Ecology and Biology
The following is the preferred course for the Ecology and Biology requirement.
Ecological processes and dynamics of populations, communities, and ecosystems; physical, physiological, behavioral, and population genetic factors regulating population and community structure; case studies; field studies, and simulation models of life history attributes, competition, predation, parasitism, and mutualism. 2 credits lecture + 1 credit lab.
Additional approved options for Ecology and Biology course requirement.
Study of the physiological basis for growth, yield, and adaptation of crop plants. Topics emphasized include: carbohydrate assimilation and partitioning, nitrogen metabolism, crop growth and development, water relations, stress tolerance, and crop improvement using physiological genetics. 3 credits.
Soil and Rhizosphere Microbiology. The soil microbial population and its role in the soil ecosystem; microbial transformations of inorganic and organic compounds; decomposition of residues; and dynamics of soil organic matter. 3 credits.
A study of microbial interactions with other organisms and the environment. Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems as well as interactions between nonpathogenic microbes and plants and animals will be discussed. Offered in alternate years. 2 credits.
A field course in ecology that stresses natural history and testing ecological theory under natural conditions. Group and individual projects include observational and experimental approaches. Emphasis is on the study of plant and animal species interactions in terrestrial (including montane and coastal) and aquatic habitats. Issues in community, population, behavioral, and conservation biology are addressed. Several all-day Saturday and two weekend field trips. Offered in alternate years. 4 credits.
Energy transduction in biological membranes. 2 credits.
Weekly meetings to discuss and evaluate seminal papers in the fields of evolutionary, population, and community ecology. During the last week, students will critically evaluate a contemporary paper on a topic related to the "classic" papers discussed during the semester. Students will have a choice among papers submitted by participating faculty members; their critique will be assessed on content, originality, rigor, and clarity. 1 credit.
The objective of this course is to build a conceptual model of terrestrial ecosystems and to provide students with the state-ofthe-art mechanisms by which terrestrial ecosystems work. Topics include ecosystem concept, Earth’s climate system, geology and soils, terrestrial water and energy balance, terrestrial production processes, terrestrial decomposition, terrestrial plant nutrient use and cycling, biogeochemical pathways, and ecosystem temporal and spatial dynamics. 3 credits.
Introduction to principles, techniques and tools in vertebrate population dynamics modeling with an emphasis on utilizing mainstream software to perform population characterization and assessments. 4 credits.
Introduction to conservation biology, including population dynamics and genetic structure of rare organisms. Recovery planning, restoration ecology, environmental policy making, and sustainable developments are considered, as is ethics in conservation of biological diversity. Offered in odd-numbered years. 3 credits.
This course will cover fundamental principles of ecology as applied in urban and other coupled human-natural systems with emphasis on the impact of modern industrial society on ecosystem structure and function. The course is designed to be broadly accessible to students from a variety of backgrounds, interests, and majors who are interested in environmental science and engineering and will emphasize the importance of incorporating an ecological perspective in environmental engineering and natural resource management. Organizing themes addressed in this class include macroscale processes, systems thinking, and topics related to urban systems.
Students will learn about the latest methods to collect and analyze root and shoot exudates, quantify the composition and activity of microbes associating with plants, and determine how these associations influence plant health and productivity. Critical reviews of the primary literature and development of a research proposal will help students acquire the skills needed to conduct research on this rapidly emerging topic. Typically offered Fall. 3 credits.
The use of epidemiological methods to study the adverse effects of environmental agents on human health. Study designs, association and causation, statistical analysis, bias and confounding, modeling of exposure-response relationships, molecular epidemiology, and investigation of disease outbreaks. The emphasis of the course is on analytical studies, quantitative measures of association, and critical readings of current literature. 3 credits.
Introduction to general principles of toxicology, target organ toxicity, and safety evaluation. Covers toxicity of metals, solvents, pesticides, gases, dusts, and food additives. 3 credits.
*Students can have up to 6 credits of 300-400 level courses applied to their plan of study.