Fall 2008 Courses

056. Ecology and Society
Vladimir Douhovnikoff T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Presents an overview of ecology covering basic ecological principles and the relationship between human activity and the ecosystems that support us. Examines how ecological processes, both biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living), influence the life history of individuals, populations, communities, and ecosystems. Encourages student investigation of environmental interactions and how human-influenced disturbance is shaping the environment. Required field trips illustrate the use of ecological concepts as tools for interpreting local natural history.
101. Introduction to Environmental Studies
Lawrence Simon T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
An interdisciplinary introduction to the variety of environmental problems caused by humanity and confronting us today. Provides an overview of the state of scientific knowledge about major environmental problems and potential responses of governments and people, an exploration of environmental issues, both global and regional, and an exploration of why societies often have such difficulty in reaching consensus on effective and equitable policies within existing political and economic institutions.
103. Marine Environmental Geology
Edward Laine M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25
An introduction to the aspects of marine geology and oceanography that affect the environment and marine resources. Topics include estuarine oceanography and sediments, eutrophication of coastal waters, primary productivity, waves and tides, sea level history, glacial geology of coastal Maine, and an introduction to plate tectonics. Weekly field trips and labs examine local environmental problems affecting Casco Bay and the Maine coast. A one-day weekend field excursion is required.
154. Ecology of the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy
Damon Gannon T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
The Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy system is a semi-enclosed sea bordered by three U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. It supports some of the world’s most productive fisheries and played a key role in European colonization of North America. This course will investigate how the species found in this body of water interact with each other and with the abiotic components of their environment. Topics will include natural history; geological and physical oceanography; characteristics of major habitats; biology of macroinvertebrates, fishes, seabirds, and marine mammals; biogeography; food webs; and fisheries biology. The course will also examine how human activities, such as fishing, aquaculture, shipping, and coastal development affect the ecology of the region. The course will consist of lecture, discussions of the primary literature, and field excursions.
202. Environmental Policy and Politics
DeWitt John T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
Examines alternative ways to protect our environment. Analyzes environmental policies and the regulatory regime that has developed in the United States; new approaches such as free-market environmentalism, civic environmentalism, environmental justice, sustainable development; and environmental policies and politics in other countries, especially China.
210. Plant Physiology
Barry Logan M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25
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.
218. Environmental Economics and Policy
David Vail W 8:30 - 9:25, F 8:30 - 9:25
An exploration of environmental degradation and public policy responses in industrial economies. Market failures, property rights, and materialistic values are investigated as causes of pollution and deteriorating ecosystem functions. Guidelines for equitable and cost-effective environmental policy are explored, with an emphasis on the roles and limitations of cost-benefit analysis and techniques for estimating non-monetary values. Three core themes are the transition from “command and control” to incentive-based policies; the evolution from piecemeal regulation to comprehensive “green plans” (as in the Netherlands); and the connections among air pollution, energy systems, and global warming.
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.
221. Environmental Inequality and Justice
Joe Bandy T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
This course is a critical examination of the relationships between social inequalities and environmental degradation, both in the U.S. and internationally. Through case studies and comparative literatures, we will survey a variety of topics that reveal the complex interactions between social structures of power and environment, including the distribution of environmental hazards across race and class, natural resource rights and management, urban health and sustainability, as well as energy and environmental security. Throughout the course we also will study critically the development of a broad-based environmentalism of the poor, most notably environmental justice organizations and indigenous struggles over resources, as well as their coalitions and conflicts with mainstream environmental and other social movements.
223. Geobiology
Clara Chan T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
An exploration of the interface between geological and biological processes. Focused on the mutual effects of microorganisms and Earth's land, air, and water chemistry. Topics include biomineralization, origin and evolution of life, microbial energetics and diversity, and biological contributions to weathering, soil and rock formation, and the creation and remediation of environmental problems. Laboratories will include fieldwork, experiments, and light, fluorescence and electron microscopy.
238. Natural Supernaturalism
David Collings T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Examines the Romantic attempt to blend aspects of the transcendental—such as the sublime, immortality, and divinity—with ordinary life, the forms of nature, and the resources of human consciousness. Discusses theories of the sublime, poetry of the English landscape, mountaintop experiences, tales of transfiguration, lyrics of loss, and encounters with otherworldly figures. Explores the difficulties of representing the transcendental in secular poetry and the consequences of natural supernaturalism for our own understanding of nature. Focuses on the poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge, along with writings by Milton, Burke, Kant, Percy Shelley, and Keats.
