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Fall 2017 Course Guidelines
CRN 11904, Fridays, 9a-11:15a; 11:45-2:55p, 8/28-12/16

Last updated: October 18, 2017 11:05 AM

Please send ALL e-mail correspondence to I do not use MyGateway and I do not use my fullcoll email address for correspondence with students.

PLEASE NOTE: I reserve the right to change these course guidelines until the start of classes, and during the semester, to make corrections or to take advantage of opportunities to discuss events related to our course materials. Changes made during the semester will be announced in Canvas and revised here. However, print versions of the course guidelines will not be updated.

PREREQUISITE: Biology lab with a C or better, but see instructor if you think you're qualified.

LECTURE/LAB COURSE STRUCTURE: This 3-unit course includes once-a-week 2-hour lecture and a 3-hour lab. Students are also expected to do some online work.

DEFINITION: Facts are pieces of information that exist (or have been known to exist), that can be shown by observation or measurement to exist, and that have a basis in objective reality (independent of the observer).



Like In and Out, these course guidelines are what this course is all about. Make sure you read these guidelines very carefully.

MY TEACHING PHILOSOPHY: 1) Put students first; 2) Always be prepared; 3) Never give up, never surrender. 4) Inspire wonder. 5) Make a difference. I do my best to follow these principles every day.

WHAT I EXPECT FROM YOU: 1) A desire to learn because you understand the importance of education to your family, your future, and your happiness; 2) The motivation to learn how to learn because knowing how to learn secures your place in the world as a skilled and thoughtful and independent human being (not ruled by the opinions of others); 3) Respect towards me and your classmates because everyone is doing the best they can given their level of awareness, because not everyone has had the same opportunities in education and life, and because a world in which people respect each other is a kinder, safer, and more beautiful place to live and love. I hope you will do your best to follow these principles, learn from them, and make them a part of your life.

COURSE SYNOPSIS: Marine biology focuses on life in the ocean, from the microscopic plankton to the mighty whales, from our local shores to faraway isles, from the sunlit surface waters to the deepest depths of the abyss. The course emphasizes the interaction of organisms with their geological, chemical, physical, and biological habitats, that is, as part of an ecosystem. Principles of marine ecology and marine conservation are included.

COURSE DIFFICULTY: By taking my courses and successfully passing them, my students are prepared for anything they encounter at a four-year college and beyond. The skills and ways of understanding learned in this course can be applied to a student's career and personal life. Adopting successful habits of mind and learning how to learn anything are key outcomes of my approach to teaching. Challenging students to be all that they can be is my sworn duty.

BASIC SKILLS: If you are enrolled in basic skills reading, math, or English, please contact me before proceeding with this 200-level course.

TECHNOLOGY: I expect that everyone enrolled in this course knows how to use a computer and the Internet. I also expect that you know how to use a word-processing program, and how to save or export a document as a .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf. Even Pages for the Macs can export Word files. You'll also need to come up to speed with Blackboard and Turnitin, if you aren't already familiar with them. If you don't know how, please be willing to learn. You'll find lots of help on the internet, especially YouTube. Heck, you can even email a classmate to ask for help and make a new friend!

ACADEMIC HONESTY/COLLEGE POLICIES: All college, district, state and federal policies, guidelines and regulations apply to this course. The Fullerton College Catalog and the Class Schedule contain a number of important policies and guidelines. Check them out. You may purchase copies of these publications at the campus bookstore, or you may read them online at the Fullerton College website, Students are urged to review the FC Catalog policy on Academic Honesty. If you are caught cheating, you will receive a zero for that assignment or exam. Repeated offenses have stronger penalties.

NO COPYING OR QUOTING: I do not allow students to copy or quote other works in this course. Use your own words always. This policy applies to everything you submit, especially extra credit. Copying or paraphrasing a single sentence from another student, Wikipedia, any other source, and even yourself will result in a zero for the entire assignment or exam. Using images, figures, or other forms of multimedia that are not your own is also prohibited.

ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS: All students must show up for class in the first day, Friday, September 1, or they will be dropped. All students must also log in to the CANVAS Course Management System (see below) and take the syllabus quiz before the next class (September 8) or they will be dropped as a no-show. Students who fail to attend class or log in during any two weeks of the semester (consecutively or non-consecutively) will be dropped for non-participation.

DROP POLICY: It is the responsibility of the student to drop the course regardless of attendance requirements. Do not rely on your professor to drop you for any reason. Failure to drop a course may result in a failing grade (F) for the semester.

