This four credit course is taught in spring semesters. The course explores global environmental cycles, patterns, and changes. It covers elemental cycles of phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon, and pollutants such as CFCs, and how changes in these global cycles influence organisms and ecosystems. Also discussed are large-scale biotic processes and theory about ecosystem dynamics. Major ecological issues such as acid rain, eutrophication, climate change, and land use conversation are also discussed. In addition to traditional course modes of learning and engagement, students read, analyze, and critique peer-reviewed scientific literature on course topics. Students cannot get credit for both BIOL 4880 and BIOL 6880.
BIOL 4200: Biostatistics
This four credit course is taught in fall semesters. The course covers an introduction to the concepts and techniques of modern statistics. Students engage in hands-on statistical programming in the R statistical software environment to ingest, manipulate, analyze, and visualize data. Example data sets are drawn from the biological and ecological fields, including real-time data from ongoing research activities. Statistical topics covered include sampling and error, regression, analysis of variance, factor analysis, MANOVA, maximum liklihood methods, discriminant analysis, time series analysis, and forecasting. In addition to traditional forms of evaluation (e.g., homework and exams), students select a data set to independently analyze, visualize, and present to classmates on an ecological or biological topic of their choice.
BIOL 6971: Advanced Topics in Ecology and the Environment
This two credit course is taught in fall semesters. The course represents an in-depth study of current peer reviewed literature and topics in the field of ecology and the environment. Students read, analyze, evaluate, and discuss peer-reviewed papers and present and lead discussions on peer-reviewed articles. The course theme rotates each semester. Past themes have included "Classic and contemporary papers in ecology" (Fall 2020) and "Carbon cycling in aquatic ecosystems" (Fall 2021).