Jun 22, 2024  
College Catalog 2021-2022 
College Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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BIOL 1310 - Environmental Science

Credit Hours: 4.00

Prerequisites: None

(formerly NATS 1310)

This is a lecture/laboratory/field course that introduces the student to the principles of environmental science. Coverage includes basic ecological concepts, energy and material flow, growth and regulation of populations, community interactions, and the relationships of these topics to the role of humans in protecting and preserving world ecosystems.

Billable Contact Hours: 5

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Outcome 1: Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to explain the abiotic and physical aspects of the environment.


  1. Diagram the earth in relation to the sun and to show by that model how the seasons occur.
  2. Explain the properties of light.
  3. Describe several abiotic factors and how abiotic factors have different effects on organisms.
  4. Show why photosynthesis is such an important biochemical process.
  5. Describe several ways an organism can overcome the effects of abiotic factors.

Outcome 2: Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to explain the biotic aspects of the environment.


  1. Differentiate between producers, consumers and decomposers in terms of their ecological roles.
  2. Discuss and trace the flow of energy through an ecosystem.
  3. Describe an energy pyramid, a food chain, a food web, and show how/if this differs from a food chain and layers of a soil profile.
  4. Diagram and label the major components within the hydrologic cycle, carbon cycle, and the nitrogen cycle.
  5. Explain the process of photosynthesis as an important biochemical process. Describe the relationship between different plant pigments and different wavelengths and how altering the type of light available can have important consequences for the plant.

Outcome 3: Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to summarize the process of ecological succession and the different kinds of biomes and aquatic ecosystems of the earth.


  1. Explain the relationship of change to ecological succession and compare and contrast primary and secondary ecological succession.
  2. Explain how the successive stages evolve from pioneer to climax communities.
  3. Explain how fire alters succession in grassland ecosystems and a pine forest.
  4. Describe the relationship between geography and biomes, the major geographic features of the U.S., and how the temperature/moisture effect affects the distribution of biomes and how particular biomes flourish in their proximity.
  5. Discuss the relationship between latitude and altitude in plant communities.
  6. Explain the use of a Quadrat and Transect in Ecological Investigations, in a laboratory setting.

Outcome 4: Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to describe issues related to populations.


  1. Differentiate between a species and a population; define niche and explain the various types of major roles an organism can play in an ecosystem, and show how the “competitive exclusion” principle works.
  2. Compare and contrast linear growth with exponential growth.
  3. Explain why biotic potential never proceeds unchecked.
  4. Discuss and give an example of intra and interspecific competition.
  5. Explain and give an example of a predator-prey and parasite-host relationships.
  6. Define demography, describe the several major characteristics which separate MDCs from LDCs.
  7. Describe events of the four phases of demographic transition.
  8. Define Population Density, Population Dispersion.

Outcome 5: Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to explain the atmosphere and air pollution.

Objectives: The student will:

  1. Describe the present composition of atmospheric gases and how the atmosphere of the Earth developed to it present composition.
  2. List several foreign atmospheric components and describe how they entered into the system.
  3. Describe the effects of air pollution.
  4. Describe the harmful effects of ultra violet radiation.

Outcome 6: Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to describe solid waste management.

Objectives: The student will:

  1. Explain how modern society contributes to the severity of solid waste disposal problems.
  2. Compare and contrast open dumping with a modern sanitary landfill.
  3. Organize solid waste by materials and categories and make suggestions to reduce the problem of solid waste.
  4. Describe solid waste management biodegradable, non-biodegradable and factors that facilitate these processes.
  5. List the problems associated with solid waste management.

Outcome 7: Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to describe different kinds of energy sources.


  1. Describe the fossil fuels and explain why they are fossil and discuss how to achieve cleaner burning coal, and advantages and disadvantages of coal and natural gas as a fuel.
  2. Differentiate between renewable and non-renewable energy sources with examples; explain the primary environmental advantage of hydrogen as a fuel and describe electrolysis of water and show where you get the renewable energy to carry on the electrolysis process.
  3. Show how geothermal, wind, and solar energy can be classified as renewable sources of energy and be able to explain how ocean and tidal energy can be harnessed.
  4. Explain how energy is derived from biomass.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the heat insulating efficiency of a variety of materials, in a laboratory setting.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of electromagnetic radiation.

Outcome 8: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to explain issues related to food.


  1. Describe how both indigenous people and developed countries threaten tropical rain forests.
  2. Describe food borne diseases, major symptoms, and explain how you would reduce occurrences.
  3. Explain land problems such as how erosion can be controlled; and show how desertification and salinization comes about in the tropics and in grasslands.
  4. List how genetic engineering can improve a food crop strain; give examples of biological control of crop pests and two water-saving techniques in agriculture.
  5. Define species-genetic-ecological diversity, human actions that cause today’s extinctions, the problem of exotic species, characteristics that promote species extinction and the roles that seed banks and zoos play in protecting life on Earth.
  6. Become familiar with the harmful effects of heavy metals.

