Tentative Syllabus – Winter 2020

Where: Coastal Science Campus – Coastal Biology Building Lecture Hall (#110)
When:  Tuesday, Thursday – 2:25-4:00

Please try to car pool, ride your bike, or take bus #22 from main campus to class

Discussion Sections 
Where:  Coastal Biology Building: Rm #110 – *CSC Gate will be open until 8:00 PM 
When:  Tuesday 12:55-2:00, 4:15-5:20 (Rachel Pausch)
Thursday 12:55-2:00, 4:15-5:20 (Dan Wright)

Instructor: Mark Carr

Mark’s office: 254A  Ocean Health Building
E-mail: mhcarr”at”
Office phone: 831-459-3958
Office Hours: Tuesday 9:00-10:00 AM and by appointment

TA: Rachel Pausch
Rachel’s office: 253 Ocean Health Building
E-mail: rpausch”at”
Office Hours: Thursday 1:00-2:25 and by appointment

TA: Dan Wright
Dan’s office: 152B Ocean Health Building
E-mail: dbwright”at”
Office Hours:Tuesday 1:00-2:25 and by appointment

Required course prerequisites

Biology 20A, 20B, and 20C or equivalent (1 yr Introductory Biology)

Strongly recommended course prerequisites

BIOE 107 Ecology
BIOE 109 Evolution
AMS 7/L Biostatistics
BIOE 122/L Invertebrates
BIOE 127/L Ichthyology
BIOE 120/L Marine Botany


Readings for discussion sections are available online at this website on the “readings” page. We will announce readings in class, but they are also listed on the tentative lecture schedule.Strunk&White_cover

You are also required to read “Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.  Available at local book stores and online. Cheap! You will have reading assignments and weekly quizzes on the chapters in Discussion sections!!

This is not intended to be a basic ecology course. If you feel that you need additional help understanding ecological concepts, we recommend the following optional resources:

Townsend CR, M. Begon and JL Harper. 2003. Essentials of Ecology. Second Edition. Backwell Science, Cambridge, MA. ISBN 1-4051-0328-0

Gotelli, NJ. 2001. A Primer of Ecology. Third Edition. SinauerAssociates, Inc., Sunderland, Massachusetts. ISBN 0-87893-273-9 (this is strictly a population ecology text)

Krebs, CJ. 1999. Ecological Methodology. Second Edition. Benjamin Cummings, Menlo Park, CA. ISBN 0-321-02173-8

Morin, PJ. 1999. Community Ecology. Backwell Science, Cambridge, MA. ISBN 0-86542-350-4

Additional supplemental readings include:

Bertness MD, Gaines SD, Hay ME. 2000. Marine Community Ecology. Sinauer Assoc. ISBN 0878930574

Sumich, James L. and Morrissey, John . Introduction to the Biology of Marine Life, Eighth Edition. Jones and Bartlett Publishers. ISBN: 076373313X


BIOE 108 is one of many EEB courses that contribute to fulfilling half of the Disciplinary Communication (DC) graduation requirement!  Therefore, your writing assignments (i.e. your field journal) are taken very seriously and you are expected to do the same.  Communication in ecology and evolutionary biology consists of accurately and concisely conveying information through text, graphs, illustrations and speaking. You will be assessed on how well you respond to the feedback provided to you on each of five field pattern journal assignments!

Field Trips

There are two planned field trips this quarter. The field trips are not required because they are not during class period. However, you are strongly encouraged to attend!!! These trips are designed to introduce you to patterns in nature and methods for identifying and quantifying such patterns. They also help generate ideas for your group research proposals! Field trip destinations and dates are:

Trip 1: Elkhorn Slough: Saturday, January 11

Trip 2:  Davenport Landing: Saturday, February 8

More information on these trips is available on the “Field Trips” page on this website!


Interact with Mark, Rachel, and Dan like your life depended on it. Learning how to do marine ecological research (or any form of ecological research) is best done as an apprenticeship. Although the class is too large to truly collaborate with or mentor each individual, the goal is to spend as much time as possible in discussion with you about the scientific process, all the way from the abstract (i.e. the philosophy of science), through the more general (how you would go about devising specific tests for general hypotheses in your proposal; see below), to the specific (how to measure a particular variable and statistically analyze/interpret results). Much of this interaction should emerge in both lectures and discussion sections. In addition, if due to a scheduling conflict you cannot attend office hours, or if you need more assistance than can be provided during regularly scheduled office hours, it is your responsibility to set up alternative meeting times with the instructors. Under normal circumstances this should not be a problem.

Assessment (see table below)

There will be two scheduled exams on Feb 6 and  March 17 (tentative), which will represent 50% of the final class grade. You will be required to create and submit a field notebook of patterns (written, illustrated ad graphed) and hypotheses, which you will turn in frequently over the quarter. This notebook will constitute 35% of your grade. Another 5% of your grade will come from participation in discussion section (THIS IS INTENDED TO BE A PARTICIPATORY CLASS). Another 5% will come from quizzes that you’ll take in Discussion sections on readings from the ecological literature and from Strunk and White (5% each). Remember the major goal of this course is to teach you how to conduct marine ecological research. Lectures and exams have limited ability to teach and assess how to conduct marine ecological research.

  • Exam 1                                        25%
  • Exam 2                                        25%
  • Participation in Discussion               5%
  • Weekly readings quizzes                 5%
  • Weekly Strunk & White quizzes        5%
  • Pattern notebook                           35%
  • Total                                            100%