Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Classes

The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department offers many courses that have elements of natural history in them. For a complete list of department courses, please see the Biology Course Catalog


BIOE 75 – Scientific Diving (Spring)

Prerequisite for course 161/L, Kelp Forest Ecology, and all research diving performed under the auspices of UCSC or other academic institutions. Course work includes lectures and scuba diving. Topics include subtidal sampling techniques, navigation, low visibility diving, search and recovery, rescues, small boat use, oxygen administration for divers, technical blue water deep diving, physics, and physiology. Students are billed a course materials fee that covers costs for equipment use, materials, and transportation. Prerequisite(s): skill level equal to Advanced Scuba Diver Certification, pass scuba physical, provide own scuba gear, be certified in CPR and First Aid; and interview: pass swim test and scuba skills test.

BIOE 82- Introduction to Field Research and Conservation (Fall, Winter, and Spring)

Learn about local animals, plants, and ecology, participate in field sampling (plants and animals) methods and field research in general, work with peers to conduct field observational studies, camp out, and get to know your colleagues. We will meet approximately once a week either in the evening for a lecture or on the weekend for a local field trip. We will also have two overnight camping trips to local Natural Reserves. No experience (science or camping) is necessary, and we encourage you to apply regardless of your major or your experience spending time in nature. The course is open to any UCSC student - you do not need to be a science major. You will receive 2-units of credit. Admission is by application only.

BIOE 108 – Marine Ecology (Every Other Fall)

Paradigms and designs in marine ecology.  A review of the paradigms that have shaped our understanding of marine ecology; analysis and discussion of experiments with these paradigms. Students cannot receive credit for this course and course 208.

BIOE 112, 112L – Ornithology (Every Other Fall)

Introduction to the evolution, ecology, behavior, and natural history of birds, using exemplary case histories to illustrate key concepts in evolution, ecology, and behavior.

BIOE 117, 117L – Systematic Botany of Flowering Plants (Winter)

An examination of the taxonomy and evolution of flowering plants. Special topics include phylogenetics and cladistics, plant species concepts, and modern methods of systematic research.

BIOE 120, 120L – Marine Botany (Spring)

An introduction to the biology of marine algae, fungi, and angiosperms with regard to form and function. Major boreal, temperate, and tropical marine plant communities. Lecture format.

BIOE 122, 122L – Invertebrate Zoology (Winter)

An examination of invertebrates and their habitats. 

BIOE 124, 124L – Mammalogy (Fall)

Introduces the biology of mammals, including their classification, evolution, behavior, reproductive strategies, and general ecology. Examines the diagnostic traits of mammals; provides a survey of the living orders along with their diagnostic features, physiological and behavioral specializations, and adaptations.

BIOE 127, 127L – Ichthyology (Every Other Fall)

An introduction to the biology of jawless, cartilaginous, and bony fishes—their classification, evolution, form, physiology, and ecology.

BIOE 129, 129L – Biology of Marine Mammals (Spring)

A survey of cetaceans, pinnipeds, sirenians, and sea otters, including natural history, systematics, physiology, behavior, anatomy, and conservation.

BIOE 141L – Behavioral Ecology 

An introduction to social and reproductive behavior. Emphasis on studies of vertebrates in their natural habitat. Ideas concerning the evolution of social behavior, mating systems, and individual reproductive strategies. Case histories of well-studied animals that illustrate key principles in courtship and mating, parental behavior, and food-getting behavior.

BIOE 145, 145L – Plant Ecology (Fall)

An exploration of the ecology of plant form, function, distribution, abundance, and diversity. Topics include plant adaptations to environmental conditions, life history variation, competition, reproductive ecology, herbivory, and patterns of diversity. Lecture with discussions of original papers and independent field project. Students cannot receive credit for this course and course 245.

BIOE 147 – Community Ecology (Spring)

Develops the major themes of community biology: structure, trophic dynamics, succession, complex interactions among species, herbivory, evolution and coevolution. Uses case histories of well-studied marine and terrestrial systems. Students cannot receive credit for this course and course 247.

BIOE 150, 150L – Ecological Field Methods (Every Other Spring)

Lectures and laboratory computer exercises designed to familiarize students with research methods, study design, statistical approaches, and analysis tools for ecological research. Students cannot receive credit for this course and Environmental Studies 104A.

BIOE 155 – Freshwater Ecology (Fall)

Provides an overview of the physical, chemical, and biological processes that characterize inland waters such as lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands. Also addresses relationships between humans and freshwater, and discusses these challenges in conservation.

BIOE 161 – Kelp Forest Ecology 

Study of organization of kelp forests as models for examining biological communities. The physical and biotic factors responsible for community organization of kelp forests are explored using original literature and data collected in BIOE 161L. Class meets one full morning each week. Prerequisite(s): by interview only; BIOL 20A, BIOE 20B, and BIOE 20C are required. Students must pass the University Research Diving Certification (contact the diving safety officer, Institute of Marine Sciences, for further information). Enrollment restricted to seniors. BIOE 161L must be taken concurrently; BIOE 107, 120/L, 122/L are recommended.