Long-term Environmental Change
Geography 430/530: Spring 2017
Instructor: Prof. Dan Gavin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 110 Condon Hall, 6-5787, office hours: Thursdays 11:00-12:30, or by appointment.
Graduate teaching assistant: Ollie Gaskell, email@example.com, office hours: Wednesday 11am-12pm and Thursday 10am-11am in Columbia 246.
Course overview: Climate and the pattern of life on Earth has changed continuously for millions of years resulting in the landscapes we know today. Records of past environmental changes have been assembled from a variety of different paleoenivronmental indicators. This course focuses on the methods used for paleoenvironmental reconstruction, how Earth's climate has varied over a range of different time scales, how the biota, especially vegetation, has varied in concert with climate, and the theories that have emerged to explain those variations. Emphasis will be placed on data synthesis and use of models to help understand the mechanisms underlying change in natural systems. The main course activity will be writing of a well-researched contribution to Wikipedia.
Prerequisites: Geog 321 (Climatology) Geog 322 (Geomorphology) or Geog 323 (Biogeography)
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
Format and grading: Lectures and discussions in class. Grade is based on a mid-term and final exam, and a Wikipedia article focusing on a particular method, theme, region, or timescale involved in environmental change research, and in-class participation. Mandatory field trip to the Oregon Cascades to participate in bog coring and tree coring. The field trip will occur in May (on a Saturday, date to be determined) for weather and snow-pack considerations. Both exams, a minimum of four "reading reactions", and the Wikipedia article must be completed to receive a passing grade.
Final grade will be computed as:
Academic dishonesty policies will be enforced according to the Student Conduct Code.
Reading Reactions: In the second half of the course, you will respond to the readings by writing short responses (submitted on Canvas) prior to the lecture. A minimum of four are required. They will be graded on a 3-point scale. You will not receive written feedback. You will receive full credit if the following criteria are met. If you score less than the full amount, you did not meet one of these criteria:
Geologically young islands may have low species diversity for several reasons other than the simple reason that there has been a short period for low-probability dispersal events. Whittaker (1996) hypothesized that several factors other than dispersal, such as habitat complexity and speciation rates, change in predictable ways over the geological lifespan of an island.
The time for dispersal to occur, habitat complexity, and opportunities for speciation are all important controls of island species diversity, and all may change in predictable ways with island age (Whittaker 1996).
|Course schedule (in development, last update April 02)|