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The Health of the Biosphere (202-0-01)


Joseph S Walsh
Hogan Hall, Room 6-110A

Meeting Info

Technological Institute L251: Tues, Thurs 12:30PM - 1:50PM

Overview of class

This course studies the growth of populations and their interactions in ecological communities. Topics include: the ecological niche; projections of population growth, including the history of human growth, harvesting populations, and population viability analysis of endangered species; interactions among species, including competition, predation, and disease transmission; measuring the diversity of ecological communities; the effects of diversity on energy flow. More advanced topics will also be addressed, including the biodiversity-stability relationship, the economic values of biodiversity and ecosystem function, and the biology and management of metapopulations in fragmented habitats.

Registration Requirements

Recommended Background: MATH 220

REGULAR REGISTRATION: As a 200-level course and a gateway to the ENVR_SCI major, the majority of seats are reserved for sophomores. If you are unable to enroll, please sign up on our departmental waitlist for consideration: We do not use the Caesar waitlist for this course.

Learning Objectives

Introduce the concept of the ecological niche, and the limits on the distribution and abundance of populations. Develop the basic mathematical tools for understanding models of population growth, sustainable harvest, extinction of fragmented populations, and spread of diseases. Explore the concept of the biological community and the role of biological diversity in healthy ecosystem functioning.

Teaching Method

Two lectures per week.

Evaluation Method

Two midterms @ 20% + 25% = 45%; four problem sets @ 10% each = 40%; in-class activities = 15%

Class Materials (Required)

Ecology / Michael Cain, William Bowman, Sally Hacker / ISBN 9781605353050 / 2013 / 3rd ed / Sinauer Assoc. / All editions of the textbook are equally acceptable. ($98 new, $88 new rental, $20 used rental)

Class Attributes

Natural Sciences Distro Area
See Class Details for Important Registration Info

Enrollment Requirements

Enrollment Requirements: Pre-requisite: Students must have completed at least three units of Math, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, Environmental Sciences, Earth & Planetary Sciences, or Biological Sciences.