Skagit Valley College

Catalog Course Search Details

 Course Title:   Estuarine and Nearshore Ecology


 Department:    ENVC

 Course #:    420

 Credits:    5

 Variable:     No

 IUs:    5.5

 CIP:    030101

 EPC:    16B

 REV:    2018

 Course Description  

Provide an integrated view of the ecological processes in estuaries and nearshore environments. Special emphasis will be on the Salish Sea and the Pacific Northwest coastal environments.


Prerequisite: Admission to BASEC or Department Chair permission.

Additional Course Details

Contact Hours (based on 11 week quarter)

Lecture: 44

Lab: 22

Other: 0

Systems: 0

Clinical: 0

Intent: Distribution Requirement(s) Status:  

Vocational Preparatory Required for ATA degree  

Equivalencies At Other Institutions

Other Institution Equivalencies Table
Institution Course # Remarks

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Understand coastal and estuarine ground ecology.
  2. Quantify estuarine chemistry.
  3. Develop flow charts outlining abiotic and biotic controls of nutrient cycling.
  4. Calculate primary and secondary production in estuaries and nearshore habitats.
  5. Quantify detrital food webs in estuaries.
  6. Measure trophic parameters to understand saltmarsh functions.
  7. Measure seagrass bed components to understand how they function.
  8. Quantify tidal flat hydrology, COM, and plankton dynamics.
  9. Understand and quantify oyster reef dynamics and production by measuring plankton and detrital inputs to the reef.
  10. Quantify anthropogenic changes to estuarine and nearshore habitat types.
  11. Assess hydrological and geomorphic changes in estuarine and nearshore habitats.
  12. Assess biological changes in estuarine and nearshore habitats.

General Education Learning Values & Outcomes

Revised August 2008 and affects outlines for 2008 year 1 and later.

Course Contents

  1. Introduction to estuarine environments.
  2. Geomorphology.
  3. Physical oceanography.
  4. Estuarine chemistry.
  5. Abiotic and biotic controls on estuarine nutrient cycling.
  6. Primary production of phytoplankton and upstream subsidies.
  7. Benthic micro and macro algae.
  8. Detrital food webs.
  9. Secondary production by benthos, plankton, and nekton.
  10. Saltmarshes.
  11. Seagrass.
  12. Tidal flats.
  13. Oyster reefs.
  14. Anthropogenic changes in estuarine and nearshore habitat types.
  15. Hydrological and geomorphic changes in estuarine and nearshore habitats.
  16. Biological changes in estuarine and nearshore habitats.