• Communication: The graduate can communicate effectively for the intended purpose and audience.
• Critical Thinking: The graduate can make informed decisions after analyzing information or evidence related to the issue.
• Global Literacy: The graduate can analyze human behavior or experiences through cultural, social, political, or economic perspectives.
• Information Literacy: The graduate can responsibly use information gathered from a variety of formats in order to complete a task.
• Quantitative Reasoning: The graduate can apply quantitative methods or evidence to solve problems or make judgments.
• Scientific Literacy: The graduate can produce or interpret scientific information presented in a variety of formats.

CDO marked YES apply to this course:
Critical Thinking: YES
Global Literacy: YES
Information Literacy: YES
Scientific Literacy: YES


  1. The Need for an Environmental Course
    1. Use and abuse of the environment
    2. Pragmatic approach of benefit versus loss
    3. Scientifically literate public
    4. Global ecology approach
    5. There is no longer an away in “throw-away”
  2. Science as Product and Process
    1. Science as process and product
    2. Definition of science
    3. Steps of the scientific method
    4. Induction and deduction in science
    5. Philosophy
    6. Science as a philosophy
    7. Empiricism
    8. Rationalism
    9. Pragmatism
    10. Scientific method and philosophy
    11. Controlled experimentation
    12. Publication and repeatability
    13. The basic honesty of scientific methodology
    14. Limitations of science
    15. Science and society interact
  3. The Abiotic Aspects of the Environment
    1. Earth and universe
    2. Nature of the atmosphere
    3. Nature of the hydrosphere
    4. Nature of the lithosphere
    5. Composition of atoms
    6. Basic atomic particles
    7. Construction of simple atoms
    8. Ionic, covalent & hydrogen bonds
    9. Fluid systems
    10. Diffusion
    11. Toxicity
    12. pH
    13. Energy
    14. The laws of thermodynamics
    15. Climate and seasons
    16. The electromagnetic spectrum
    17. Visible light
  4. The Biotic Aspects of the Environment
    1. The Biosphere
    2. Ecosystem structure
    3. The producers
    4. The consumers
    5. The decomposers
    6. Energy flow
    7. Pyramids of numbers
    8. Aerobic respiration
    9. The energy in glucose
    10. Food webs and food chains
    11. Nutrient cycles
    12. Soils
    13. The hydrologic cycle
    14. The carbon cycle
    15. The nitrogen cycle
    16. Free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria
    17. Symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria
    18. Nitrifying bacteria
    19. De-nitrifying bacteria
  5. The Basis of Population Interactions
    1. Species and populations
    2. Niche
    3. Population growth
    4. Charting population growth
    5. Sigmoid growth curve
    6. The logistic equation
    7. Regulation of population size
    8. Intraspecific competition
    9. Interspecific competition
    10. Predator - prey relationships
    11. Survival strategies of predators
    12. Survival strategies of prey
    13. Parasite and host
    14. Bubonic plague
    15. Malaria
  6. The Process of Ecological Succession
    1. Change as a phenomenon
    2. Ecosystem changes
    3. Ecological succession
    4. New field stage
    5. Old field stage
    6. Cottonwood stage
    7. Pine stage
    8. Oak-Hickory stage/pre-climax stage
    9. Beech - Maple stage/climax stage
    10. Bog lake succession
    11. Fire as an agent of ecological change
    12. Species dependence upon continual succession
  7. The Major Biomes of the World

a. Geographic areas and atudinal gradients
b. Altude and latude relaonships
c. Tropical rain forests
d. Savannas
e. Deserts
f. Grasslands
g. Temperate deciduous forests
h. Taiga
i. Tundra
j. Biomes of connental North America
k. Temperate or coniferous rain forest
l. Chaparral
m. Great Salt Desert
n. Mojave Desert
o. Sonoran Desert
p. Chihuahuan Desert
q. Rocky Mountains
r. Slope vegetaon: North, South, East and West
s. Short Grass Prairie
t. Mixed Grass Prairie
u. Tall Grass Prairie
v. Eastern Deciduous Forest
w. Terrestrial biome summary
x. Aquac ecosystems
y. Marine ecosystems
z. The ocean environment
aa. Deepwater marine
bb. Coral reefs and atolls

