Location: Bowdoin / Environmental Studies / Courses / Spring 2013

Environmental Studies

Spring 2013

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056. Ecology and Society
Vladimir Douhovnikoff T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25 Druckenmiller-020
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.

102. Oceanography
Collin Roesler M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25 Adams-208
The fundamentals of geological, physical, chemical, and biological oceanography: tectonic evolution of the ocean basins; sedimentation as a record of ocean history; global ocean circulation, waves, and tides; chemical cycles; ocean ecosystems and productivity; and the oceans’ role in climate change. Weekly labs and fieldwork demonstrate these principles in the setting of Casco Bay and the Gulf of Maine. Students complete a field-based research project on coastal oceanography.

104. Environmental Geology and Hydrology
Gabrielle David M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25 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 fieldwork 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).

201. Perspectives in Environmental Science
John Lichter T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Druckenmiller-020
Functioning of the earth system is defined by the complex and fascinating interaction of processes within and between four principal spheres: land, air, water, and life. Leverages key principles of environmental chemistry and ecology to unravel the intricate connectedness of natural phenomena and ecosystem function. Fundamental biological and chemical concepts are used to understand the science behind the environmental dilemmas facing societies as a consequence of human activities. Laboratory sessions consist of local field trips, laboratory experiments, group research, case study exercises, and discussions of current and classic scientific literature.

203. Environment and Culture in North American History
Tom Okie M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25 Searles-217
Explores relationships between ideas of nature, human transformations of the environment, and the effect of the physical environment upon humans through time in North America. Topics include the “Columbian exchange” and colonialism; links between ecological change and race, class, and gender relations; the role of science and technology; literary and artistic perspectives of “nature”; agriculture, industrialization, and urbanization; and the rise of modern environmentalism.

205. Earth, Ocean, and Society
Emily Peterman M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Druckenmiller-020
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.

211. Environmental Chemistry
Dharni Vasudevan T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Druckenmiller-004
Focuses on two key processes that influence human and wildlife exposure to potentially harmful substances—chemical speciation and transformation. Equilibrium principles as applied to acid-base, complexation, precipitation, and dissolution reactions are used to explore organic and inorganic compound speciation in natural and polluted waters; quantitative approaches are emphasized. Weekly laboratory sections are concerned with the detection and quantification of organic and inorganic compounds in air, water, and soils/sediments.

228. Natural Resource Economics and Policy
Guillermo Herrera M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Searles-315
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.

234. Tractors, Chainsaws, Windmills, and Cul-de-Sacs: Natural Resource-based Development in Our Backyard
Shaun Golding T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Adams-406
Conflict around land use, conservation, planning, and development is pervasive. Introduces the central civic, economic, and institutional actors engaged in debates around resource-dependent development. Examines how human interactions shape the environment within the structures of the state, the economy, and community, and in response to changes brought about by globalization. Considers the areas of human health, environmental conservation, community economic vitality, and identity, and is built around the cases of agriculture, energy, and sprawl, placing particular emphasis on examples from Maine and New England.

239. Loves of the Plants: Botany and Desire in the Eighteenth Century
Terri Nickel M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Banister-106
Invasive foreigners, licentious women, polygamous tribes, hermaphrodites—these were some of the personae eighteenth-century men and women imagined in their encounters with plants. Explores how the introduction of new flora collected through global exploration and Linnaeus’s invention of sexual taxonomy reshaped eighteenth-century aesthetic practices, including poetry, fiction, art, and garden design. Traces how writers of the era mapped cultural ideas about nationality, sex, and gender onto the natural world. Authors may include Marvell, Addison, Pope, Cowper, Colman, Garrick, Erasmus Darwin, Shenstone, Delany, Hannah More, Sarah Scott, Walpole, and Austen. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.

243. Modern Architecture: 1750 to 2000
Jill Pearlman M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25 Adams-208
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.

