Location: Bowdoin / Environmental Studies / Courses / Fall 2009

Environmental Studies

Fall 2009

015. Frontier Crossings: The Western Experience in American History
Matthew Klingle M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Adams-103
What accounts for the persistence of the “frontier myth” in American history, and why do Americans continue to find the idea so attractive? Explores the creation of and disputes over what became of the western United States from 1763 to the present. Topics include Euro-American relations with Native Americans; the creation of borders and national identities; the effect of nature and ideology; the role of labor and gender in the backcountry; and the enduring influence of frontier imagery in popular culture.

101. Introduction to Environmental Studies
Lawrence Simon T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Searles-315
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.

102. Introduction to Oceanography
Collin Roesler M 8:30 - 9:25, W 8:30 - 9:25, F 8:30 - 9:25 Druckenmiller-004
The fundamentals of geological, physical, chemical, and biological oceanography: tectonic evolution of the ocean basins, thermohaline and wind-driven circulation, chemical cycles, primary production and trophodynamics with emphasis on oceans' role in climate change. Weekly labs will apply the principles in the setting of Casco Bay and the Gulf of Maine.

204. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Eileen Johnson T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Kanbar Hall-101 Computer Lab
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.

206. Biodiversity Conservation and Management in Africa
Evans Mwangi M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Adams-406
An examination of the biodiversity crisis facing Africa and methods for slowing down or reversing the rapid loss of species and ecosystems that Africa is experiencing. Explores the social, cultural, historical, economic and political contexts of the relationship between African peoples and the continent’s living natural resources, as well as the past, present, and future of biodiversity.

210. Plant Physiology
Barry Logan M 11:30 - 12:25, W 11:30 - 12:25, F 11:30 - 12:25 Sills-111
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.

216. Telling Environmental Stories
Anthony Walton M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Searles-116
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 Druckenmiller-016
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. Community, Ecosystem, and Global Change Ecology
John Lichter M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25 Druckenmiller-004
Community ecology is the study of dynamic patterns in the distribution and abundance of organisms. Ecosystem ecology is the study of the flow of energy and cycling of matter through ecological communities. Global change ecology examines how human activities alter communities and ecosystems and how these changes play out at the global scale. Topics include the creation and maintenance of biodiversity, the complexity of species interactions in food webs, the role of disturbance in ecological processes, the importance of biodiversity in ecosystem processes, and human influences on global biogeochemical cycles and climate change. Laboratory sessions consist of local field trips, team research exercises, and independent field research projects. Current and classic scientific literature is discussed weekly.

228. Natural Resource Economics and Policy
Guillermo Herrera T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Searles-223
A study of the economic issues surrounding the existence and use of renewable natural resources (e.g., forestry/land use, fisheries, water, ecosystems, and the effectiveness of antibiotics) and exhaustible resources (such as minerals, fossil fuels, and old growth forest). A basic framework is first developed for determining economically efficient use of resources over time, then extended to consider objectives other than efficiency, as well as the distinguishing biological, ecological, physical, political, and social attributes of each resource. Uncertainty, common property, and various regulatory instruments are discussed, as well as alternatives to government intervention and/or privatization.

231. Native Peoples and Cultures of Arctic America
Susan Kaplan M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25 Adams-406
For thousands of years, Inuit, Native American Indian, and Aleut peoples lived in the Arctic regions of North America as hunters, gatherers, and fishermen, harvesting resources from the sea, rivers, and land. Examines the characteristics of Arctic ecosystems and how they are being affected by climate change. Explores the social, economic, political, and religious lives of various Arctic-dwelling peoples in an effort to understand how people have adapted to this dynamic environment and to contact with various Western groups.

240. Environmental Law
Conrad Schneider M 8:00 - 9:25, W 8:00 - 9:25 Adams-406
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.

274. Marine Conservation Biology
Damon Gannon F 8:30 - 5:25 Druckenmiller-024
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.

276. Watershed Hydrology
Peter Lea M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Druckenmiller-210
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.

287. Poles Apart: A comparison of Arctic and Antarctic Environments
Collin Roesler M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25 Druckenmiller-110
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.

301. Environmental Studies Capstone Project
Philip Camill T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55 CT-16 Harrison McCann
Structured around a semester-long project, providing students with a hands-on, capstone experience that applies prior coursework in the Environmental Studies major. Students work as a collaborative team to explore one issue and to develop a report/project useful to the community. The final project will be a culmination of student-led discussions, readings, meetings with stakeholders, field trips, original research and design, and data analysis. Potential issues to be examined may include carbon neutrality and campus sustainability at Bowdoin, climate change in Maine, conservation, land use, energy, community and urban design, public health, environmental justice, and transportation. Consult the Environmental Studies Program Web site for course topics offered each year. Current or prior enrollment in Environmental Studies 201, 202, or 203 is recommended. May be repeated for credit.

305. Environmental Fate of Organic Chemicals
Dharanija Vasudevan T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 Searles-313
More than 100,000 synthetic chemicals are currently in daily use. In order to determine the risk posed to humans and ecosystems, we need to understand and anticipate the extent and routes of chemical exposure. Addresses the fate of organic chemicals following their intentional or unintentional release into the environment. Why do these chemicals either persist or break down, and how are they distributed between surface water, ground water, soil, sediments, biota, and air? Analysis of chemical structure is used to gain insight into molecular interactions that determine the various chemical transfer and transformation processes, while emphasizing the quantitative description of these processes.

394. The Ecology and Environmental History of Merrymeeting Bay
John Lichter TH 1:00 - 2:25 Druckenmiller-110
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.

395. Advanced Seminar in Environmental Policy and Politics
DeWitt John T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 Adams-103
Examines a complex current environmental issue in depth. Explores the underlying social, economic, scientific, and cultural dimensions of the issue; reviews how this and related issues have been addressed so far by state and local governments as well as by the federal government; analyzes current policy-making efforts; and suggests lessons from this policy area about the capacity of public institutions to deal effectively with complex issues. Equal attention given to the substance of public policy, the political process, and implementation of past and proposed policies. Focuses primarily on the United States but will consider experiences in other nations as points of comparison and also any relevant international dimensions of the issue.