242. Development and Conservation in India
Ashish Kothari M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
This course will examine the relationship between economic development, biodiversity conservation, and people’s livelihoods as it is playing out in India. Development is having significant impacts on the environment and on rural communities, especially communities that depend on natural resources for their livelihood or where protected areas are set aside for nature. The course will address these local challenges as well as macro-economic policies and globalization.
243. Modern Architecture: 1750 to 2000
Jill Pearlman M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Examines major buildings, architects, architectural theories, and debates during the modern period, with a strong emphasis on Europe through 1900, and both the United States and Europe in the twentieth century. Central issues of concern include architecture as an important carrier of historical, social, and political meaning; changing ideas of history and progress in built form; and the varied architectural responses to industrialization. Attempts to develop students’ visual acuity and ability to interpret architectural form while exploring these and other issues. Not open to students who have credit for Environmental Studies 245.
253. Atmosphere and Ocean Dynamics
Mark Battle M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25
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.
276. Watershed Hydrology
Peter Lea M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Everyone lives in a watershed, but how do watersheds function, both naturally and increasingly as impacted by humans? Examines the movement and modification of water through the landscape, emphasizing such topics as natural and human controls of water quality, streamflow generation and surface-groundwater interactions, watershed modeling, and approaches to watershed management. Students perform an integrated investigation of a local watershed, examining natural and human controls on hydrologic processes.
283. Environmental Education
None None TH 1:00 - 3:55
Examines the role of environmental education within environmental studies while providing students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience within a local elementary school. Students read, research, analyze, discuss, and write about theoretical essays, articles, and books from the field of environmental education, in addition to theoretical material on pedagogy and lesson plans. Topics discussed include: ecological literacy, the historical roots of environmental education, globalization, sustainable education, and policy implications of environmental education. In addition, students teach at least one hour weekly. Students develop lesson plans and reflect on their experience of teaching environmental education lessons.
312. Cultures Weathering Environmental Change
Susan Kaplan M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
The earth’s environment has changed in both subtle and dramatic ways over the last 20,000 years. Some changes have resulted from natural processes, while others have been triggered by human activities. This course examines the complex relationships between cultures and environments using examples drawn from archaeological, ethnohistorical, and historical records. Why do some cultures adapt successfully to changes in marine and terrestrial conditions, shifts in resource availability, and catastrophic events, while others fail? What can we learn from these examples as we reflect on contemporary responses to environmental change? Case studies will be drawn from around the world. Students will work with archaeological, cultural, and paleoenvironmental data.
327. Global Change Ecology
Philip Camill M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25
Human activities over the last several centuries have transformed landscapes, altered biogeochemical cycles, and moved species from one continent to another. These changes have resulted in widespread species extinction and climate change. Emphasis is on the implications of ecosystem degradation, climate change, and species introductions for biodiversity and ecosystem services. Course consists of lectures and student-led discussions of current and classic primary literature.
340. Home: A History of Housing in North America, 1850-2000
Jill Pearlman M 10:00 - 11:25, W 10:00 - 11:25
Seminar. From tenements to the projects, picturesque Borderlands to standardized suburbia, and on to recent efforts at affordable and sustainable housing, this seminar explores the history of home in North American for people of all social classes. The course is based on the premise that the places we live in, whether by choice or circumstance, offer powerful statements about human values and desires, political and social ideals and practices, changing ideas of family and gender, and of private and public life.
394. The Ecology and Environmental History of Merrymeeting Bay
John Lichter W 1:00 - 4:55
Merrymeeting Bay, a globally rare, inland freshwater river delta and estuary that supports productive and diverse biological communities, is home to numerous rare and endangered species and is critical habitat for migratory and resident waterfowl, as well as anadromous fish. Explores the ecology and environmental history of Merrymeeting Bay in order to understand how its rare natural habitats might best be managed. Students participate in a thorough review of the scientific and historical literature related to Merrymeeting Bay, and help plan, conduct, and analyze a group study investigating some aspect of the ecology and/or environmental history of the bay, with the intent of submitting a manuscript for publication in an appropriate scientific journal.