BIO 109 Online Home
Lab Manual
Natural History Event Species List



SPRING 2016 (CRN 22444)

Although lectures are online, you have to attend class two days for labs, and you have to come to the West Campus Testing Center (or other Campus Testing Center with permission) to take the Exams and Identification Tests (see schedule for dates). Implementing the PCC attendance policy will also require you to submit a minute quiz on or before Wednesday of each week.

Instructor Information

Dr. Brad Fiero
Dept. of Biology, West Campus (2202 W Anklam Rd.)
Pima Community College, Tucson, Arizona 85709-0270
Office: Tortolita E-207, (520) 206-6897
Office Hours: MW 9:30 - 11:00 am & TTh 12:00 - 1:00 pm. Also by appointment.
Home Page Website:
Fax: (520) 206-6902; E-mail: (do not use D2L email)

Please always include your name and "Bio109" in the subject line of all email sent to me.
I always try to respond to your email within two business days (usually much sooner). If you do not hear from me within two business days, please contact me to find out what happened.

Course Information

Syllabus | Schedule |
D2L (under Content) or MyPima (under Files) for Powerpoints (your "textbook"): please download files and open using PowerPoint or PowerPoint Viewer for links to work
Minute Quizzes: due by Wednesday each week

Self-Quizzes (practice for Exams and ID Tests)
Species List (for Identification Tests)
Lab Manual (bring to lab days)
Natural History Event (optional extra credit)
Your Grades (available on D2L)

Online Orientation | What to Expect
Exam & ID Test Info
Fail-Safe Study Technique

PowerPoint Info
Website: Desert Ecol. of Tucson AZ for 109

Free Tutoring by Bruce Thoms, staff instructor, for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Mondays through Wednesdays, 12-5 pm, in Tortolita (E bldg) at tables outside of E242 and E243.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Please only email me using (do not use my d2l email). Here is how to get Microsoft Office 365 for students for free.


Additional Syllabus Materials (subject to change)

Course Description: Study of the common plants and animals of the southwest. Includes their distribution, adaptation, behavior and ecology. Also includes physical geography and geological principles of the region.

Student Learning Outcomes: Students will:

  1. Apply basic geological principles to interpret the physical setting of the Southwest.
  2. Apply meteorological and biological principles to describe the formation of the major biotic communities in the Southwest.
  3. Describe major desert adaptations and the process of natural selection.
  4. Identify common plants and animals of the Southwest.
  5. Integrate basic biological principles and specific natural history information into an understanding of the common plants and animals of the Southwest.
  6. Demonstrate skills necessary for life-long learning of natural history, including conducting scientific research.
  • Website: Everything you need for the class is available from here and from MyPima, including lectures (in the form of powerpoint presentations, study guides in the form of self-quizzes, lab manual, identification guides in the form of links from a species list, and project information.
  • A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert by Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (optional: not needed for class, but does overlap with the class and can serve as a good reference after the class)
  • Note: you do NOT need the lecture/lab packet they sell in the bookstore (that is for my traditional section of the class).

Grade Determination: Based on percentage of total accumulated points from both lecture and lab. Use D2L to see your grades.

Graded Assignments
Exams 400 pts (best 4 of 5 @ 100 pts)
Identification Tests 200 pts (best 4 of 5 @ 50 pts)
Labs 260 pts
Minute Quizzes 140 pts
Natural History Event 40 pts extra credit
TOTAL 1000 points
* I will drop the lowest exam and identification test score at the end of the semester to determine final grades (see Exam Info).
Final Grade
A =
90 - 100%
900 - 1000 points
B =
80 - 89%
800 - 899 points
C =
70 - 79%
700 - 799 points
D =
60 - 69%
600 - 666 points
F =
00 - 59%
000 - 599 points

I want this course to be interesting, applicable, and challenging for you. I hope each of you is successful in this class. Please feel free to contact me if you if I can help you in your progress toward success. But learning is something you do and requires active participation and effort. The outcome I hope to achieve is that each of you will become more aware of and better understand the geological features, plants, and animals that you are liable to encounter here in the desert southwest. I want you to better understand science and learn natural history information on this unique region for use throughout your life.

Laboratory assignments should be done during the two scheduled lab days. If you cannot make both lab days, then I recommend coming to at least lab day 1 when the harder labs are conducted. All laboratory assignments must be completed and in my hands no later than April 20. For more information on the laboratory assignments, go to the lab manual.


OBJECTIVES: For you to have an experience of your choosing to learn natural history outside of class. The Natural History Event report must be completed and in my hands no later than April 20. For more information go to the Natural History Event page.

Minute quizzes must be turned in each week starting on Saturday but no later than by Wednesday (and are not accepted late). Failure to submit a Minute Quiz may result in financial consequences because Minute Quizzes are used to assess weekly class participation (each week I must enter into the computer whether you participated or not). Therefore, failure to submit a quiz may result in you being flagged as "RN" (registered but not attending) by PCC.

In D2L, Click on Quizzes, and then click on the appropriate minute quiz.

If you have trouble using the quiz in D2L, then send a list of what you did for the class during the previous 7 days to me by email (