248. Italians at Sea: Exploration, Love, and Disaster from the Mediterranean to the Seven Seas
Jonathan Combs Schilling M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Sills-109
The sea has always served as a venue for human daring and a reservoir for tales of the human condition. From shipwrecks to melting icecaps, it is also a potent symbol of the precariousness of our existence. Italy’s cultural production serves as a case study through which to explore the seascape in its many forms: a horizon of desire, a space for cross-cultural encounters, a reflection of our stewardship of the “blue planet.” Topics include fictional and real accounts, through various media, of the Mediterranean and its inhabitants from antiquity to the present (the merchants of Boccaccio, the monsters of Ariosto, the haunting shores of Montale), Italian navigators such as Marco Polo and Columbus, and issues of colonialism, immigration, and environmental degradation.

251. Marine Biogeochemistry
Michele LaVigne M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25 Druckenmiller-024
Oceanic cycles of carbon, oxygen, and nutrients play a key role in linking global climate change, marine primary productivity, and ocean acidification. Fundamental concepts of marine biogeochemistry used to assess potential consequences of future climate scenarios on chemical cycling in the ocean. Past climate transitions evaluated as potential analogs for future change using select case studies of published paleoceanographic proxy records derived from corals, ice cores, and deep-sea sediments. Weekly laboratory sections and student research projects focus on creating and interpreting new geochemical paleoclimate records from marine archives and predicting future impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on marine calcifiers.

258. Environmental Ethics
Lawrence Simon M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Pols House-Conf Room
What things in nature have moral standing? What are our obligations to them? How should we resolve conflicts among our obligations? After an introduction to ethical theory, topics include anthropocentrism, the moral status of nonhuman sentient beings and of non-sentient living beings, preservation of endangered species and the wilderness, holism versus individualism, the land ethic, and deep ecology.

264. Sustainability, Energy, and Climate Change
DeWitt John M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Sills-117
Global efforts to address climate change have made little progress, and there is strong resistance to federal action in the United States. Why? What approaches might work better? Many environmentalists call for fundamental economic and cultural change, but others are working with corporations on “sustainability,” and some favor “bottom-up” community action. Explores whether new approaches might be more effective for specific issues such as cars and “smart cities”; coal, shale gas, and renewable fuels; energy-efficient buildings; food; and individual understanding of and commitment to protecting the environment.

269. Environmental Security
Marc Scarcelli T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Sills-109
Focuses on problems which, by their very nature, transcend international boundaries. Views environmental insecurity as resulting from neo-Malthusian causes, climate change, flawed policies, or new technological advances. Emphasizes interdependence, collective goods, and the contrasts between wealthy and poor populations where environmental insecurity is concerned. Specific topics include overpopulation, displaced populations, health pandemics, food security, climate change, energy, resource scarcity, water security, and collapsing fish stocks at sea, as well as the roles of consumers, producers, MNCs, and NGOs.

272. Contemporary Arctic Environmental and Cultural Issues
Susan Kaplan M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Sills-207
Throughout the Arctic, northern peoples face major environmental changes and cultural and economic challenges. Landscapes, icescapes, and seascapes on which communities rely are being transformed, and arctic plants and animals are being affected. Many indigenous groups see these dramatic changes as endangering their health and cultural way of life. Others see a warming Arctic as an opportunity for industrial development. Addressing contemporary issues that concern northern peoples in general and Inuit in particular involves understanding connections between leadership, global environment change, human rights, indigenous cultures, and foreign policies, and being able to work on both a global and local level.

273. Drawing on Science
Barbara Putnam T 9:00 - 11:25, TH 9:00 - 11:25 Burnett House-Printmaking Shop
An introduction to relief printmaking, with particular emphasis on observation of the natural world. Course assignments develop new approaches to generating ideas by working directly onto the block, exploring textural possibilities to create depth and surface, and exploring the print's potential to create tessellated patterns. Readings in historical nature writing, poetry, art historical references, and contemporary environmental articles and essays provide a background for studio work. Field trips will make use of the Arctic Museum and the Coastal Studies Center.

