as of Fall 2009

Changed Course

Discipline and Nbr:  BIO 31Title:  TROPICAL BIODIVERSITY  
Full Title:  Tropical Biodiversity and Conservation
Last Reviewed:10/11/2021

UnitsCourse Hours per Week Nbr of WeeksCourse Hours Total
Maximum2.00Lecture Scheduled1.5017.5 max.Lecture Scheduled26.25
Minimum2.00Lab Scheduled06 min.Lab Scheduled0
 Contact DHR1.50 Contact DHR26.25
 Contact Total3.00 Contact Total52.50
 Non-contact DHR0 Non-contact DHR Total0

 Total Out of Class Hours:  52.50Total Student Learning Hours: 105.00 

Title 5 Category:  AA Degree Applicable
Grading:  Grade or P/NP
Repeatability:  00 - Two Repeats if Grade was D, F, NC, or NP
Also Listed As: 

Catalog Description:
Untitled document
This course will survey the diversity of tropical rainforests.  It is designed from a natural history perspective and is typically taught abroad.  Topics will include ecology, flora and fauna of rainforests, cloud forests and dry forests.  Emphasis will be placed on the effects of deforestation, balancing the needs of wildlife and people, establishment of park and preserve systems, and sustainable resource use.  Countries such as Costa Rica are used to illustrate both the current extinction crisis and conservation efforts.  Tropical field work is included.


Recommended Preparation:
Eligibility for ENGL 1A or equivalent

Limits on Enrollment:

Schedule of Classes Information
Description: Untitled document
This course will survey the ecology, flora and fauna of rainforests, cloud forests, and dry forests.  Countries such as Costa Rica are used to illustrate both the current extinction crisis and conservation efforts.  
(Grade or P/NP)

Recommended:Eligibility for ENGL 1A or equivalent
Limits on Enrollment:
Transfer Credit:CSU;UC.
Repeatability:00 - Two Repeats if Grade was D, F, NC, or NP


Associate Degree:Effective:Fall 2016
Natural Sciences
CSU GE:Transfer Area Effective:Inactive:
 B2Life ScienceFall 2016
IGETC:Transfer Area Effective:Inactive:
 5BBiological SciencesFall 2016
CSU Transfer:TransferableEffective:Summer 2007Inactive:
UC Transfer:TransferableEffective:Summer 2007Inactive:

Certificate/Major Applicable: Major Applicable Course


Outcomes and Objectives:
At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:
Untitled document
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
 1.  Apply the scientific method to problem solving.
 2.  Explain the principles of evolution including natural selection and speciation.
 3.  Describe the geological history, climate, and principle weather features of tropical rainforests.
 4.  Explain the patterns of biodiversity and species interaction found in tropical biomes and compare them to
       other geographical biomes.
 5.  Contrast the historical and contemporary rates of rainforest clearance.
 6.  Evaluate the immediate and underlying causes of tropical rainforest destruction.
 7.  Explain the economic, political, cultural, and ecological value of intact rainforests.
 8.  Explain the impacts of indigenous forest cultures on disturbances to the forest flora and fauna.
 9.  Use case studies of conservation progress in different countries to describe the potential solutions to worldwide
       tropical deforestation.
 10. Identify common species of flora and fauna found in the tropical rainforests of a particular country.

