Fall 2013 Courses

  • Please note that for the 2013-14 academic year, official course numbers are now four digits. This page only shows the older three-digit course numbers. If you need to see both the old and the new numbers, consult the College Catalogue.
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  • Login to Blackboard. Instructional materials are available on a course-by-course basis.
090. Understanding Climate Change
David Carlon T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
Why is the global climate changing and how will biological systems respond? This course includes sections on climate systems and climate change, reconstructing ancient climates and past biological responses, predicting future climates and biological responses, climate policy, the energy crisis, and potential solutions. Includes a few field trips and laboratories designed to illustrate approaches to climate change science at the cellular, physiological, and ecological levels.
101. Introduction to Environmental Studies
Lawrence Simon 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 ecosystems as well as global population, climate change, energy, and sustainability.
200. Biogeochemistry: An Analysis of Global Change
Philip Camill T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
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. Lectures and three hours of laboratory or fieldwork per week.
204. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Eileen Johnson T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
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
Samuel Taylor 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.
219. Biology of Marine Organisms
Amy Johnson T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
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 four hours of laboratory or field trip per week. One weekend field trip included.
222. Introduction to Human Population
Nancy Riley T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
An introduction to the major issues in the study of population. Focuses on the social aspects of the demographic processes of fertility, mortality, and migration. Also examines population change in Western Europe historically, recent demographic changes in Third World countries, population policy, and the social and environmental causes and implications of changes in births, deaths, and migration.
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.
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.
253. Atmosphere and Ocean Dynamics
Mark Battle M 11:30 - 12:25, W 11:30 - 12:25, F 11:30 - 12:25
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.
263. International Environmental Policy
Allen Springer T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Examines the political, legal, and institutional dimension of international efforts to protect the environment. Problems discussed include transboundary and marine pollution, maintaining biodiversity, and global climate change.
265. Place-Based Education
Casey Meehan M 8:00 - 9:25, W 8:00 - 9:25
One critique of K-12 schooling is that it separates the learning happening within the school walls from the places people inhabit. Place-based education is a form of education that seeks to connect students' learning with the community and the local natural and built environment. This course explores the history, theory, and practice of place-based education with special attention given to the prospects and challenges of using this framework in formal K-12 educational settings. Instruction models tenets of place-based pedagogy to actively engage participants in learning about the course material and the community in which we reside.
274. Marine Conservation Biology
Damon Gannon W 8:00 - 9:25, F 8:00 - 9:25
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: An Exploration of Earth’s High Latitudes
Collin Roesler M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25
Compares and contrasts the tectonic evolution, geography, climate, glaciers and sea ice, ocean circulation and ocean biology of the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Emphasis on the polar regions’ role in global climate regulation and the sensitivity of these regions to climate change. In addition to scientific readings (text book chapters and journal articles), students read an array of first-hand accounts of polar exploration from the turn of the twentieth century.
303. Advanced Environmental Chemistry
David Griffith T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Every year, 300 million tons of synthetic organic chemicals enter natural waters. This seminar examines the fate of organic contaminants in aquatic environments. We will use chemical structures and properties to predict contaminant partitioning, biodegradation, and transport, and evaluate the implications for human health and aquatic ecosystems. Case studies on endocrine disrupting chemicals, oil spills, and pharmaceuticals will allow us to critically examine inherent tensions between compound-specific chemical analyses and toxicity bioassays, between studies of single-compounds and complex mixtures, and between empirical and predictive approaches.