Environmental Biology

(This syllabus is a generic syllabus and will be secondary to the official syllabus handed out in the classroom. RSU Online courses will have a semester specific syllabus available in their course.)



COURSE DESCRIPTION: General Environmental Biology 1134 is a college level, introductory course in biological science with an emphasis on the environment. It is designed to meet the life-science general education requirement for the associate or bachelor degree and should not be taken by individuals requiring general biology as a preparation for the health or life-science fields.

Environmental Biology addresses environmental issues of concern to all citizens of planet Earth. The general purpose of the course is to increase the studentsí knowledge of the basic biological principles which relate to the growing number of environmental crises occurring in the world today. The ultimate hope is that appropriate knowledge and understanding will lead to wise decisions concerning environmental questions in the future.



Completion of this course will foster the following general education outcomes:

  1. Students will demonstrate use of the scientific method.
  2. Students will acquire basic content knowledge of sciences.
  3. Students will apply scientific principles to solve practical problems.
  4. Students will demonstrate an appreciation of science and the world around them.
  5. Students will report the impact of science on their lives and their impact on the environment.


Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Identify and explain terms associated with the environment and ecology.
  2. Diagram the atom, describe the formation of molecules, and relate these topics to organic and inorganic compounds of particular interest to the environment.
  3. Recognize chemical compounds associated with biotic and abiotic factors.
  4. Discuss biodiversity and richness.
  5. Describe various ecosystems.
  6. Discuss concerns related to causes of pollution and pollution prevention.
  7. Discuss specialized topics in environmental science as interest and time permit.


  1. To help the student identify and define the following terms associated with environmental biology: ecosystem, biomes, symbiosis, biotic, abiotic, niche, biogeochemical cycles, and biodiversity to name a few.
  2. To enable the student to be able to diagram the structure of an atom and know the distribution of the subatomic particles.
  3. To help the student understand the basic differences between ionic, polar covalent, and non-polar covalent chemical bonding.
  4. To aide the student in understanding the four abiotic and biotic factors associated with the environment and give a brief description of their interactions with the environment.
  5. To provide the student with the difference between the three main types of symbiotic relationships.
  6. Explain the difference between point and non-point pollution and be able to give an example for each type.
  7. Identify five major types of air pollutants and their causes and prevention.
  8. Identify five major types of water pollutants and their causes and prevention.
  9. Identify and describe the biomes associated with Oklahoma.
  10. Distinguish the different ecological roles played by producers, consumers, and decomposers in natural ecosystems.
  11. Explain how the trophic structure of natural ecosystems demonstrates the second law of thermodynamics.
  12. Describe the mechanism of the greenhouse effect and list the major causes responsible for it.
  13. Define and explain "eutrophication" of surface waters.
  14. List the causes of and describe the processes responsible for photochemical smog.
  15. Define biological diversity and summarize the present concerns over extinction of plant and animal species.
  16. List the major causes of species extinction due to human activities.
  17. List the reasons that temperate ecosystems support less biodiversity than tropical ecosystems.
  18. Compare the advantage of waste reduction, reuse of materials, and recycling as methods of managing waste disposal problems.
  19. Be able to have a general understanding of the regulations used by the federal government for environmental protection of our ecosystems.
  20. Be able to discuss the problems of regional ecological pollution and offer ideas on prevention and cleanup.

COURSE STRUCTURE: This class will cover standard topics of general interest to all students of Environmental Biology, as well as specialized topics as determined throughout the semester based upon such factors as current news events and the availability of additional opportunities. During the semester, readings from several chapters in our text will be assigned, but please note that the chapter numbers will not always be assigned in chronological order. Also, in several instances, only certain sections within a chapter will be required. During the semester you will also be required to complete four (4) exams, write a term paper on an environmental topic of personal interest, present a report on your term paper topic to the class, and complete various laboratory activities and field trips which also require individual written reports.


CLASS PARTICIPATION: For this course to be successful your weekly participation is required. More than two weeks absence will lower your grade unless previous arrangements have been made with your instructor. Exams, labs, speakers, and field trips will not be able to be made up.



Term Paper: During the semester, you will be responsible for writing a term paper based on your research regarding an environmental issue that is of particular interest to you. The actual topic for your research project must be agreed upon by both you and your instructor and will be discussed on a one-on-one basis. The body of the paper must be typed and at least 6 - 10 pages in length, double-spaced, with a font of 12. A minimum of five references that are cited within the paper (three of which can be web sites) are required. An accepted citation style must be used. This term paper together with the presentation to the class will have the same weight as one regular exam (100 points possible), with 80 of the points based on the written paper itself. We will discuss the term paper in detail during the course. In the meantime be thinking of a topic that will be of interest to you.

Class Presentation: The research project requires a brief class presentation (approximately 10 minutes) and a short question and answer period (approximately 5 minutes) in addition to the written paper. The oral presentation and questions will have the same weight as one short report (20 points).



  1. Materials
  2. Purpose
  3. Methods
  4. Results
  5. Conclusion
  1. Topic
  2. Relevance to the environment/biological principles involved
  3. Examples given
  4. Current approach
  5. Future prospects
  6. Conclusion
  1. Topic
  2. Relevance to the environment/biological principles involved
  3. Description of site and activity
  4. Examples of current events
  5. Future goals
  6. Conclusion


90-100% = A
80-89% = B
70-79% = C
60-69% = D
0-59% = F

If you need help figuring your grade, try this page.


PLAGIARISM STATEMENT: Plagiarism is representing someone else's ideas or work as your own. To avoid plagiarism when using someone else's data, arguments, designs, words, ideas, projects, etc., you must make it clear that the work originated with someone else by citing the source. A student found guilty of plagiarism will receive a zero for that particular assignment. A student found guilty of cheating on a quiz, exam, paper, or project, will receive a zero for that particular assignment. If there are two or more identical papers that are impossible to determine who actually conducted the work, and who plagiarized, then all students will receive a zero for the particular assignment.


ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT: Students are expected to follow university policies as put forth in the institution's Student Code of Responsibilities and Conduct. In accordance with Title 12 of The Student Code (p.11), instances of alleged academic misconduct will follow the policies and procedures as described in Title 12. As a general rule, faculty at Rogers State University have the responsibility of enforcing the academic code. Therefore, if academic misconduct is suspected I will submit a letter of alleged academic misconduct to the Office of Student Affairs.


NON-ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT: In order to maintain an effective learning environment, students are expected to fully comply with The Student Code. Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. It is the responsibility of each student to read and become familiar with the policies of The Student Code.



Rogers State University is committed to providing students with disabilities equal access to educational programs and services. Before any educational accommodation can be provided, any student who has a disability that he or she believes will require some form of accommodation must do the following: 1) inform the professor of each class of such need; and 2) register for services to determine eligibility for assistance with the Office of Student Affairs, located in the Student Union. Students needing more information about Student Disability Services should contact:
Director of Student Development
Office of Student Affairs
Rogers State University


DISCLAIMER: Your instructor has the right to change this syllabus if the need arises. If a change is made, written notice will be provided.

|| Home || Current Topics || Periodic Table || Citing || Tables || Metric Practice || Conversions || Prefixes || Learning Styles || Research ||