STUDY REQUIREMENTS: Students may expect to spend 9-12 HOURS PER WEEK STUDYING for this course outside of class meetings. Students are urged to review the suggestions provided in the FC Course Catalog concerning workload and class load. Consider reducing your work hours, spending less time with friends and family, smoking less pot, and other time-management strategies to find time to study. You can find time if you use time wisely.

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) STATEMENT: Fullerton College is committed to providing educational accommodations for students with disabilities upon the timely request by the student to the instructor. Verification of the disability must also be provided. The Disability Support Services office functions as a resource for students and faculty in the determination and provision of educational accommodations.

FULLERTON COLLEGE CATALOG AND CLASS SCHEDULE: The Fullerton College Catalog and the Class Schedule contain a number of important policies and some great tips on studying. Please browse or read these publications for the parts that are important to you. You may purchase copies of these publications at the campus bookstore, or you may read them online at the Fullerton College website. Current Schedule: College Catalog:

STANDARDS OF STUDENT CONDUCT AND DISCIPLINE POLICY: As cited in BP5500, “A student who violates the standards of student conduct shall be subject to disciplinary action including, but not limited to, the removal, suspension or expulsion of the student.” The standards of student conduct and disciplinary action for violation of Board Policy 5500 were approved by the NOCCCD Board on January 28, 2003, and were drawn in compliance with Sections 66300, 76030, 76033, 76034, 76036 of the State Education Code. Students are expected to respect and obey civil and criminal law and shall be subject to the legal penalties for violation of the city, county, state, and national law(s). Student conduct must conform to Board Policy and college regulations and procedures.

As noted above, students have an obligation to familiarize themselves with the College’s policies, rules and regulations and to conduct themselves in a reasonable, respectful manner, which is conducive toward attaining their educational goal. Upon registration, each student should obtain a copy of the College Policies and Regulations: Standards of Student Conduct and Discipline Policy. Contained therein are the policies approved by the Board of Trustees governing student behavior and the applicable penalties for violations of these policies. Copies are available in the Student Affairs Office, the Office of Equity and Diversity, all division offices, and the Student Services office.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE STATEMENT: An earthquake or extreme weather event may happen at any moment. Take note of the safety features in and around where you complete your work. Note the posted evacuation routes. During strong earthquakes, it is recommended to duck beneath a desk, cover your head with your hands, and hold on to your ass until the quaking stops. Running out of a building during an earthquake can be deadly. Didn't you hear "The Rock" in San Andreas?

UNDECIDED ON A MAJOR? Why not pursue a career in Oceanography, Meteorology, Geology, or Earth Science? You may be amazed at the opportunities for students in this field. If you are interested in business, technology, computers, working with machinery, public relations, marketing, law, physical fitness, medicine, health and just about any other subject, we need you! All that's required is a passion for the ocean. Just ask me.


Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. define terms and explain concepts related to the biology and ecology of marine organisms, including their interactions with the marine environment.
  2. demonstrate techniques for the study of the biology and ecology of marine organisms, especially as they relate to the effects of physical, chemical, and geological factors on their biogeographic distribution.
  3. Synthesize information from a variety of sources to explain one aspect of a human impact on a marine species, population, community, or ecosystem.


The required textbook for this course is the 10th Edition of Marine Biology (2016) written by Peter Castro, PhD (Cal Poly Pomona) and Michael Huber, PhD (Jacobs, Australia), and published by McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

This textbook is essential for the course. Everything we do in this course centers around this textbook. Textbooks are expensive, yes, but they are an investment in your future. Don't shortchange yourself. You can buy a less expensive digital only edition or rent one if you cannot afford to buy one. The textbook is available through the Fullerton College bookstore, and other vendors, such as and

The cover of the book looks like this:


The following websites serve our course. Try to become familiar with them before our first class meeting, or you may feel lost. Read very carefully the directions to log in to Canvas. This isn't Instagram or Snapchat. It's real life.

MYGATEWAY: This is a portal to Canvas but I don't use it otherwise. At all. For anything.

CANVAS: This course uses CANVAS as a Learning Managament System (LMS) to provide announcements, quizzes, exams, lecture notes, grades, and other materials and assessments related to the course. All students are expected to log in at least 2-3 times per week to adequately prepare and study for materials covered in class.

You may gain access to Canvas through the link on MyGateway. Once logged in, go to the Fullerton tab, scroll down to the Canvas icon, and click on it for your Canvas dashboard. If you are experiencing difficulties logging in through MyGateway, go to Login using your MyGateway credentials (with no @sign in front of the Banner id.)

Canvas is new to Fullerton College, and, in my 21+ years of experience teaching at FC, there are bound to be challenges. Just be patient, contact me immediately, and I will work to solve your problem. Of course, you have to leave time for me to help you. Cries for help at the last hour go unheeded. Do your work often and early just in case...

