Spring 2012 Courses

102. Introduction to Oceanography
Collin Roesler T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Cleaveland-151
The fundamentals of geological, physical, chemical, and biological oceanography: tectonic evolution of the ocean basins, ocean circulation, chemical cycles, primary production and trophodynamics and the oceans’ role in climate change. Weekly labs will apply the principles in the setting of Casco Bay and the Gulf of Maine.
104. Environmental Geology and Hydrology
Gabrielle David M 11:30 - 12:25, W 11:30 - 12:25, F 11:30 - 12:25 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 field trips 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, Oceans, and Society
Emily Peterman M 8:30 - 9:25, W 8:30 - 9:25, F 8:30 - 9:25 Druckenmiller-004
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.
242. The Plate Tectonics Revolution
Emily Peterman T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Druckenmiller-110
Although only ~40 years old, the theory of plate tectonics forever changed the way we view our Earth, from static to dynamic. Plate tectonics provides a global framework to understand such varied phenomena as earthquakes, volcanoes, ocean basins and mountain systems both on continents (e.g. the Himalaya, the Andes) and beneath the seas (e.g. the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the East Pacific Rise). In-depth analysis of plate boundaries, the driving forces of plate tectonics, global plate reconstructions and the predictive
267. Coastal Oceanography
Edward Laine T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55 Kanbar Hall-101 Computer Lab
Principles and problems in coastal oceanography, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary inquiry. Topics include circulation and sediment transport within estuaries and on the continental shelf, impact of human systems on the marine environment, and issues and controversies of eutrophication and hypoxia in the coastal environment.
270. Landscapes and Global Change
Gabrielle David T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 The Hazelton Room (Kanbar 109)
The earth’s surface is marked by the interactions of the atmosphere, water and ice, biota, tectonics, and underlying rock and soil. Even familiar landscapes beget questions on how they formed, how they might change, and how they relate to patterns at both larger and smaller scales. Examines earth’s landscapes and the processes that shape them, with particular emphasis on how future changes may both influence and be influenced by humans. Topics include specific land-shaping agents (rivers, glaciers, landslides, groundwater), as well as how these agents interact with one another and with changing climate, tectonics, and human activities.
302. Earth Climate History and Its Impacts on Ecosystems and Human Civilizations
Philip Camill M 10:00 - 11:25, W 10:00 - 11:25 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. One introductory biology (with ecology or evolution focus), chemistry, or earth and oceanographic science course is required. Prior enrollment in a 200-level ecology or earth and oceanographic science course is recommended.
315. Mineral Science
Rachel Beane M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 The Hazelton Room (Kanbar 109)
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.