  1. The Human Population
    1. The impact of the human population on world ecosystems
    2. Carrying capacity
    3. Limitations of the physical world
    4. Demographics
    5. Statistics
    6. Birth rates and fertility rates
    7. Population growth rates
    8. Emigration and Immigration
    9. Methods to regulate population changes
    10. Family planning
  2. The Atmosphere
    1. Description of the atmosphere
    2. The early atmosphere of earth
    3. The present day atmospheric composition
    4. Plants and production of an oxygen atmosphere
    5. Atmospheric structure
    6. Patterns of air movement over the surface of the earth
    7. Uneven rainfall distribution
    8. Foreign atmospheric components
    9. Ozone layer problems and fluorocarbons
    10. Problems associated with acid rain
    11. Global warming and carbon dioxide buildup from fossil fuel consumption
    12. Problems associated with indoor air pollution
    13. Legionnaires disease
    14. Radon gas build up in homes
    15. Mold problems and respiration diseases
  3.   Water Resources
    1. Forms of water on Earth
    2. Water as a cycling, renewable resource
    3. Uneven distribution of precipitation and surface water
    4. Effects of precipitation and temperature on soil fertility
    5. Uses of water today: agricultural, industrial, & domestic
    6. Water distribution controversies
    7. Water managed as a renewable resource
    8. Municipal wastewater treatment schemes
    9. Primary, secondary and tertiary treatment of wastewater
    10. Municipal water supplies and problems of water purification
  4. Solid Waste Management
    1. Solid waste defined
    2. Historical perspective of waste management
    3. Modern dumps and sanitary landfills
    4. Society and generated waste
    5. Political and economic problems of waste management
    6. The changing materials mix
    7. Solutions which are effective
    8. Reduction of waste volume produced
    9. Re-use of products instead of discarding
    10. Recycling of waste
    11. Incineration to reduce volume
    12. Use of sanitary landfills to dispose of remainder
    13. Proactive rather than reactive political solutions
  5. Fossil Fuels as Energy Sources
    1. Depending upon sources of energy
    2. Real” cost of energy use
    3. Electric power
    4. Fossil Fuels
    5. Coal
    6. Strip mines
    7. Cleaner coal
    8. Atmospheric fluidized bed combustion
    9. Pressurized fluidized bed combustion
    10. Integrated coal gasification combined cycle
    11. Fuel cells
    12. Oil
    13. Oil shales and tar sands
  6. Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Fusion
    1. Harnessing nuclear energy
    2. Nuclear reactions
    3. Isotopes
    4. Decay schemes
    5. Nuclear fission of Uranium
    6. Nuclear reactors
    7. Fuel
    8. Moderator
    9. Control mechanisms
    10. Cooling mechanisms
    11. Protective shielding
    12. Breeder reactors
    13. Reprocessing and storage of nuclear waste
    14. Nuclear fusion
    15. The containment problem
    16. Radiation and its effects upon human tissues
    17. Nuclear safety problems
  7. Solar Sources of Energy
    1. Renewable and none renewable energy resources
    2. Solar energy as radiation
    3. New energy sources and price competition
    4. Photovoltaic cells and thermal conversion systems
    5. Hydrogen fuel from electrolysis of water
    6. Conventional energy storage batteries
    7. Nuclear thermochemical conversion
    8. Hydroelectric power
    9. Wind Power
    10. Geothermal power
    11. Ocean and tidal energy
    12. Energy from biomass by conversion
  8. Food and Agriculture: Past and Present
    1. Origins of agriculture
    2. Cultivation
    3. Changes in wheat genetics
    4. Farming techniques
    5. Grasses
    6. Processing of grains
    7. Bread baking
    8. Diet
    9. Water
    10. Carbohydrates
    11. Lipids
    12. Proteins
    13. Vitamins
    14. Water-soluble vitamins
    15. Fat-soluble vitamins
    16. Minerals
    17. Energy nutrients and human diet deficiencies
    18. Four world sources of caloric energy
    19. Wheat
    20. Corn (maize)
    21. Rice
    22. Potatoes
    23. World food problems: Industrialized agriculture
    24. Food borne diseases
    25. Farming of marginal lands
    26. Grasslands
    27. Wetlands
    28. Deserts
    29. Land on a slope
    30. Deforestation
  9. The Future of Agriculture
    1. Food and population
    2. Erosion and desertification
    3. Salinization
    4. Water saving techniques
    5. Laser leveling and rice crops
    6. Trickle irrigation
    7. Multiple cropping
    8. Windbreaks
    9. Genetic diversity
    10. Engineering a new species of plant
    11. Raised bed agriculture
    12. Aquaculture
    13. Mariculture
    14. Protein supplements
    15. Domestication of new animal species
    16. Weed control
    17. Integrated pest management

Primary Faculty
Gogolen, Kristin
Secondary Faculty
Steinkampf, Randall
Associate Dean
Young, Randall
Pritchett, Marie

Official Course Syllabus - Macomb Community College, 14500 E 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48088

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