Environmental Analysis

Winter 2021
Spring 2021
Class Size: 50
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Robin Bond
analytical chemistry
Carri LeRoy
freshwater ecology, quantitative biology, environmental education

Overview: Well-designed and accurate chemical and environmental measurements are key to assessing the function of natural ecosystems. This field- and laboratory-intensive program is designed for students with solid preparations in general biology, general chemistry, and precalculus who want to pursue more advanced work. Students will study analytical chemistry, freshwater ecology, aqueous geochemistry, statistics, and scientific writing.

Aquatic Ecology: In winter quarter, students will learn hydrological and freshwater ecology methods and collect samples from streams and rivers for analysis (e.g., freshwaters, leaves, algae, macroinvertebrates, microbes). Field work will be completed in the five watersheds on the Evergreen campus reserve, but also from day trips to regional river systems of interest. Laboratory activities will focus on prepping samples for analytical chemistry analysis,  gravimetric analysis, DNA extraction, and on the fine-scale identification of aquatic organisms. 

Statistics: Students will gain a solid foundation in applied statistical methods, going from summary statistics to hypothesis testing to more advanced statistical techniques that apply to ecological data. Statistical concepts will be reinforced in weekly computer labs using statistical programs and analyzing real-world data collected in the field and laboratory. In spring quarter, students will gain understanding of experimental design and learn advanced statistical methods. 

Analytical Chemistry and Aqueous Geochemistry: A major focus of the winter quarter will be water quality and chemical analysis of freshwaters. Concepts relating to equilibrium and electrochemistry will be explored deeply and applied to both laboratory methods (e.g. activity and titrations) as well as the natural world (e.g. biogeochemical cycling and speciation).Field excursions will collect samples from the Evergreen watersheds or from local lakes. In lab, students will use standard methods for water testing on samples collected in the field.  Students will have the opportunity to train on either the ion chromatograph (IC) or inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) while learning to create their own QA/QC procedures and studying major and trace anion and cation concentrations in freshwaters.

Independent Research Projects: In spring quarter, students will be involved in intensive small-group research projects building on skills developed in the winter. Students will research topics in the primary scientific literature, develop robust group research projects, collect and analyze samples, analyze and interpret data, write scientific papers, and summarize and share findings in a scientific conference format. In spring quarter, there will be an opportunity for students to either: 1) learn about emerging drone technology and its use in environmental analysis, or 2) learn additional instrumentation methods. All students will also be given opportunities in professional development through workshops and training.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

Chemistry, biology, environmental science, and ecology.


Credits per quarter


One year of college-level general chemistry, one year of college-level general biology, and pre-calculus are required prior to enrolling in this program.

Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Upper division science credit:

Upper division credit in winter quarter will be awarded in Analytical Chemistry, Aqueous Geochemistry, Aquatic Ecology, and Applied Statistics. Upper division credit in winter quarter will be awarded in Experimental Design and Advanced Statistics, Scientific Writing, and Advanced Techniques. Upper division credit will be awarded for spring quarter project work dependent on successful completion group research projects, scientific writing, and appropriate analysis of data.

Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 50

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - 9:00 am
SEM 2 C1107 - Workshop

Located in: Olympia

2020-02-19This program is now winter and spring quarters only (was fall-winter-spring)