AEC 295 Predicting The Future of Life
Contact: Prof. Rob Dunn
To a great extent scientists have focused their prediction on the near future. Many models of climate, the future of species and the future of cities, for example, consider what might happen in the years 2030 or 2050. Yet, much of the infrastructure we are building now, whether it is roads, policy infrastructure or social and cultural infrastructure, will last far longer. Some of our constructions may well last tens of thousands of years. We are building some of the distant future even as we focus mostly on conversations about the here and now. Fortunately, we already know quite a bit about some inescapable biological realities of the future as a consequence of the general rules of life. Through lectures, guest panels (of economists and, separately, science fiction writers), and discussions, this class considers what we can predict about the more distant future, be it 2050, 2500 or 25000. It concludes by considering the evolution of species after the extinction of humans and then, finally, at the very end, the end of the universe. This class has real world applications for thinking about how to design cities, how to imagine the future of agriculture and even the ways in which we might reimagine hospitals and homes.
AEC 400 Applied Ecology
Contact: Dr. Erin McKenney
Global climate change, over-harvesting, habitat loss, altered nutrient cycles, and the spread of invasive species are among the world’s pressing global environmental issues. Solutions to these problems are complex, but firmly rooted in the fundamental tenets of ecological theory. The field of applied ecology is premised on using these fundamental ecological principles to help solve the environmental challenges we face. This course will provide an overview of the field of applied ecology, based on a series of case studies. Working from the individual to global level, the course will provide a broad perspective on the field of applied ecology.
AEC 441/442 Biology of Fishes
Contact: Dr Ben Reading
Fishes are the largest and most diverse assemblage of vertebrates on the earth with nearly 30,000 described species. This undergraduate level course provides an overview of ichthyology including evolution, classification, and identification of fishes and a comparative examination of divergent fish behavior, physiology, and ecology. The content of the course will emphasize evolutionary relationships between fish groups and their adaptations for life in streams, lakes, and oceans. The course will be organized into three major segments: 1) taxonomy and systematics of fishes, 2) physiology and biology of fishes, and 3) ecology of fishes.
AEC 460 Field Ecology
T 8:30-9:45am R 8:30am-1:00pm
Contact: Dr. Erin McKenney
Field Ecology and Methods will expose senior students with interests in Ecology and Evolution to the diverse field approaches used to address ecological questions. The course considers and implements a variety of field approaches ranging from microcosm experiments to global studies of patterns and diversity. Course is restricted to seniors.
AEC 495 Urban Ecology
Contact: Dr. Elsa Youngsteadt
Developing design, conservation, and management strategies to serve humans and biodiversity in urban areas is an ongoing challenge. This course examines cities as unique physical environments and as social-ecological systems: How urban factors drive abundance and distribution of plants and animals, with consequences for biodiversity, ecosystem function, and human well-being. We will address the role of ecology in urban design and management, and emphasize the question of whether urban systems, and the role of humans therein, are adequately described by existing ecological theory.
AEC 495 Environmental Issues in Aquatic Ecology
Contact: Dr. JoAnn Burkholder
Expanding population growth near lakes, rivers, estuaries, and coastal oceans is increasing pollution impacts on our nation’s freshwater and marine resources. An understanding of the scientific basis of impacts from nutrient pollution, toxic chemicals, acidification, global warming, overfishing, and related stresses, and the overarching policy/political controls, is critically needed to restore and optimally manage these systems, and to protect the health of humans who depend upon them for potable water supplies and fishery resources. This course fills a gap in current curricula by providing students with a working scientific knowledge of water quality issues related to cultural solutions where applicable. The course is designed for practical use by both science and non-science majors. These are issues that all citizens need to understand; they quietly affect each of us in everyday living.
AEC 495 Management of Small Impoundments
Contact: Prof. Tom Kwak
Students will sample Lake Raleigh fishes and habitat using a variety of gears, including electrofishing, trap netting, gill netting, hoop netting, and seining. Each student will learn the tools to analyze and interpret field data and prepare a fishery assessment report. The final product for the course will be a group presentation to NC Wildlife Resources Commission biologists. The presentation will be a summary of individual fishery assessment reports by students and will include recommendations for updating the Lake Raleigh Management Plan.