Note: Rudolf Schmid is retiring in January 2004. This course will be taught in Spring 2004 by another instructor.

INTRODUCTION TO CALIFORNIA PLANT LIFE
Integrative Biology 102/102L, University of California, Berkeley

COURSE DESCRIPTION (modified slightly from catalog):
Integrative Biology 102 and 102L (NOTE: Both must be taken concurrently!). Introduction to California plant life (4 units). Two one-hour lectures and two three-hour labs per week and at least two Saturday field trips. Prerequisites: Biology 1B (or equivalent) or consent of the instructor. The relationship of the main plant groups and the plant communities of California to climate, soils, vegetation, geological and recent history, and conservation. The lab focuses on the main plant groups and the major plant families in California, and the use of keys to identify introduced and especially native pteridophytes, conifers, and particularly flowering plants of the state.

CRITERIA FOR SELECTING STUDENTS FOR THE COURSE:
The enrollment limit for each lab section is approximately 23 students (the capacity of the lab room in 3030 LSB) or 46 for the entire course. On the basis of the information about yourself that you will supply to us in the first lecture period, we will compile a list of students admitted to the specific lab sections, as well as, if necessary, persons on a waiting list for each lab section. We will post this list as soon as possible, hopefully outside 3030 LSB by 5:00 PM. Criteria for being added to the course are as follows:

There will be no class entry codes.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND SOME LECTURE AND LAB TOPICS:
Due to its topographic diversity, California has an incredible diversity of plant communities that can be arranged geographically starting in central California on the coast, moving eastward across the Coast Ranges, Central Valley, and the Sierra Nevada and then south into the deserts of southern California, to wit (25 major communities and 19 minor communities, the main or most important ones italicized; * = aquatic and moist-habitat communities):

  • Intertidal-Subtidal*
  • Coastal Beach and Dune
  • Coastal Salt Marsh*
  • Brackish Marsh*
  • Northern Coastal Prairie
  • Coastal Scrub
  • Closed-cone Coniferous Forest, including Pygmy Forest
  • Northern Coastal Coniferous Forest, including Redwood Forest
  • Mixed Evergreen Forest, including Douglas Fir Forest
  • Chaparral, including Montane Chaparral
  • Oak Woodland
  • Annual Grassland
  • Perennial Grassland, and other grasslands
  • azonal (scattered), rather localized, freshwater aquatic and moist-habitat communities (Vernal Pool*; Riparian Woodland*; Freshwater Marsh*; Lakes, Ponds, and Sloughs*; Bogs*; Meadows*; Aspen Woodland*)
  • Lower Montane Coniferous Forest
  • Upper Montane Coniferous Forest
  • Subalpine Coniferous Forest
  • alpine vegetation, including Alpine Fellfield and Alpine Meadow*
  • Pine-Juniper Woodland
  • Sagebrush Scrub
  • Blackbush Scrub
  • the classic desert communities:
  • Joshua Tree Woodland
  • Creosote Bush Scrub
  • Saltbush Scrub
  • Alkali Sink Scrub
  • other azonal, rather localized, desert communities (Desert Grassland; Desert Chaparral; Desert Rocky Scrub;  Desert Dune Scrub; Cactus Scrub; Desert Wash Scrub; Desert Microphyllous Woodland; Desert Oasis Woodland;* Desert Riparian Woodland*; Gypsicolous Scrub; Alkali Meadow* or Inland Salt Marsh*, etc.)
  • Coverage will also include related vegetation types in adjacent areas such as Baja California, Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona, especially those areas therein that involve elements of the California Floristic Province. We will thus see how information learned about California can be applied outside California. The labs and field trips will focus on the important families, genera, and species of vascular plants in California. Disturbance of the indigenous vegetation, threatened species and conservation, and restoration of the native vegetation will be continual themes throughout the course in both the lab and especially the lecture.

    A 1994-vintage summary of the features of the plant communities of California is available via the Geography Department, UC Berkeley.

    The lectures (27) will treat these topics, roughly in this order:

  • Basic vegetative morphology
  • The naming of organisms and the use of keys
  • Various lectures on pteridophytes, gymnosperms, angiosperms (the angiosperms are emphasized), bryophytes, algae, fungi, especially from the perspective of their representatives in California
  • Ecologyÿorgan and whole-plant modifications for severe habitats
  • Characteristics and effects of weeds
  • Fire and flood—two constant phenomena in California
  • The many vegetation types (see above) of California and adjacent regions from the perspective of:
  • Definition
  • Distribution (geography), elevation, and areal relationship to other communities
  • Climatic characteristics
  • Edaphic characteristics
  • Vegetation ecology
  • Vegetation type and floristics (species diversity, representative species, etc.)
  • Aspect (species density, cover, zonation, etc.)
  • General adaptive characteristics of the plants, especially to environmental limiting factors
  • Transformations (changes over time, including succession and conservation)
  • Various ecological topics, for instance:
  • Deserts in general, including adaptations of desert plants
  • Serpentine soils, vegetation, and plant endemism in California
  • Features and vegetation of Baja California, México, especially its northern half
  • The three-hour labs (28) will involve the following:
  • Learning basic terminology of vegetative and reproductive morphology of vascular plants
  • Practice keying of various plant taxa
  • Learning the distinctive features of about 35 plant families, as Pinaceae (pine family)
  • Sight recognition of about 150 plant species or especially plant genera, as Salicornia spp. (pickleweed; samphire, glasswort), or Umbellularia californica (California bay; Oregon myrtle)
  • Six or seven mandatory local field trips within the normally scheduled three-hour lab period to:
  • UC Botanical Garden
  • Huckleberry Preserve
  • Tilden Botanical Garden
  • El Cerrito Hillside Natural Area (at least two trips to here)
  • Skyline Serpentinite Prairie
  • You must provide your own transportation to these field trips. Please carpool (your TA may arrange to go as a class by carpooling from campus)! These field trips are scheduled in the beginning of the week and will be held even during light rain. If the weather is very bad, a field trip will be rescheduled to the end of the week. Check the door of your lab an hour before your scheduled lab for a notice giving the latest details about any postponements, etc. Your TA will decide if there is a quiz on any these trips.

    In addition, the laboratory component of the course will involve:

    The course will provide transportation for these field trips.

    Return to Course List
    Return to Rudi Schmid's Home Page
    Last revised: December 2003