Introduction to Biology 319 - Marine Biology for Nonscience Majors

Brief Outline (or skip ahead to Chapter 1 lecture notes)

 I. Introduction to Course
        Course Goals
            Learn about ocean and organisms that live there
            Dynamic history of Earth and its life
            Science as a process (there are many "scientific methods")
            Sharpen scientific skills
                    pose questions, frame hypotheses, devise tests
        MLATS Text (Required - We will read it almost cover to cover!)

        Course website:


Prerequisites: None. This 3-unit upper-division course satisfies general education requirements in category IIIA3 (p. 28 of S02 Class Schedule or p. 484 in Catalogue). The prerequisite is the successful completion of a lower-division GE biology course, such as Biology 101 (or permission of the instructor). If you are a Biology major, this is probably not the course to take. It will not satisfy your elective requirements for the major. This course is primarily a lecture/discussion course. Biology 317 “Field Marine Biology” is a comparable course intended for Biology majors. It differs in its much greater field component and its more stringent prerequisites (the successful completion of Biology 241 and 261). Both courses are offered S02 and are taught by Prof. Eernisse. Another excellent opportunity for Biology majors is the collection of marine biology courses taught by joint CSU campuses at Catalina Id., F02. For details, check the website:


Objectives: To gain appreciation and familiarity with marine biology and natural history of marine plants and animals. Emphasis will be on understanding oceanic processes and earth history and how these relate to the life of animals and plants in their habitats. The impact of human activities on marine organisms is also emphasized. At a higher level, this course uses marine biology as the context to demonstrate how a variety of scientific methods can be employed to investigate the patterns and processes involving marine organisms.
Required Materials: The textbook, Marine Life and the Sea (David H. Milne) is required. It should be available in Titan Shops or at We will cover the entire text in this course. If you are unwilling to read it cover to cover, please seek another course.

Evaluation Mechanisms:
Your final grade will be based on your performances on the following assignments:
Quizzes (expect one per lecture, or possibly on-line as announced, 5 pts. each) ~130 pts
Three Midterm Exams (100 pts. each; no final exam) 300 pts
Punctual attendance at lecture (90% will receive full credit) 30 pts
Two Individual Activities (20 pts. each) 40 pts
Total ~500 pts


Grades will be assigned by % of total points possible:
A: 100-88; B: 78-87; C: 65-77; D: 55-64.

I may lower cut-off levels in your favor. Grades will be periodically posted to website by last 4 digits of your ID. In order to study for the quizzes and exams effectively, you will be expected to answer review questions posted regularly to the course websites (see above). These, as well as lecture outlines and links to other related websites, are provided as links on the lecture schedule web page to the right of assigned reading.

Course Goals
   Learn about ocean and organisms that live there
   Dynamic history of Earth and its life
   Science as a process (there are many "scientific methods")
   Sharpen scientific skills (learn to pose questions, frame hypotheses, devise tests)


Grades, Quizzes, Exams, Activities

Be prepared for a brief quiz at 1:00 p.m. sharp before each lecture. Quizzes will briefly test your comprehension of reading and especially your completion of posted review questions. There are five points per quiz. Questions should be "easy" if you complete the posted review questions on your own before coming to class. You will get one point for just turning in your name on the paper. There will be no make-up quizzes but your lowest two quiz scores will automatically be dropped. Expect a quiz before most lectures but I may elect to not have a quiz some lectures, and some quizzes might be after the lecture at the end of class. Quizzes generally will be on the assigned reading to be covered in lecture that day. The exceptions will be announced, including obviously the first lecture, and also a quiz immediately after a midterm. It is important that you read Ch. 1 as soon as possible, and then read ahead to prepare for coming lectures. I will sometimes announce which review questions you should be prepared for in lecture, otherwise expect to be quizzed on any of the review questions for the assigned chapter. Later in the term, I may elect to modify the quiz format, including possibly requiring on-line ("open book") quizzes through a CourseInfo or our normal website, but this is unlikely and details would be annouced in lecture. Although quizzes will emphasize the posted review questions and lecture notes, some exam questions will come from lectures only. Attendance points will be assessed by unannounced roll taking and as implied by your presence at quizzes.
There will be three midterms (no final exam), each worth 100 points. Questions will be a combination of short answer (similar to review questions) and other sorts of questions (e.g., multiple choice, matching, true/false). Make-up exams will only be arranged (most likely as a detailed take-home essay exam) with officially documented excuse (e.g., medical emergency).


There are also two required outside-of-class activities. A preliminary selection of options is posted on the web site, but these may be expanded, and some are outdated. They will be updated during the semester. The required write-up (see web descriptions for details) is worth up to 20 points, and both are due no later than the last day of classes unless otherwise announced. You can also complete up to two extra activities, written up in a similar format, which can be turned in for extra credit, each worth only up to 10 points maximum. Activities can be completed on your own or as a group but write-ups should be original!

II. Studying effectively
        Complete assigned reading BEFORE corresponding lecture
        Study together but written work you turn in should be original
        Also be able to answer the review questions posted on web
        I plan to provide some selected web links embedded in reviews


      Additional Note: Last year we had a major energy crisis in California,
which resulted in having our Biology server turned off
            from 4 p.m. until 8 a.m. weekdays and all day weekend days.
            If these or other unforseen situations should return,

            please plan accordingly! I will possibly have to develop
            a mirror site on another server that is kept on. However,
            if this situation becomes chronic, I will announce contigency
            plans in lecture. Otherwise, it is required that you get study
            questions and lecture notes from our course site.

        Clicking on web links is "optional" but they will help illustrate
            points made in lecture and by the author of MLATS
            The web is very visual, links will help you visualize
            Certain plants or animals will be a Featured Organism
            Certain places of special interest are a Featured Locality
       These are especially apt to appear on exams because
                I feel I have emphasized them in particular
            If you find yourself waiting for lengthy periods on a
                slow home connection to the web, consider using
                one of the many on-campus computer labs instead

        Ask questions in class, during office hours, or by email
        Read "An Overview of This Text" on p. xxi of MLATS
        Each chapter starts with an interesting Case History (read it)
        Review questions will be interjected in notes (RQ)
        Pay special attention to any figure or table in the text!
                I often look at these first when writing exams and
                    I will try to emphasize them on figures I display
                    on the overhead projector so that you will have
                    access to them in your studying

Go to Chapter 1 lecture notes

web page created 1/01, last modified 2/5/02