Spring 2013 Courses

102. Oceanography
Collin Roesler M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25 Adams-208
The fundamentals of geological, physical, chemical, and biological oceanography: tectonic evolution of the ocean basins; sedimentation as a record of ocean history; global ocean circulation, waves, and tides; chemical cycles; ocean ecosystems and productivity; and the oceans’ role in climate change. Weekly labs and fieldwork demonstrate these principles in the setting of Casco Bay and the Gulf of Maine. Students complete a field-based research project on coastal oceanography.
104. Environmental Geology and Hydrology
Gabrielle David M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25 Druckenmiller-004
An introduction to aspects of geology and hydrology that affect the environment and land use. Topics include lakes, watersheds and surface-water quality, groundwater contamination, coastal erosion, and landslides. Weekly labs and fieldwork examine local environmental problems affecting Maine’s rivers, lakes, and coast. Students complete a community-based research project on Maine water quality. Formerly Geology 100 (same as Environmental Studies 100).
205. Earth, Ocean, and Society
Emily Peterman M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Druckenmiller-020
Explores the historical, current, and future demands of society on the natural resources of the earth and the ocean. Discusses the formation and extraction of salt, gold, diamonds, rare earth elements, coal, oil, natural gas, and renewable energies (e.g., tidal, geothermal, solar, wind). Examines how policies for these resources are written and revised to reflect changing societal values. Students complete a research project that explores the intersection of natural resources and society.
206. Environmental Chemistry
Dharni Vasudevan T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Druckenmiller-004
Focuses on two key processes that influence human and wildlife exposure to potentially harmful substances—chemical speciation and transformation. Equilibrium principles as applied to acid-base, complexation, precipitation, and dissolution reactions are used to explore organic and inorganic compound speciation in natural and polluted waters; quantitative approaches are emphasized. Weekly laboratory sections are concerned with the detection and quantification of organic and inorganic compounds in air, water, and soils/sediments.
252. Marine Biogeochemistry
Michele LaVigne M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25 Druckenmiller-024
Oceanic cycles of carbon, oxygen, and nutrients play a key role in linking global climate change, marine primary productivity, and ocean acidification. Fundamental concepts of marine biogeochemistry used to assess potential consequences of future climate scenarios on chemical cycling in the ocean. Past climate transitions evaluated as potential analogs for future change using select case studies of published paleoceanographic proxy records derived from corals, ice cores, and deep-sea sediments. Weekly laboratory sections and student research projects focus on creating and interpreting new geochemical paleoclimate records from marine archives and predicting future impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on marine calcifiers.
255. Numerical Modeling of Ocean Ecosystems
Nicholas Record M 8:00 - 9:25, W 8:00 - 9:25 Druckenmiller-024
An interdisciplinary approach to ocean ecology, covering the coupling of physical and biological processes that control the distributions of species in the ocean. Using a combination of computational techniques and simplified physical and biological models, we solve problems related to plankton dynamics, dispersal of fish larvae, and the distributions of higher predators. Laboratory work focuses on the application of computer programming to solving these modeling problems.
262. Mountains to Trenches: Petrology and Process
Emily Peterman T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Druckenmiller-024
Exploration of the processes by which igneous rocks solidify from magma (e.g., volcanoes) and metamorphic rocks form in response to pressure, temperature, and chemical changes (e.g., mountain building). Interactions between the petrologic processes and tectonics are examined through a focus on the continental crust, mid-ocean ridges, and subduction zones. Learning how to write effectively is emphasized throughout the course. Laboratory work focuses on field observations, microscopic examination of thin sections, and geochemical modeling.
277. A World of Rivers
Gabrielle David T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Druckenmiller-024
Rivers connect both geologic and human history. Despite similarities in hydrology and hydraulics, river morphology is incredibly complex through time and space. This complexity explored by examining some of the largest rivers in the world including the Nile, Amazon, Ganges, Danube, Congo, and Mississippi. Controls on river forms and processes studied through the use of qualitative, quantitative, and statistical models. The variability and complexity of rivers discussed in the context of sustainable river management. Weekly laboratories reinforce understanding of river form and process and introduce students to standard hydraulic and sediment transport models.
302. Earth Climate History
Michele LaVigne T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55 Druckenmiller-024
The modern world is experiencing rapid climate warming and some parts extreme drought, which will have dramatic impacts on ecosystems and human societies. How do contemporary warming and aridity compare to past changes in climate over the last billion years? Are modern changes human-caused or part of the natural variability in the climate system? What effects did past changes have on global ecosystems and human societies? Students use environmental records from rocks, soils, ocean cores, ice cores, lake cores, fossil plants, and tree rings to assemble proxies of past changes in climate, atmospheric CO2, and disturbance to examine several issues: long-term carbon cycling and climate, major extinction events, the rise of C4 photosynthesis and the evolution of grazing mammals, orbital forcing and glacial cycles, glacial refugia and post-glacial species migrations, climate change and the rise and collapse of human civilizations, climate/overkill hypothesis of Pleistocene megafauna, climate variability, drought cycles, climate change impacts on disturbances (fire and hurricanes), and determining natural variability vs. human-caused climate change
315. Research in Mineral Science
Rachel Beane M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Druckenmiller-024
Minerals are the Earth’s building blocks and an important human resource. The study of minerals provides information on processes that occur within the Earth’s core, mantle, crust, and at its surface. At the surface, minerals interact with the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere, and are essential to understanding environmental issues. Minerals and mineral processes examined using hand-specimens, crystal structures, chemistry, and microscopy. Class projects emphasize mineral-based research.
357. The Physics of Climate
Mark Battle M 11:30 - 12:25, W 11:30 - 12:25, F 11:30 - 12:25 Searles-313
A rigorous treatment of the earth’s climate, based on physical principles. Topics include climate feedbacks, sensitivity to perturbations, and the connections between climate and radiative transfer, atmospheric composition, and large-scale circulation of the oceans and atmospheres. Anthropogenic climate change also studied.