2011-12 Catalog

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Offering Description

The Fungal Kingdom


Fall 2011 quarter

Noelle Machnicki mycology, ecology , Lalita Calabria botany, phytochemistry, systematics
Fields of Study
biology, ecology, field studies and natural history
Preparatory for studies or careers in
ecology, biology, natural history, education, and environmental studies.
One year of general biology and one quarter of ecology or natural history.

Fungi. What are they? Where are they and what are they doing there? How do they get their energy? What roles do they play in ecosystems? How do they grow? What do they taste like? How do they interact with other organisms? The central theme of this program is to answer these and other questions about fungi.

Many people are familiar with green plants and their role in using solar energy to turn carbon dioxide, inorganic elements and water into sugars and other molecules. Fungi, which convert sugars and other organic molecules back into carbon dioxide, inorganic elements, water and energy, are less familiar. Nevertheless, fungi play pivotal roles in the various nutrient cycles within terrestrial ecosystems. They also form symbiotic relationships with plants to create mycorrhizae and have a different type of symbiotic relationship with algae to form lichens. In addition, fungi cause a wide variety of diseases that can be important in particular ecosystems as well as in agriculture and medicine. This program will focus on understanding these unique, ubiquitous and interesting organisms.

We will cover fungal and lichen taxonomy, the ecology and biology of fungi and lichens, lab techniques for studying/identifying them, current research, as well as social and economic aspects. There will be an emphasis on work in the laboratory learning to classify fungi and lichens using chemical and microscopic techniques, along with a wide variety of taxonomic keys.

These topics will be explored in the field, in the lab, and through lectures, workshops and student research project presentations. Students should expect to spend a minimum of 50 hours/week on program work. Students will be engaged in technical writing, library research, critical thinking and developing their oral presentation skills.

Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
$200 for overnight field trips.
Upper Division Science Credit
Upper-division credit will be awarded for upper-division work.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
August 23rd, 2011 Fees have increased to $200.
June 15th, 2011 Lalita Calabria added to program, description updated
April 26th, 2011 New program added.