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Catalog 2013-2014

Natural History of the Sierra Nevada

  • Semester: Summer
  • Course Number: NS342
  • Instructors: David Gilligan
  • Credit: 3

Course Description

This course is a field-based exploration of the natural history and ecology of the Sierra Nevada, with an emphasis on vegetations and flora of montane forest and alpine biomes, as well as elements of mountain geography including weather and climate and the geologic and glacial history of the region. Students build on foundational principles of ecology and botany through development and practice of observation, identification, and interpretation skills and the keeping of a refined naturalist field journal. Topics include identification and classification skills for flora and fauna (including regular sessions with botanical keys, as well as extensive use of other types of field guides), natural community composition and structure, biogeographic concepts, mountain weather and climate, and mountain geomorphology.