BIOL 208 - Nature Study
4 Credit: (3 lecture, 2 lab, 0 clinical) 5 Contact Hours: [Reading Level 3 and Writing Level 3 and Math Level 2 ]
This course, occurring primarily in the field, is a hands-on introduction to nature study. Students will learn the natural history of many species indigenous to Michigan and the United States as well as the biological processes shaping the natural world. Field trips, both on campus and around the state, focus on identification of local flora and fauna. Topics covered in lecture include taxonomy and classification, characteristics of major kingdoms and phyla, animal behavior, ecology, conservation biology, geology, and astronomy. Students will prepare several specimen collections and develop a class field guide. Students should be prepared for mild physical exertion in the field, during both good and bad weather conditions. Participation in a weekend camping trip is required. Upon completion of this course one will have developed the skills necessary to understand, explore, and appreciate the natural world.
OFFERED: odd-year summer semesters
Course Goals/ Objectives/ Competencies:
Goal 1: Explain classification of the domains, kingdoms, and major phyla.
- Describe nature.
- Distinguish between abiotic and biotic.
- List characteristics of life.
- Name and define three sciences of classification.
- Use and create dichotomous keys and cladograms.
- List taxonomic groups in order.
- Use and understand scientific names correctly.
- Distinguish between the three domains.
- Distinguish between the four eukaryotic kingdoms
- Diagram the suggested evolution of the domains and kingdoms.
- Distinguish between the four major plant groups using common classification characteristics.
- Name nine major animal phyla and give an example of an animal in each one.
- Describe the specific characteristic(s) making each phyla different from all the rest.
Goal 2: Identify, by common name, and describe characteristics of plants and animals found in the state of Michigan.
- List four general characteristics of a plant.
- Correctly define and identify the parts of a fern.
- Correctly define and identify the parts of a flower.
- Use common characteristics like type of flower and leaf attachment to identify local wildflowers and ground cover.
- Use common characteristics like type of leaf and bark to identify local trees.
- Explain the process of photosynthesis.
- Diagram the process of plant reproduction.
- List (defining if necessary) characteristics animals have in common.
- Distinguish between the five arthropod classes.
- Describe the three main regions of the insect body.
- Match the insect part to a picture, definition, or function
- Explain the process of metamorphosis.
- Distinguish between incomplete and complete metamorphosis.
- Contrast larva, pupa, and nymph.
Goal 3: Describe the ecological processes shaping the natural world.
- Define ecology, succession, habitat, biome.
- Describe the levels of organization, from population to biosphere, in order.
- Describe two population characteristics and methods of population census.
- Compare the three models of population growth.
- Describe two characteristics of a community and three common symbioses.
- Distinguish between primary and secondary succession.
- List the successional stages for a temperate deciduous forest in order.
- Explain the role of scale when describing habitat.
- Name four aquatic and nine terrestrial biomes.
- List the biomes present in MI and the US.
- Describe two characteristics of an ecosystem.
- Explain the different trophic levels within a food chain or web.
- List the four chemical cycles.
- Explain the carbon cycle.
- Describe four key factors for sand dune formation.
- Distinguish between common types of sand dunes.
- Identify select specimens from each ecological zone within a dune.
- Describe the greatest threats to sand dune habitat and diversity.
Goal 4: Explain basic conservation principles, especially as how they relate to Michigan flora and fauna.
- Define conservation biology, biodiversity, endemic species, hot spot, bioremediation, and sustainable development.
- Describe three ways biodiversity is being lost.
- Describe three reasons biodiversity is important.
- Distinguish between different conservation goals.
- Describe ways in which biodiversity is being conserved.
- Describe the goals of federal and stage agencies involved in conservation.
Goal 5: Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the earth and night skies.
- Define geology.
- Describe the three layers of the earth.
- Explain how Michigan was formed.
- Describe common glacial features in Michigan.
- List some of the geological resources found in Michigan.
- Distinguish between rock, mineral, gemstone, and fossil.
- Explain how gemstones, fossils, and each of the three types of rock are formed.
- List examples of each type of rock.
- Match a fossil or gemstone to the type of habitat (rock type) where it would be found.
- Define common astronomical terms like sun, star, comet, meteor, and constellation.
- Describe the sun.
- Explain the concept of a light year.
- Name the constellations that contain the Big and Little Dippers.
- Indicate which constellations contain the following stars: Polaris, Mizar, Rigel, Deneb, Vega, Altair, Antares.
- Define circumpolar and ecliptic.
- Distinguish between which celestial bodies move and which do not.
- Match information about the following constellations to the correct name. Ursa major, Ursa minor, Orion, Cygnus, Lyra, Aquila, Sagittauruis.
- List the 8 planets of our solar system in order as one moves away from the sun.
- Name the 4 planets easily visible in the Michigan summer night sky.
- List two places life may have existed in our solar system (besides Earth).
Goal 6: Students will use a variety of field equipment and techniques to observe nature and properly collect, identify, and store specimens.
- Explain how a kill jar is created and used.
- Describe the uses of ethyl acetate and 70% ethanol.
- Distinguish between the four nets used in this class.
- Describe the role of dissolved oxygen, nitrate, pH, phosphate, and turbidity in evaluating stream health.”
- Use field guides, taxonomic keys, and websites to identify specimens.
- Use dissecting scopes to aid in the identification of insect specimens.
- Use common insect collection equipment (pinning block, spreader, etc) to prepare specimens.
- Use proper technique to collect and sort invertebrate specimens using a Burlese funnel.
- Collect insect specimens and create an insect collection, following accepted rules and procedures.
- Collect plant specimens and create a herbarium collection, following accepted rules and procedures.
Goal 7: Demonstrate an understanding of the scientific method as it relates to studies of the natural world.
- Define hypothesis, theory, law, independent variable, dependent variable, and control.
- Describe the steps of the scientific process (method).
- List characteristics of good scientific methodology and experimentation.
- Identify variables, controls, and constants in a given experiment.
- Interpret data presented in different formats (text, table, graph, etc.).
- Draw valid conclusions from data.
- Discuss application of research as it relates to resource management and conservation.
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