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Although water covers 75% of the Earth’s surface, less than 3% of that is freshwater. As global environmental problems such as climate change, deforestation, urbanization, and intensification of agriculture threaten our scarce freshwater resources, it has become increasingly important to understand the functioning of our lakes, rivers, and wetlands to inform management and policy decisions.
This class will explore the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of inland waters, with a particular focus on lakes as our model ecosystems. In addition, we will discuss the use of paleolimnology as a tool to determine the impacts that human activity and alteration of the landscape are having on lakes. The course will include one Saturday field trip to a local lake for students to get hands-on experience with limnological field methods. Samples collected during the field trip will be analyzed throughout the quarter during a regular laboratory component, which will include water chemistry analysis, microscopy, and environmental data analysis. Although the primary focus of this course will be on lake ecosystems, the course provides a solid foundation of knowledge, field techniques, and lab techniques that apply to all freshwater aquatic ecosystems. Seminar portions of the class will rely on a limnology text as well as the primary literature.
Joy Ramstack Hobbs
M.S., Lehigh University, (Geological Sciences), 2000
B.A., Hartwick College, (Biology), 1996
Joy Ramstack Hobbs is an aquatic ecologist whose research interests revolve around using lake sediments to determine the environmental history of lakes and their watersheds. She also has a strong interest in science education and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in primary research as well as career development.
Many of her research projects involve diatoms, which are single-celled, microscopic algae that are found in nearly every lake and stream around the world. They form a cell wall made of biologically produced glass, which preserves well in lake-bottom sediments, and different species can be identified by the unique pattern of this glass cell wall. Diatoms are sensitive to changes in their aquatic environment, and the community composition of diatoms in the sediments can tell us about past conditions in a lake or stream.
Credits per quarter
- Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
Class Size: 18
Scheduled for: Evening
Final schedule and room assignments:
First meeting:Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - 6:00 pm
Located in: Olympia