277. A World of Rivers
Gabrielle David T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Druckenmiller-024
Rivers connect both geologic and human history. Despite similarities in hydrology and hydraulics, river morphology is incredibly complex through time and space. This complexity explored by examining some of the largest rivers in the world including the Nile, Amazon, Ganges, Danube, Congo, and Mississippi. Controls on river forms and processes studied through the use of qualitative, quantitative, and statistical models. The variability and complexity of rivers discussed in the context of sustainable river management. Weekly laboratories reinforce understanding of river form and process and introduce students to standard hydraulic and sediment transport models.

280. Plant Responses to the Environment
Samuel Taylor M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Hatch Library-210
Plants can be found growing under remarkably stressful conditions. Even your own backyard poses challenges to plant growth and reproduction. Survival is possible only because of a diverse suite of elegant physiological and morphological adaptations. The physiological ecology of plants from extreme habitats (e.g., tundra, desert, hypersaline) is discussed, along with the responses of plants to environmental factors such as light and temperature. Readings from the primary literature facilitate class discussion. Excursions into the field and laboratory exercises complement class material.

302. Earth Climate History
Michele LaVigne T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55 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

304. Place in American History
Tom Okie M 10:00 - 11:25, W 10:00 - 11:25 HL-311 (third floor)
Research seminar. Examines the theme of place in nineteenth and twentieth century U.S. history, with special emphasis on the U.S. South. Investigates place as a set of physical and biological characteristics, as a product of the interaction between humans and the environment, and as a social and cultural construct. Also attends to the challenge of writing history with place as a central character. Students write a major research paper based on primary sources.

328. Advanced Topics in Modeling
Mary Zeeman T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Searles-213
Development, analysis and simulation of mathematical models. Application topics drawn from a variety of disciplines such as biology, environmental sciences, earth and oceanographic sciences, climate and sustainability. Analysis topics include oscillation, chaos, bistability, bifurcation, perturbation, resilience and their consequences for prediction. Three hours of class meetings and 1.5 hours of computer laboratory sessions per week. Not open to students who have credit for Mathematics 304.

357. The Physics of Climate
Mark Battle M 11:30 - 12:25, W 11:30 - 12:25, F 11:30 - 12:25 Searles-313
A rigorous treatment of the earth’s climate, based on physical principles. Topics include climate feedbacks, sensitivity to perturbations, and the connections between climate and radiative transfer, atmospheric composition, and large-scale circulation of the oceans and atmospheres. Anthropogenic climate change also studied.

363. Advanced Seminar in International Relations: Law, Politics, and the Search for Justice
Allen Springer T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Hubbard-22
Examines the complex relationship between law and policy in international relations by focusing on two important and rapidly developing areas of international concern: environmental protection and humanitarian rights. Fulfills the environmental studies senior seminar requirement.

391. Troubled Waters: Fishing in the Gulf of Maine
Anne Hayden T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55 Adams-103
Around the world and in the Gulf of Maine, overfishing, threats to habitat, and climate change are putting marine ecosystems and coastal communities under great stress. An interdisciplinary senior seminar draws on oceanography, ecology, history, economics, anthropology, and political science to explore the causes and scope of pressures on the marine environment; the potential for restoring ecosystems, fisheries, and coastal economies; political conflicts over fisheries and related issues; federal, state, and community-based approaches to managing marine ecosystems; and strategies for coping with scientific and management uncertainties.

398. The City since 1960
Jill Pearlman M 10:00 - 11:25, W 10:00 - 11:25 Adams-114
Seminar. Explores the history of the North American city from the end of urban renewal to the age of climate change. Focused thematically, topics include the fall of the postwar city and the rise of urban complexity; gentrification and its effects; changing ideals of historic preservation; monuments and sites of memory; urban disasters and their aftermaths; and the brief history of the sustainable city. Culminates in an original research paper, based on primary and secondary source materials.