This upper division science program will blend concepts in general ecology and field ecology with the study of genetics and natural history in both freshwater and terrestrial landscapes. This program is designed for students with a strong background in biology and chemistry and will allow them opportunities to do advanced work in these areas. There will be a focus on the taxonomy and collection of snails, aquatic insects, plants, lichens, and bryophytes as well as chemical measurements of plant and fungal tissues and water samples. Field methods will cover survey techniques on land and in streams, and students will be involved in a large-scale study involving malacology and mycology (snail and lichen interactions and feeding preferences).
General ecology concepts will include diversity, symbiosis, competition, biogeography, population ecology, predator-prey dynamics, behavioral ecology, community ecology, ecosystem ecology, energy flow, nutrient cycling, conservation biology, ecological restoration, and global ecology. Students will have opportunities in the field and the laboratory to explore these concepts as applied to freshwater ecosystems, terrestrial ecosystems, and using laboratory experiments. A focus on Freshwater Ecology in streams will allow students to learn research methods in both the field and the lab. Topics covered will include water chemistry, hydrology, ecosystem processes (organic matter and nutrient dynamics), aquatic insect identification, and current threats to freshwater ecosystems.
The study of genetics will focus on genetic variation, techniques for assessing genetic diversity, ways of understanding patterns in population genetics, and the potential for linkages between genetic variation in a variety of organisms with ecological processes in forests and streams. Natural History study will focus mainly on lichens, bryophytes, and riparian plants, but will also include study of snails and aquatic insects. The students will participate in a multi-day field trip where they will be engaged in a large class research project that will integrate concepts in ecology, genetics, natural history, and freshwater ecology with the biodiversity, abundance and feeding preferences of snails.
To be successful in this program, students must have previously earned greater than 12 credits of college-level biology and greater than 9 credits of college-level chemistry.
Course Reference Numbers
biology and ecology.
$325 for an overnight field trip
Up to 16 credits of upper-division science may be earned in ecology, genetics, and taxonomy by students who successfully meet all the program learning objectives.