Big Bend Community College
Date: March 2008
NO: 221
(Formerly: BIO 121)
COURSE TITLE: Majors Ecology/Evolution
CIP Code:
Intent Code:
Program Code:
Distribution Designation: Math/Science Lab.
Total Contact Hours Per Qtr:
Lecture Hours Per Qtr:
Lab Hours Per Qtr:
Other Hours Per Qtr:
PREPARED BY: Kathleen Duvall
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The first quarter in a three-quarter general biology series, this series is
designed for life-science majors, pre-professional students, and for students intending to take
advanced courses in the biological sciences. Topics of study include: evolution, adaptation,
population genetics, speciation, phylogenies, molecular evolution, biodiversity of life forms, ecology,
biogeography, and conservation biology. Related investigations take place in a three-hour lab period
each week. NOTE: This majors’ biology sequence may be taken in the following order: BIOL& 222,
223, and 221, with instructor’s permission.
PREREQUISITE(S): Successful completion of either CHEM& 121 or CHEM& 161with a 2.0 or
better or concurrent enrollment in CHEM& 121or CHEM& 161. Recent high school biology or
BIOL& 100 strongly recommended.
TEXT: A recent edition of a majors biology text such as Life: The Science of Biology, Seventh
Edition, by Purves, Sadava, Orians, and Heller, W. H. Freeman and Company, 2004.
To help students gain the prerequisite knowledge required in advanced
biological science courses. To provide lab experiences that reinforce general biology concepts, that
promote problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and that develop laboratory skills necessary for
future upper-level biology courses.
COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:
Apply the scientific method to a hypothetical biological problem.
Explain radiometric dating and describe the fossil record; discuss how the fossil record
contributes to knowledge of life during Earth’s geological history. Further, using appropriate
names, describe Earth’s geological history along with the major events in the history of life.
Describe and explain the theory of evolution by natural selection giving several examples;
explain Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and use the tools of population genetics to calculate allele
Identify and explain the results of natural selection as well as discussing other causes of
population change.
Name and explain the two processes of speciation, and further define and describe the role of
the various types of reproductive barriers on speciation.
Define and interpret a given phylogeny and construct a simple phylogeny from a small data set.
Describe and give examples of the use of molecular and genomic information in the study of
evolutionary biology.
BIOL& 221
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For each of the following groups of organisms, name and describe the major characteristics of
the group and also name and discuss the diversity within the group: Bacteria and Archaea,
Protists, Seedless Plants, Seed Plants, Fungi, Lower Invertebrate Animals, Ecdysozoan
Animals, and Deuterostomate Animals.
Describe the study of behavioral ecology, including how organisms respond to environmental
variations and the evolution of animal societies.
Describe the study of population ecology, including population densities, life tables, growth
models, and types of ecological interactions.
Describe the study of communities and ecosystems; explain primary productivity, species
richness, food webs and trophic levels, and the effect of disturbances on community structure.
Name and describe Earth’s biogeographic regions; further, name and describe the major
terrestrial biomes.
Define biodiversity; list and discuss the threats to biodiversity, and describe efforts to restore
Define and explain what a biogeochemical cycle is and explain how each of the Earth’s major
biogeochemical cycles works.
General Introduction
Life’s Characteristics, Life’s Organization
Major Events in the History of Life on Earth, The Evolutionary Tree of Life
Biology As a Science – the Scientific Method
Evolutionary Processes
Radiometric Dating, Geologic Changes, The Fossil Record, Geologic Timeline, Rates of
Evolutionary Change
Mechanisms of Evolution – Darwin and Natural Selection, Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium,
Genetic Drift, Gene Flow, Maintaining Genetic Variation
Speciation, Reproductive Barriers, Hybrid Zones
Phylogenetic Trees, Reconstructing Phylogenies, Biological Classification
Molecular and Genomic Evolution, Uses of Molecular and Genomic Information
The Evolution of Diversity
Bacteria and Archaea: The Prokaryotic Domains, Prokaryote Phylogeny and Diversity
The Origin of the Eukaryotic Cell, General Biology of the Protists, Protist Diversity
Seedless Plants of the Plant Kingdom – Liverworts, Mosses, and Ferns
The Evolution of Seed Plants – Gymnosperms and Angiosperms
Fungi: Recyclers, Pathogens, Parasites, and Plant Partners, Fungi Diversity
Animal Origins and the Evolution of Body Plans
Ecdysozoans – Animals With Exoskeletons
Deuterostomate Animals
Ecology and Biogeography
Behavioral Ecology
Population Ecology
Communities and Ecosystems – Food Webs, Species Richness, Disturbances
Biogeography, Terrestrial Biomes
Conservation Biology – Preserving Biodiversity, Habitat Restoration and Species Recovery
Earth System Science – Biogeochemical Cycles
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Lecture Exams and Final Exam
Homework, Project, and Quizzes
Lab Reports, Lab Mid-Term, and Lab Final
The grade scale may be adjusted as the instructor deems necessary but usually approximates:
100 - 96%
95 - 90%
89 - 84%
83 - 77%
3.9 - 3.5
3.4 - 3.0
2.9 - 2.5
76 - 70%
69 - 64%
63 - 57%
56 - 0%
2.4 - 2.0
1.9 - 1.5
1.4 - 0.7
Lab is an essential part of this class and is required for credit. Students missing more than two labs or
missing the mandatory lab final will not be given credit for this course. The lab final exam is a
practical exam in which students rotate through stations that each contain two questions and usually
present a hands-on exhibit. Diagrams, models, 35mm slides, and microscope slides are all commonly
used. Lab exam question types include identification, analysis, and prediction of results.
X Lecture
X Laboratory
Supervised Clinical
X Small Group Discussion
X Audiovisual
Individualized Instruction
X Special Project
Other (List)
Division Chair Approval
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BIOL 221 - Big Bend Community College