If you're having difficulty, or just want to know more about Canvas, you may also try try this website:

YOUTUBE VIDEOS: Helpful videos for this course are posted in two places:

Science Nuts!

Professor Sean's Lectures:

ANYTHING ELSE? If you are looking for anything else and can't find it, by all means e-mail me!


Please send ALL e-mail correspondence to When you send me e-mails, please always type a SUBJECT for your e-mail (like "Help", "a quick question", question about exam", etc). E-mails with untitled subjects will end up in the spam folder.

ALWAYS put your FULL NAME and COURSE (Marine Biology) as the first line of all e-mails.

If you don't hear back from me in 48 hours, send your email again.

Please don't send me e-mail through MyGateway. I won't get it until next summer.

Please avoid sending email to my fullcoll address.

Please be courteous! I promise to treat you with the manners and respect that you deserve if you promise to treat me the same. I am more than happy to listen to reasonable and rational statements. If I have made an error, I am more than happy to correct it.

Kindness applies to your classmates as well. A colleague with cancer writes at the end of e-mails..."Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you know is fighting a battle of some kind!"


I welcome visits from students during my office hours!

Campus office hours are Tuesdays, 3;15-4:15p and Fridays, 8-9am, in Room 1250-06 (behind the 400 building in the 1200 building), and online in CCC Confer on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:00a-Noon.

Here's the info for my virtual office hours. You may need to install Blackboard Collaborate to make it work (yes, even though we use Canvas).

Meeting Details
Title: Professor Sean Chamberlin Office Hours
Meeting Type: Office Hours
Meeting Link:
Meeting Passcode: 386282


The goal of college is to prepare yourself for a successful life and a career beyond college. In taking this course, you are being trained to master an unfamiliar knowledge set, to apply what you learn in new situations, to think about competing possibilities, and to articulate your rationale for choosing a particular way of thinking.

Your final grade in this class is based on your ability to learn and understand the course materials and to meet the learning outcomes for this course. A number of tools will be provided for you to learn the materials, obtain the knowledge, and develop the understandings to meet these outcomes. Not all of the available tools earn you points but you can bet that if you spend time learning about the ocean, you are going to be successful in point-earning assignments. Some of these tools will help you form your knowledge (formative assessments). Other tools will assess what you have learned (summative assessments).

Suggested reading and study materials can be found in the Course Syllabus that follows this section.


My primary goal is to immerse you in the experience and work of marine biologists as they carry out their research in the field environment. We are very fortunate to live in a place that has estuaries, salt marshes, coastal dunes, sandy beaches, rocky shores, kelp forests, a highly productive coastal ocean, and more. We will focus our studies on these habitats and visit as many of them as possible during the semester.

Our class time--lecture and lab--will be focused on activities, field trips, and research. While there's a lot of marine biology that can be learned inside a building, I want to take you where my marine biology instructors took me, out in the field! At its heart, marine biology is a field science, and that's where we'll be as often as we can get there.

That said, you, as a student in a 200-level course, will have a responsbility to work outside of class to study the textbook, watch the videos, take the quizzes, and learn the course materials. You will be expected to know each chapter's terms and concepts and be prepared to apply your knowledge when you come to class.

To help you work outside of class, I have created a course management system in Canvas that will help guide you through each topic. Canvas allows a structured learning environment designed to enhance learning and promote higher student success. When you enter the course, you will see a menu of weekly modules. The preliminary module contains background materials for helping you to learn how to learn better. The weekly modules contain the materials and quizzes for each week of the course. Note that the materials must be completed in order and that you will not be permitted to advance to the next topic (or the next module) until you complete each part of the module. In some cases, this simply means viewing the material or responding to a simple (not-for-credit) thought question. For quizzes, you must acheive a particular score before you will be permitted to advance. Once you complete a module, you will be permitted to advance to the next module.

You are invited and encouraged to work ahead. You may always go back later to review earlier material and you may always retake a quiz. Find a schedule and pace that works for you. Do your best to do a little bit each day. You're life will be less stressful and you'll thank yourself in the end if you keep up with (or even ahead of) the work!


Quizzes keep your brain sharp. They provide immediate feedback on what you have learned. They help point out gaps in your knowledge and shortcomings in your study techniques. In this course, quizzes are aimed at helping you master the vocabulary of oceanography, work out solutions to math problems, and develop a better understanding of the concepts. A mastery of terms provides the foundation for everything else that we do in the course, and an understanding of the concepts builds a framework for understanding the world ocean and how it works as a system. Quizzes are an integral component of the "learning how to learn" pathway.