Topics and Scope
Untitled document
Topics will include but not be limited to:
I.   Scientific method versus other methods of decision-making
    A.  What is science and how is the scientific process conducted?
    B.  Science versus pseudoscience
II.  Principles of evolution
    A.  Natural selection
    B.  Speciation
    C.  Adaptations
    D.  Relationship to biodiversity and extinction crisis
III. Tropical rainforests
    A.  Geological history
    B.  Climate and weather patterns
    C.  Moist versus dry forests
IV.  Biodiversity
    A.  Species richness and measurements of diversity
    B.  Tropical rainforests compared to other biomes
    C.  Carrying capacity
V.   Species interactions
    A.  Niche partitioning
    B.  Competitive exclusion
    C.  Trophic relationships
    D.  Pollination and dispersion
    E.  Co-evolution
    F.  Keystone species
VI.  Threats and changes to rainforests
    A.  Historical versus contemporary versus projected rates of
    B.  Extinction
    C.  Succession
VII. Causes and processes of clearance
    A.  Fuel wood gathering
    B.  Shifting cultivation
    C.  Land distribution
    D.  Resettlement
    E.  Commercial logging
    F.  Plantations and cash-cropping
    G.  Cattle ranching
    H.  Development projects
VIII.Value of intact forest and costs of destruction
    A.  Ways to assign value
    B.  Loss of biodiversity
    C.  Loss of resources
    D.  Loss of environmental services
    E.  Local, regional, and global change
IX.  Indigenous cultures
    A.  Tribal forest populations
    B.  Threats and pressures
    C.  Impact on biodiversity
X.   Potential solutions
    A.  Immediate action
    B.  Constraints
    C.  Protection and conservation
    D.  Restoration and reforestation
    E.  Sustainable use
    F.  Tropical timber trade
    G.  Debt for nature swaps
XI.  Species identification
    A.  Dominant plants
    B.  Common animals

Untitled document
Assignments may include:
 1.  Assigned reading from texts and other reading, 20-30 pages per
     class meeting
 2.  Response papers and other written homework
 3.  In class work: exercises, oral presentations, class discusssions
 4.  Fieldnotes
 5.  Attendance and participation, in class and field trips
 6.  Formal assessment: quizzes and 2-4 exams including objective and
     essay questions

Methods of Evaluation/Basis of Grade.
Writing: Assessment tools that demonstrate writing skill and/or require students to select, organize and explain ideas in writing.Writing
20 - 40%
Written homework, Field notes
Problem solving: Assessment tools, other than exams, that demonstrate competence in computational or non-computational problem solving skills.Problem Solving
5 - 20%
In class exercises
Skill Demonstrations: All skill-based and physical demonstrations used for assessment purposes including skill performance exams.Skill Demonstrations
0 - 0%
Exams: All forms of formal testing, other than skill performance exams.Exams
50 - 70%
Multiple choice, True/false, Matching items, Completion, Essay, Quizzes
Other: Includes any assessment tools that do not logically fit into the above categories.Other Category
5 - 20%
Attendance, participation, oral presentations, and class discussions

Representative Textbooks and Materials:
Untitled document
The Mammals of Costa Rica: A Natural History and Field Guide by Wainwright, M.  Zona Tropical, Comstock Publishing Associates, Cornell University Press: 2007.
(Classic Texts)
Travellers' Wildlife Guides: Costa Rica, Beletsky,L.,Interlink Publishing: 2005
Foundations of Tropical Forest Biology. Chazdon, R.L. and Whitmore, T.C.. University of Chicago Press: 2001
An Introduction to Tropical Rain Forests, 2nd edition. Whitmore, T.C.,Oxford University Press: 1998
Breakfast of Biodiversity: The Political Ecology of Rainforest Destruction. Vandermeer, John and Perfecto, Ivette, Institute for Food and Development Policy: 1995
Rainforest Destruction: Causes, Effect, and False Solutions. World Rainforest Movement: 1990
The Diversity of Life, Wilson, Edward O., W.W. Norton and Company: 1999
The Rainforest Book: How We Can Save the World's Rainforests, Lewis, Scott. Living Planet Press: 1990
The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction. Quammen, David, Touchstone: 1996
Tropical Rainforests. Park, Chris C., Routledge: 1992
Tropical Rainforests: Diversity and Conservation  (Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences, Volume 12). Almeda, Frank and Pringle,
Catherine, editors.  California Academy of Sciences: 1988
Instructor prepared materials

Print PDF