Oceans in Peril

The oceans cover 71% of the Earth’s surface. Certain aspects of ocean circulation, element distributions, and biological activity are changing at unprecedented rates. This course provides an introduction to basic oceanography and presents an overview of some of the key local, regional, and global scale changes occurring in the ocean. We will also discuss the potential impacts of these changes and what can be done to reverse present trends.

Offered Fall 2012

Human Impacts on Climates

This "first year seminar" presents evidence for human-induced forcing of global climate using Tim Flannery’s book “The Weather Makers” as primary text. We will dissect this book and papers from the primary scientific literature to evaluate the evidence for human-induced climate change at local and global scales. We also will discuss possible scenarios for the future climate on Earth and what people can do to minimize climate change impacts.
Offered: TBA

Living at the Edge: Microbes in Extreme Habitats

A "first year seminar." Microorganisms inhabit every imaginable niche on the Earth, including a large variety of what humans consider "Extreme Habitats." In this seminar, we will discuss the different extreme habitats found on Earth and what we know about the microbes who live there. The habitats to be described include deep ocean hydrothermal vents and cold seeps, salt lakes in the Antarctic, polar ice, terrestrial hot springs and mud volcanoes, and the deep subsurface biosphere.
Offered: TBA

Geobiology: The History of Life on Earth

A "first year seminar." Geobiology is an interdisciplinary field that studies interactions between the biosphere, lithosphere (Earth), and atmosphere. A major focus of Geobiology is to investigate the history of life on Earth and to document how life has impacted, and is impacted by, variations in the lithosphere and atmosphere. Astrobiology, the search for life on other planets, is a related field and is also discussed in this course.
Offered: TBA

Microbial Ecology

This course emphasizes the roles of microorganisms in ecosystems, including microbial physiology, nutrient cycles, methods of microbial analysis, and the functional roles of microorganisms. The course is intended for science majors, and prerequisites are required. You need permission of the instructor to register for this course if you do not have the required prerequisites!