Courses

All undergraduate and graduate course offerings, current and previous, are listed below with faculty contact information.

Undergraduate Courses, Fall 2020

AEC 400 Applied Ecology

T/R 1:30-2:45pm
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 

T/R 3:00-4:15pm
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

M/W 11:45am-1:00pm
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

T/R 3:00-4:15pm
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 

TBD
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.

Graduate Courses, Spring 2020

AEC 502 Introduction to Biological Research 

W 8:30-10:20am
Instructor TBA

The course provides a philosophical background for the field of ecology, then transitions to practical aspects of the field including a focus on grant proposal development, how to read and review papers and grant proposals, and how to give a presentation at a scientific meeting. A series of outside speakers will provide a broad perspective on the resources and opportunities available for graduate students at North Carolina State University. An emphasis will be placed on peer collaboration and feedback, developing professional relationships that will be important throughout the graduate tenor of this cohort of students.

AEC 510 Machine Learning 

W 9:35-11:25am
Contact: Dr. Ben Reading

A wide range of high-throughput technologies enable us to evaluate biological systems at various levels—at the genome, epigenome, transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome. These technologies are now being used to generate data to answer an ever-increasingly diverse set of questions. The next great challenge is integrating data analysis in a systems biology approach that utilizes novel supervised machine learning methods, which accommodate heterogeneity of data, are robust to biological variation, and provide mechanistic insight. The course will not focus on detailed mathematical models, but instead on how these machine learning tools may be used to analyze biological data, in particular gene and protein expression.

AEC 592 Agricultural Chemical Risk Assessment

Online
Contact: Dr. Catherine LePrevost and Prof. Greg Cope

This blended learning course brings together on-campus and online students to learn about the risks and benefits of agricultural chemicals in relation to human and environmental health. Students will learn how to conduct and communicate human health and ecological agricultural chemical risk assessments, including hazard and exposure assessments. Course content includes emerging technologies and issues and ways to apply them in the field.   

AEC 592 Urban Ecology

M/W 11:45am-1:00pm
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 592 Environmental Issues in Aquatic Ecology

T/R 3:00-4:15pm
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 592 Management of Small Impoundments 

TBD
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.

AEC 624 Advanced Fisheries Science 

M/W 11:45am-1:00pm
Contact: Prof. Jeffrey Buckel

This is a seminar style course where students and faculty discuss readings in advanced fisheries science. Students will learn both foundational and current research in fisheries science.

Previous Courses

AEC 295 Sec 1 – Conservation on Islands

Islands make up less than 5% of all land area, yet 40% of endangered and threatened species live on islands. Worse, 80% of all extinctions have occurred on islands since the 1500’s. This course will explore different island environments, biogeography, and the cutting edge of science that is attempting to prevent further extinctions on islands.


AEC 360 – Ecology

The science of ecology, including factors which control distribution and population dynamics of organisms, structure, and function of biological communities, and energy flow and nutrient cycling in ecosystems; contrasts among the major biomes; and principles governing ecological responses to global climatic and other environmental changes.


AEC 380 – Global Water Resources

This course focuses on global issues associated with water resources, including the ways that people interact with water (how we use, degrade, conserve, and advocate for water and water rights), and how these interactions shape our lives. Offered in Summer.


AEC 400 – Applied Ecology

Global climate change, overfishing, 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, working from the individual to global level, the course will provide a broad perspective on the field of applied ecology. Offered in Fall.


AEC 420 – Intro to Fisheries Science

Role of fish in aquatic ecosystems, fish biology, fish ecology, fisheries management, and conservation. Emphasis on aquatic ecosystems and food webs, life history and ecology of important sport and commercial fishes, population and community dynamics, and theory and practice of fisheries management and conservation. Case studies from freshwater, estuarine and marine systems.


AEC 441/442 – Fish Biology and Lab

Fishes are the largest and most diverse assemblage of vertebrates on the earth with nearly 30,000 described species. This course provides an overview of ichthyology including evolution, classification, and identification of fishes and a comparative examination of divergent fish behavior, physiology, and ecology. Offered in Fall.


AEC 450 – Conservation Genetics

Conservation genetics exposes students to genetic and genomic theory and methods commonly used in conservation and management of species.


AEC 460 – Field Ecology & Methods

This course upper-class undergraduates with interests in biology to the diverse field approaches used to address ecological questions. The course considers and implements a variety of field approaches from microcosm experiments to global studies of patterns and diversity. Students will conduct both group & independent research projects. Offered in Fall.


AEC 495 Sec 4 – Marine Fisheries Ecology

This course will describe fish life histories, fisheries biological data, stock assessment approaches, management, socioeconomics, and effects of fishing on habitats. Course material will draw from a variety of sources and real-world experiences of state and federal fisheries biologists and managers. This is part of the semester at coast program at CMAST.


AEC 495 Sec 8 – Science Communication

This course is an introduction to science communication and how to present science effectively and creatively on the web and in other visual formats.


AEC 495 Sec 9 – Environmental Issues in Aquatic Ecology

This course will discuss current events affecting our freshwater and marine resources, with historical background and prognosis. Topics in this course will cover State and Federal policies and regulations, nutrient enrichment, aquatic plants and human disease, status of our fisheries and much more.