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BIOEE 1610 Ecology and the Environment Even-numbered springs (2012) co-taught with Sunny Power; Even-numbered falls (2010, 2012), co-taught with Alex Flecker.

Ecology is the study of the relationships between organisms and their environment. Study of these relationships is essential for understanding the natural world and for solving a range of environmental problems. This class provides an introduction to physiological, population, community, ecosystem, and global ecology, covering:

  1. Major principles underlying the ways organisms interact with their physical and biological environments,
  2. How complex ecological systems function,
  3. Approaches and tools employed in ecological research,
  4. Application of ecological concepts to solve environmental problems and conserve biodiversity.

The class provides a combination of readings, lectures, discussions and writing. Ecological principles are used to explore theory and applications of major issues facing humanity in the 21st Century, including population dynamics, disease ecology, biodiversity and invasive species, global climate change, and other topics of environmental sustainability.

BIOEE 4780 Ecosystem Biology.Co-taught with Robert Howarth. Odd-year spring terms, next 2013. See here for a past syllabus.

Ecosystem ecology is the study of the cycles of energy, organic matter, and nutrients through organisms and the environment. Why are these processes important? Ultimately, they maintain life on Earth; they provide food and fresh water for humans and other animals; they are the core means to understanding environmental problems such as global warming, air pollution, invasive species, and pollution of fresh and coastal waters. In this course we provide an understanding of:

  • Fundamentals and measurements of the core processes of primary productivity, decomposition, and nutrient cycling in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems;
  • Regulation of these processes by abiotic and biotic factors, such as light, water, and nutrient supply, community structure, and disturbance;
  • Approaches for studying ecosystem processes, and key uncertainties and debates within the field; and
  • Impact on ecosystem processes from human-induced environmental change.

Throughout the course, we provide context on both current understanding and historical development of the field.

BIOEE 6680 Principles of Biogeochemistry Co-taught with Robert Howarth. Even-year spring terms, next 2012. See here for a past syllabus.

Definition of biogeochemistry: the science dealing with “biotic controls on chemistry of the environment [and] with the geochemical control of the structure and function of ecosystems” (Howarth, R. W. 1984. Biogeochemistry, 1: preface).

Graduate seminars and workshops Past seminars include readings in Nutrient Cycling and Limitation, and workshop on Terrestrial Ecosystem Models.