Center for Curriculum and Transfer Articulation
Field Biology: Tropical Biology/ Costa Rica
Course: BIO149AI

First Term: 2016 Summer
Laboratory   2 Credit(s)   14 Period(s)   2 Load  
Course Type: Academic
Load Formula: F- Field Trip #1

Description: A 14-day study of different tropical life zones, including hot wet jungle, hot dry jungle, and cloud forest. Emphasis on unusual plant and animal interactions, tropical ecology, and adaptations. Topics include diversity, competition, epiphytes, parasites, pollinators, reproductive strategies, and zonation. Field sites located in national parks of Costa Rica. Living conditions not developed but comfortable. Daily hikes required.

MCCCD Official Course Competencies
1. Distinguish among wet and dry jungles and cloud forests and the general characteristics found in each habitat. (I)
2. Describe the meteorological conditions of the Hadley Cell and its influence on climate. (II)
3. Describe the primary biological environmental factors unique to a tropical forest. (III)
4. Compare and contrast the biological environmental stress factors found in tropical and desert plants and animals. (III)
5. Describe the timing strategy of flowering and fruiting trees in a tropical deciduous forest. (IV)
6. Describe the support mechanisms for various tropical trees. (IV)
7. Describe the variation in leaf structure and form. (IV)
8. Identify and compare the various kinds of vines and other hangers on found beneath the canopy. (V)
9. Identify and describe the various animals that co-exist in the canopy and on the jungle floor. (VI, VII)
10. Compare and contrast the seasonal types of the tropics. (VIII)
11. Describe the variation in jungle nutrient availability. (VIII)
12. Compare various theories related to tropical habitat diversification. (IX)
13. Describe the global cycles of water, carbon dioxide, and oxygen as they impact the tropics. (X)
14. Describe the impact of tropical species diversity on man`s place in tropical environments. (X)
15. Delineate the conservation efforts that are presently in progress in tropical environments. (X)
MCCCD Official Course Outline
I. Overview of Tropical Environments
   A. Hot Wet Jungle
   B. Hot Dry Jungle
   C. Cloud Forest
II. Physical Environmental Factors
   A. Solar Insolation
   B. Water Cycle and the Hadley Cell
   C. Tropical Temperature Ranges and Seasonality
   D. Soils and Geochemical Cycles
III. Biological Environmental Factors
   A. Competition and Niche Compacting
   B. Parasitism, Epiphytes, and Stranglers
   C. Seed Predation and Forest Homogeniety
   D. Pollination and Seed Dispersal
IV. Tropical Trees
   A. Getting to the Canopy
   B. Supports
      1. Reinforcing
      2. Buttressing
      3. Strut
   C. Leaf Architecture
   D. Flowering and Fruiting
V. Hangers On
   A. Matapalo: The Strangler Fig
   B. Scrambler Vines and Lianas
   C. Epiphytes
      1. Bromeliads
      2. Cactus
      3. Orchid
      4. Other
VI. Canopy Life
   A. Mammals
      1. Monkeys
      2. Sloths
      3. Fruit-eating bats
   B. Canopy Birds and Their Predators
   C. Insect and Arachnid Interactions
   D. Frogs and Aquatic Insects
VII. The Jungle Floor
   A. Hymenopterans
      1. Army ants
      2. Other ants
      3. Prey items
   B. Larval Forms
      1. Leaf Cutter
      2. Caterpillers
      3. Chemical defense
   C. Beetles
      1. Brachid
      2. Dung
   D. Saprophytes
      1. Fungi
      2. Microbes
VIII. Seasonality and Constancy in the Tropics
   A. Wet vs. Dry Season
   B. Food Availability
   C. Altitudinal Zonation
   D. Slopes
      1. Windward
      2. Leeward
IX. Tropical Diversity
   A. Stability Theory
   B. Seed Predation Theory
   C. Time Theory
   D. Niche Compacting Theory
X. Man`s Impact in the Tropics
   A. Global Importance of the Tropics
      1. World water cycle
      2. Carbon dioxide cycle
      3. Oxygen cycle
      4. Species diversity and genetic bank
         a. Medical and food importance
         b. Future hybridization
         c. Unknown future discoveries
   B. Tropics and Third-World Populations
      1. Modern medicine
      2. Change in farming practices
      3. Socialization impact
         a. Road building
         b. Lumbering
         c. Cattle grazing
         d. Fast food hamburgers
   C. Current Conservation Efforts
      1. Governmental efforts
      2. Scientific contribution
      3. Private enterprise
   D. Future of the Tropics

MCCCD Governing Board Approval Date: February 23, 2016

All information published is subject to change without notice. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, but based on the dynamic nature of the curricular process, course and program information is subject to change in order to reflect the most current information available.