Environmental Science (GEO104)
Environmental science is the interdisciplinary study of the physical, chemical, and biological systems that sustain life on our planet. In this course we will explore current environmental challenges such as the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable production of energy, and the implications of human population growth. The processes of scientific inquiry and discovery will be emphasized through investigation of specific case studies and the critical evaluation of the underlying scientific evidence.
'Big Data' in ecology and environmental science now allow us to address important questions (both old and new) with unprecedented rigor and generality. Leveraging these new data streams requires new tools and increasingly sophisticated workflows. The free and open-source R programming language has become a lingua franca for ecological, epidemiological, and statistical research. The course will use a combination of lecture and hands-on exercises to provide a gentle introduction to programming in R with a focus on spatial data processing.
Global Change Ecology (GEO446/546)
Global environmental change has significant impacts on social and ecological systems around the world. Global Change Ecology is an emerging field that aims to understand the ecological implications of environmental change (especially anthropogenic climate change) and to assess risks under future global change. The course will include lectures, discussions of important scientific articles, hands-on exercises in conducting scientific research, and a group project to investigate novel scientific questions. In this course, students will review the basics of the earth system and climate change before investigating how organisms in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems respond to climate change. Finally, we will consider the impacts of future climate change and the implications for conservation policy and adaptation management.