You are required to complete 20 online quizzes during the semester. Quizzes 1-11 must be completed by the due date for the Midterm and Quizzes 12-20 must be completed by the time of the Final Exam. Despite the semi-self-paced nature of the quizzes, I encourage you to complete them in the week in which they are assigned, if not earlier. You will not be prepared for the Midterm or the Final Exam if you do not take thorough advantage of the learning opportunities offered by the quizzes.

Quizzes may be taken an unlimited number of times during the semester. Your highest quiz score will be counted. Note, however, that even if you score a high score on the first quiz, it's worth your time to take the quiz several times. That way you will be better prepared for the exams or final exam that take mosst of their questions from the quizzes.

Quizzes are worth 20 points each for a total of 400 points, or 40% of your total grade.


Exams assess your ability to identify, define, and use vocabulary from lectures, textbook readings, in-class work, out-of-class work, YouTube lectures, or other study materials. Exams assess your ability to draw and/or interpret maps, graphs, and tables and solve equations covered in lectures, textbook reading, in-class work, out-of-class work, YouTube lectures, or other assigned materials. Exams assess your understanding of concepts and your ability to apply and communicate what you have learned.

The midterm and final will be a mix of multiple choice, matching, short answer, calculations, map/graph interpretations, and essays.

An in-class, open-book, open-note MIDTERM will be given in Week 7 and an in-class, open-book, open-note FINAL EXAM will be given in Week 16. Both exams are worth 200 points. The midterm will cover Weeks 1-6 of the semester and the final exam will cover Weeks 8-15 of the semester. Unlike quizzes, which you may work on until the time of the Midterm (Quizzes 1-13) or Final Exam (Quizzes 14-25), the midterm and final exam will only be available for one week and have due dates at the end of that week. Due dates are posted in the Course Syllabus below. You will be given three (3) attempts. You will not see your score or what you got right or wrong until after the exam period has ended. For each attempt, some of the questions will change. Your highest score will count.

Technical problems of any kind encountered during an attempt will count as an attempt. You will not be given extra attempts. You are given three attempts to make one attempt good. Make sure your computer and browser are properly set to work with Canvas.

There are no makeups of exams. Cheating will not be tolerated. Anyone who copies answers from another student will receive a zero.

The midterm and final exam count for 40% of your final grade (400/1000).


Working in groups, each student will complete two mini-projects collecting images and video of marine life and cataloging biodiveristy in local marine habitats using iNaturalist and a Wiki in Canvas. More details will be provided in class.

The project fulfills the lab portion of the course and is worth 200 points, or 20% of your final grade (200/1000).


Some extra credit will be available for special events. See Announcements for details. Proof of attendance and completion of 500-word writing assignment will be required to earn points. Extra credit is due within 10 days of the event. No extra credit will be accepted after November 27, 2017. Extra credit is offered as an incentive for you to explore new and interesting activities related to the course, not to make up for poor performance. In all that you do in college, you should be motivated to learn because you care about your future and your learning, not because someone rewards you like a dolphin getting a fish for doing a backflip.

Marine Life Inventories: September 9th, October 7th, November 4th, December 9th.


Quizzes: 400 points
Project: 200 points
Midterm: 200 points
Final Exam: 200 points


The course is based on 1000 points.


A = 85%
B = 75%
C = 65%
D = 55%
F = <55%


Many students often want a very well-defined, narrow list of things they need to know. That's understandable as, unfortunately, most students just want to get through college with as little effort as possible. But would you want a doctor or lawyer or auto mechanic who "just learned the minimum?" Would you want a school teacher for your children who teaches your children wrong facts and ideas? When the barrista at Starbucks ignores you, or the window clerk at McDonald's gets your order wrong, doesn't that irritate you just a little?

The purpose of college is to give you a better life and to improve the lives of the people around you, your family, friends, neighbors, and fellow Americans. College expands your mind, exposes you to new ways of thinking, makes you aware of knowledge and ideas beyond your wildest imagination, teaches you to learn how to learn and be prepared for any challenge, opens doors to new opportunities.

I hope that you are here to enrich your mind and your life to the fullest extent possible. Take the attitude that "I want to learn as much as I can" and you will be amazingly successful not just in this course, but in all of your college courses and life. Remember the adage, "Your life is what your thoughts make it."


