Biology 130: Methods in Field Biology

Big Creek Reserve

Hiking in Big Creek Reserve


BIOL 130: Methods in Field Biology is a course designed to teach you the skills needed to do field work. We focus on a variety of field techniques, study design, data collection, maintenance of a field notebook, and how to be safe and comfortable in the field.

This course will prepare you to be a field assistant that can lead to internships and jobs assisting researchers in collecting data and to later conduct your own research.

Classes are primarily in the field and are a combination of lecture with most of the time dedicated to actually collecting data using various techniques in different habitats.

We work in grasslands, oak woodlands, coastal sage scrub, estuaries and salt marshes, streams, and the marine environment.

Dr. Adam Green and Dr. Jennifer Maupin have many years of field experience in numerous different countries working on insects, birds, mammals, and plants for various projects.

In addition to the instructors, we collaborate with researchers in the field to increase your exposure to researchers collecting data for ongoing studies.

Course meetings:

We will meet on Fridays, but not every Friday of the semester. These Friday meetings will largely be in the field collecting data. The Friday field labs will be from 8am-1pm and may end earlier than 1pm. Other Friday meetings will be in a classroom to discuss preparation for an upcomign weekend field trip.

One Friday lab will run past 1pm because we will be on the NOAA research vessel touring the Santa Barbara Channel collecting data.

There will be 2 weekend field trips. We will leave SBCC early Friday morning and return Sunday evening (around 7pm). These two weekends will be at a UC reserve.

  • March 15th- March 17th: Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve in Big Sur.
  • April 12th- April 14th: Hastings Natural History Reserve in Carmel Valley.


Gray Whales

Gray whales seen from Highway 1, Big Sur

Hastings Reserve

Hastings Reserve

Beach surveys

Clam surveys at Morro Strand beach

Mole crabs

Mole crabs found at Morro Strand beach during clam surveys

Monarch measurements

Measuring Monarch butterflies during counting and tagging lab.

Monarch butterflies

Monarch butterflies during counting and tagging lab.

Big Creek Reserve

Hiking at Big Creek reserve.

stream surveys

Stream surveys


Acorn woodpecker

Acorn woodpecker at Hastings reserve where they have over 40 years of behavioral and breeding data for this species.



California newt, Hastings Reserve


Wild Turkey, Hastings reserve.


camping in Big Creek

Camping among the redwoods in Big Creek Reserve, Big Sur.

Big Creek campground

Camping in the redwoods, Big Creek


Big Creek

Big Creek


Big Creek

Big Creek


Big Sur coast

Big Sur coastline