Fall 2011 Courses

012. Campus: Architecture and Education In the American College, 1800-2000
Jill Pearlman M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Explores the changing environment of the American college and university campus from its beginnings in colonial times to today. At once a history of the built environment—architecture, planning, and design—and of the ideals of higher education embodied in that environment, we examine a range of academic landscapes, from liberal arts colleges, to research universities and urban campuses. Focuses on developing skills in visual and textual analysis, historical research, and on understanding the Bowdoin campus.
101. Introduction to Environmental Studies
DeWitt John T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
An interdisciplinary introduction from the perspectives of the natural sciences, the social sciences, and moral philosophy to the variety of environmental problems confronting us today. Provides an overview of the state of scientific knowledge about major environmental problems, both global and regional, an analysis of the ethical problems they pose, potential responses of governments and individuals, and an exploration of both the successes and the inadequacies of environmental policy. Topics include air pollution, fisheries, and chemicals in the environment as well as global population, climate change, energy, and sustainability.
200. Biogeochemistry: An Analysis of Global Change
Philip Camill T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Understanding global change requires knowing how the biosphere, geosphere, oceans, ice, and atmosphere interact. An introduction to earth system science, emphasizing the critical interplay between the physical and living worlds. Key processes include energy flow and material cycles, soil development, primary production and decomposition, microbial ecology and nutrient transformations, and the evolution of life on geochemical cycles in deep time. Terrestrial, wetland, lake, river, estuary, and marine systems are analyzed comparatively. Applied issues are emphasized as case studies, including energy efficiency of food production, acid rain impacts on forests and aquatic systems, forest clearcutting, wetland delineation, eutrophication of coastal estuaries, ocean fertilization, and global carbon sinks.
204. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Eileen Johnson M 8:00 - 9:25, W 8:00 - 9:25
Geographical information systems (GIS) organize and store spatial information for geographical presentation and analysis. They allow rapid development of high quality maps, and enable powerful and sophisticated investigation of spatial patterns and interrelationships. Introduces concepts of cartography, database management, remote sensing, and spatial analysis. The productive use of GIS technology in the physical and social sciences, environmental management, and regional planning is investigated through a variety of applied exercises and problems culminating in a semester project that addresses a specific environmental application.
210. Plant Physiology
Barry Logan M 11:30 - 12:25, W 11:30 - 12:25, F 11:30 - 12:25
An introduction to the physiological processes that enable plants to grow under the varied conditions found in nature. General topics discussed include the acquisition, transport, and use of water and mineral nutrients, photosynthetic carbon assimilation, and the influence of environmental and hormonal signals on development and morphology. Adaptation and acclimation to extreme environments and other ecophysiological subjects are also discussed. Weekly laboratories reinforce principles discussed in lecture and expose students to modern research techniques.
215. Behavioral Ecology and Population Biology
Nathaniel Wheelwright T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Study of the behavior of animals and plants, and the interactions between organisms and their environment. Topics include population growth and structure, and the influence of competition, predation, and other factors on the behavior, abundance, and distribution of plants and animals. Laboratory sessions, field trips, and research projects emphasize concepts in ecology, evolution and behavior, research techniques, and the natural history of local plants and animals. Optional field trip to the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island.
216. Telling Environmental Stories
Anthony Walton M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Intended for students with a demonstrated interest in environmental studies, as an introduction to several modes of storytelling, which communicate ideas, historical narratives, personal experiences, and scientific and social issues in this increasingly important area of study and concern. Explores various techniques, challenges, and pleasures of storytelling, and examines some of the demands and responsibilities involved in the conveyance of different types of information with clarity and accuracy in nonfiction narrative. Engages student writing through the workshop method, and includes study of several texts, including The Control of Nature, Cadillac Desert, Living Downstream, and Field Notes from a Catastrophe
219. Biology of Marine Organisms
Amy Johnson T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
The study of the biology and ecology of marine mammals, seabirds, fish, intertidal and subtidal invertebrates, algae, and plankton. Also considers the biogeographic consequences of global and local ocean currents on the evolution and ecology of marine organisms. Laboratories, field trips, and research projects emphasize natural history, functional morphology, and ecology. Lectures and three hours of laboratory or field trip per week. One weekend field trip included.
225. Biodiversity and Conservation Science
John Lichter M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25
People rely on nature for food, materials, medicines, and recreation; yet, the fate of Earth’s biodiversity is rarely given priority among the many pressing problems facing humanity today. Explores the interactions within and among populations of plants, animals, and microorganisms, and the mechanisms by which those interactions are regulated by the physical and chemical environment. Major themes are biodiversity and the processes that maintain biodiversity, the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function, and the science underlying conservation efforts. Laboratory sessions consist of student research, local field trips, laboratory exercises, and discussions of current and classic ecological literature.
