Ocean Ecology: Boundary Ecosystems and Processes. Undergraduate (11:628:462) and graduate (16:712:522) core course co-taught with Gary Taghon.
Offered every spring semester.
The ocean represents the majority of the Earth and represents the largest biome on the planet. This course is the second of a two-course sequence on the ecology of marine ecosystems. It can be taken in sequence or alone. This course will review the processes that regulate the cellular biology and physiology that then regulates the productivity, population and community dynamics at the boundaries of the ocean –where the sea meets land. The boundaries harbor charismatic and productive ecosystems from shallow coral reefs, kelp forests, and salt marshes, to deep-sea hydrothermal vents. The distinct spatial structure provided by the boundaries shapes the way in which these ecosystems function. The course will touch on critical ecological themes such as the acquisition and transformation of energy and materials, population regulation, competition/predation dynamics, population connectivity, food webs, succession, and spatial structure.
Byrne Seminar. Biodiversity and Global Health. 11:090:101 [LINK TO SYLLABUS]
Next anticipated offering Fall 2017.
The Millennium Development Goals challenged the world to improve the conditions for millions of people around the world. We have made great strides in improving global health, including reducing under-five childhood stunting from 40% to 25%, and nearly halving childhood mortality in two decades. We are now challenging the world to continue to develop in a ‘sustainable’ manner. We will discuss and debate the role of environmental sustainability in maintaining and improving global health. Can we feed the world and prevent under nutrition without razing our forests, grasslands and coasts? Will the most sustainable cures come from the lab, the forest or the sea? We will explore the tensions and areas of potential co-benefits between biodiversity conservation and global health using examples from around the developing world.
Ecological Developmental Biology. Graduate seminar with Dr. Henry John-Alder. 16:215:599:02 [LINK TO SYLLABUS]
This seminar course will investigate the interactions between the environment and developing organisms and the subsequent consequences for medicine, ecological interactions and evolution. Outside of the lab, organisms from humans to beetles develop in a milieu where competitors, food, predators, toxins, stress, temperature, and even mechanical sheer can vary widely and influence developmental processes. Thus, both the environment and genotype can cause advantageous and detrimental phenotypes – providing the raw material upon which species interactions, disease, and natural selection act. We will use Gilbert and Epel’s book “Ecological Developmental Biology: Integrating Epigenetics, Medicine, and Evolution” as a framework for exploring how multiple disciplines come together to define a new perspective on the dynamics of phenotypic and genotypic diversity in the real world.
The Ecology and Evolution of Climate Change. Graduate (16:215:603:01) and advanced undergraduate (11:216:407:01) seminar with Dr. Malin Pinsky.
Taught every second or third year, per demand. Next anticipated offering Spring 2019.
Understanding how climate impacts life on Earth is a grand challenge that requires scaling from physics to food webs. In this course, we will read and debate primary literature to explore the cutting edge of this field and chart out future research directions.