Week # Date Major Topics Weekly Course Readings & Viewings
Assessments Lab Activities
1 Friday, 9/1

The Science of Marine Biology

Classification of Marine Life

Marine Ecology

Chapter 1, all pages

Chapter 4, Section 4.5, Diversity of Life in the Sea, pp 78-83

Chapter 10, pp 213-231

Quiz 1: The Science of Marine Biology (Chapter 1)

Quiz 2: Classification of Marine Organisms (Matching; book, internet, notes)

Quiz 3: Marine Ecology (Chapter 10)


Introduction to iNaturalist


Friday, 9/8


The Coastal Ocean and Epipelagic Food Webs

Chapter 5, The Microbial World, pp 85-100

Chapter 15, pp 336-364

Chapter 7, Section 7.3, Comb Jellies, pp 124-125; and Section 7.6, Arthropods, pp 137-142

Quiz 4: Marine Microbes (all of Chapter 5)

Quiz 5: Life Near the Surface (all of Chapter 15)

Plankton Survey Using a Microscope and iNaturalist
3 Friday, 9/15

Marine Birds

Marine Mammals

Chapter 9, Section 9.2: Seabirds, pp 184-188

Section 9.3: Marine Mammals, pp 188-211

Quiz 6: Seabirds and Marine Mammals (most of Chapter 9)

Whale and Marine Bird Survey Using iNaturalist (with Newport Sportfishing)

  Saturday, 9/16 Special Topic: Coastal Cleanup Day!

Ocean Garbage Patches; Video: Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (58 min)

Quiz 7: The Great Garbage Patches (Documentary)  
4 Friday, 9/22

Marine Fishes

Chapter 8, Marine Fishes, pp 153-177

Quiz 8: Marine Fishes (Chapter 8)



Newport Beach Pier Fish Survey using iNaturalist

Ocean Tracks


Friday, 9/29

Coral Reefs


Chapter 14, pp 311-334

Chapter 7, Sections 7.2: Sponges & Section 7.2: Cnidarians, pp 117-124

Chapter 7, Section 7.5, Molluscs, pp 130-137, and Section 7.8 Echinoderms, pp 143-147; Section 7.9: Hemichordates, p 148

Quiz 9: Coral Reefs (Chapter 14)


Marine Habitats Survey at Aquarium of the Pacific


6 Friday, 10/6

Estuaries, Salt Marshes, and Mangrove Forests


Chapter 12, pp 270-288

Chapter 7, Section 7.4, Bilaterally Symmetrical Worms, pp 125-130


Quiz 10: Estuaries: Where Rivers Meet the Sea (Chapter 12)

Quiz 11: Marine Animals Without a Backbone (all of Chapter 7)

Bolsa Chica Interpretive Center, Bolsa Chica Estuary

7 Friday, 10/13



MIDTERM covering Weeks 1-6



8 Friday, 10/20

Tides, Waves, and Sandy Beaches

Chapter 3, Waves and Tides, pp 56-62

Chapter 11, Section 11.2, Soft-Bottom Communities, pp 264-268


Quiz 12: Waves and Tides (All of Chapter 3 and Lecture Notes)


Newport Beach Marine Debris Survey
9 Friday, 10/27

Seaweeds and Rocky Shores

Chapter 6, pp 102-115

Chapter 11, Section 11.1, Rocky Shores, pp 246-263


Quiz 13: Seaweeds and Plants (Chapter 6)


Crystal Cove State Beach Intertidal Survey Using iNaturalist

10 Friday, 11/3

Soft and Hard-Bottom Habitats and Kelp Forests

Chapter 13, Chapter 13, pp 289-310


Quiz 14: Between the Tides (Chapter 11)

Quiz 15: Life on the Continental Shelf (all of Chapter 13)

Documentary: Mission Blue

11 Friday, 11/10 No class! Veteran's Day Holiday.    
12 Friday,


The Abyss and Hydrothermal Vents

Chapter 16, pp 365-385

Chapter 7, Section 7.10: Chordates Without a Backbone, pp 148-149, and Table 7.1

Quiz 16: The Ocean Depths (all of Chapter 16)


A Trip to the Deep via NOAA Explorer

    SPECIAL TOPIC: Polar Ecosystems     Watch Video: Mystery Beneath the Ice
13 Friday, 11/24 Thanksgiving Holiday; No class!      
14 Friday,


Human-Caused Global Warming

Other Human Impacts

Read Special Report, Our Changing Planet, pp 233-244

Chapter 18, pp 410-430



Quiz 17: Global Warming (Special Report and Global Warming Primer

Climate Change Modules Activity




Resources from the Sea

Chapter 17, pp 387-409

Quiz 18: Impact of Humans (All of Chapter 18)

Chapter 19: Resources from the Sea (all of Chapter 17)

Quiz 20: Chasing Coral

Film: Chasing Coral
16 Friday,



iNaturalist Final Project Presentations

FINAL EXAM covering Weeks 8-16

Project Presentation to Class