232. History of the American West
Connie Chiang T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Survey of what came to be called the Western United States from the nineteenth century to the present. Topics include Euro-American relations with Native Americans; the expansion and growth of the federal government into the West; the exploitation of natural resources; the creation of borders and national identities; race, class, and gender relations; the influence of immigration and emigration; violence and criminality; cities and suburbs; and the enduring persistence of the “frontier” myth in American culture. Students write several papers and engage in weekly discussion based upon primary and secondary documents, art, literature, and film.
240. Environmental Law and Policy
Conrad Schneider M 8:00 - 9:25, W 8:00 - 9:25
Critical examination of some of the most important American environmental laws and their application to environmental problems that affect the United States and the world. Students learn what the law currently requires and how it is administered by federal and state agencies, and are encouraged to examine the effectiveness of current law and consider alternative approaches
245. The Nature of Frank Lloyd Wright
Jill Pearlman M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
An in-depth investigation of the buildings of North America’s most celebrated architect, with emphasis on the major theme of his work—the complex relationship between architecture and nature. Examines Wright’s key projects for a diverse range of environments and regions while also placing the master builder and his works into a larger historical, cultural, and architectural context. Engages in a critical analysis of the rich historical literature that Wright has evoked in recent decades, along with the prolific writings of the architect himself. Note: This course counts toward the art history requirement for the visual arts major and minor.
253. Atmosphere and Ocean Dynamics
Mark Battle M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25
A mathematically rigorous analysis of the motions of the atmosphere and oceans on a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Covers fluid dynamics in inertial and rotating reference frames, as well as global and local energy balance, applied to the coupled ocean-atmosphere system.
274. Marine Conservation Biology
Damon Gannon W 9:00 - 10:25, F 9:00 - 10:25
Introduces key biological concepts that are essential for understanding conservation issues. Explores biodiversity in the world’s major marine ecosystems; the mechanisms of biodiversity loss at the genetic, species, and ecosystem levels; and the properties of marine systems that pose unique conservation challenges. Investigates the theory and practice of marine biodiversity conservation, focusing on the interactions among ecology, economics, and public policy. Consists of lecture/discussion, lab, field trips, guest seminars by professionals working in the field, and student-selected case studies.
285. Ecological Thought in Latin American Literature
Enrique Yepes T 6:30 - 9:25
Explores how the radical interconnectedness postulated by ecological thinking can be read in Latin American narrative, essay, film, and poetry from the 1920s to the present. Includes a review of cultural ecology as well as an overview of environmental history and activism in the region.
287. Poles Apart: A Comparison of Arctic and Antarctic Environments
Collin Roesler T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Compares and contrasts the geography, climate, glaciology and sea ice, ocean biology and exploration history of the Arctic and Antarctic regions with particular emphasis on the role of polar regions in global climate change. One weekend field trip required.
321. The Economics of Land Use, Ecosystem Services, and Biodiversity
Erik Nelson M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Seminar. Analysis of the economic forces that shape land-use patterns, the relationship between land-use patterns and ecosystem service provision and biodiversity persistence, and the economic value of ecosystem service provision. Investigates methods for increasing ecosystem service values on the landscape and the economic cost of these methods. Analysis of land-use externalities and the failure of land-use patterns to generate maximum societal net benefits; neoclassical economic theory on land-use; methods for estimating market value of land; methods of non-market valuation; efficient land-use patterns from a societal perspective; methods for finding efficient land-use patterns; and governmental and non-governmental organization land conservation programs. Permission of instructor required during add/drop for students who have credit for Economics 218 (same as Environmental Studies 218) or 228 (same as Environmental Studies 228).
394. Ecological Recovery of Maine's Coastal Ecosystems
John Lichter T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
Maine’s coastal ecosystems once supported prodigious abundances of wildlife that supported human communities for millennia before succumbing to multiple anthropogenic stresses in the mid-20th century. Today, we need to understand the most pressing ecological and social constraints limiting recovery of these once vital ecosystems to achieve sustainable ecological recovery and provision of ecosystem services. The objective of this interdisciplinary senior seminar is to better understand the biophysical and social constraints limiting ecological recovery, and to rethink the failed management policies of the past. Students participate in a thorough review of the relevant scientific and historical literature and conduct a group study investigating some aspect of the ecology and/or the environmental history of Maine’s coastal ecosystems.