ECOL 592 Interdisciplinary Seminar

Future Offerings

Dispersal and Population Connectivity

Colleen Webb

Description:Understanding the patterns of larval dispersal is a major goal of 21st century ecology. These patterns determine the probability of gene flow, or connectivity, among populations. Population connectivity, in turn, has major consequences for all aspects of an organism's biology, from individual behavior to metapopulation dynamics and from evolution within metapopulations to the origin and extinction of species. Further, understanding patterns of dispersal is critical for conservation (e.g. the design of effective networks of reserves) and management (e.g. the development of sustainable harvest). The objective of this course is to better understand dispersal and population connectivity and their implications for ecology, evolution and conservation. We will focus on both terrestrial and marine systems in order to better abstract important concepts of dispersal and connectivity. The seminar will use a discussion format (approximately two papers per week: one terrestrial and one marine), and grading will be based on weekly participation.

Credits: 1
Restrictions:
First Meeting: 1/17/2017
Meeting Times: Thursdays from 1 - 2 pm
Classroom: TBD
CRN: 10362
Section Number: 1
Cross Listed:
Enrollment Limit: 20
Background:
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Colleen Webb colleen.webb@colostate.edu 491-4289

The Ecology of Drought: A distributed graduate seminar

Melinda Smith, Alan Knapp

Description:Global climate models forecast a future characterized by more increased precipitation variability, including extended dry periods and more frequent periods of extreme drought. Indeed, recent precipitation trends indicate such events are already occurring more frequently than in the recent past. This Distributed Graduate Seminar (DGS) is a product of Drought-Net, a National Science Foundation-funded Research Coordination Network aimed at assessing terrestrial ecosystem sensitivity to drought (www.drought-net.org). The overarching goal of Drought-Net is to comprehensively and comparatively assess the sensitivity of a broad range of terrestrial ecosystems to drought. This DGS will occur at the following institutions (ASU, UNM, CSU, and potentially others). We will hold weekly one hour-long lectures and demonstrations via teleconference focusing on the ecology of drought and drought experiments. Presentations will be recorded so they can be viewed during convenient times depending on the institutions involved. Instructors will answer question submitted via email and these responses will be copied to the entire group of participants. In addition, each local institution is encouraged to also participate in the development of a database of drought-related experimental results that we can use in an cross-institution synthesis activity planned during the semester and that will include a meeting of a subset of participants from each participating institution toward the end of the semester.

Credits: 1
Restrictions:
First Meeting: 1/17/2017
Meeting Times: TBD
Classroom:
CRN: 10363
Section Number: 2
Cross Listed:
Enrollment Limit: 10
Background:
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Melinda Smith melinda.smith@colostate.edu 1-7155
      Alan Knapp alan.knapp@colostate.edu 1-7010

Exchange of N2O between soils and the atmosphere: patterns, processes and analytical tools

Joe von Fischer, Emily Stuchiner

Description:Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. N2O receives considerably less scientific and public attention than CO2, in part because it has a smaller climate impact than CO2, but also because the processes leading to N2O emissions are considerably more complex and therefore difficult to predict. This seminar will examine the factors that regulate N2O emission rates, and the tools that have been used to study N2O fluxes. The primary approach will be from an ecosystem perspective, with dives into details of the microbial processes and zoom out to the global budget. Class will assume a basic understanding of the nitrogen cycle. Class will primarily entail group discussions of papers. We will select weekly readings that address the factors that influence N2O production over a variety of spatial and temporal scales. We aim to tailor this course to student interests, but there are several key objectives we hope to fulfill throughout the semester: 1. Gain familiarity with the methods used to measure N2O. 2. Develop a mechanistic understanding of the nitrogen cycle and the particular microbial processes that contribute to N2O flux. 3. Compile a library (eg. a Mendeley folder) of papers on this topic that span a broad array of ecosystems, spatial and temporal scales, and methodologies. 4. Develop a professional network with guest speakers and lecturers who are experts in this field (in-person and/or over Skype). This class will meet once weekly and the meeting time will be determined based on registered students' availability. Note: meeting time options are limited to the conventional� work week (Monday-Friday 9 AM to 5 PM), and if no meeting time works for everyone a time will be selected that maximizes participation.

Credits: 1
Restrictions:
First Meeting: 1/17/2017
Meeting Times: TBD
Classroom: A/Z E426
CRN: 28670
Section Number: 3
Cross Listed:
Enrollment Limit: 12
Background:
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Joe von Fischer Joe.von_Fischer@ColoState.EDU 1-2679
      Emily Stuchiner stuchine@colostate.edu

 

Current Offerings: Fall 2016

Sustaining River Hydroecosystems for Aquatic and Riparian Biota

Kurt Fausch, Professor

Description:In this 2-cr seminar, students will select, summarize, and discuss readings aimed at developing an integrated understanding of the geomorphological, hydrological, and ecological principles that govern river hydroecosystem structure and function, as it applies to managing rivers to sustain freshwater and riparian habitat and biota in the face of human demands and climate change. Guest faculty and scientists will be invited to interact with the group in their areas of expertise. Students will be evaluated on a synopsis of literature on a key topic and presentation of it to the class on one week, and their participation in discussions each week.

Credits: 2
Restrictions:
First Meeting: 8/24/2016
Meeting Times: Wednesday 11 am -12:50 pm
Classroom: Johnson Hall rm 122
CRN: 60164
Section Number: 1
Cross Listed:
Enrollment Limit: 16
Background: Students are expected to have an undergraduate background appropriate to gain maximum benefit from the course.
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Kurt Fausch, Professor kurt.fausch@colostate.edu 491-6457

Interactions among Ecological Disturbances

Jason Sibold

Description:The goal of this seminar is to explore the topic of interactions among ecological disturbances. Increasing rates of ecological disturbance resulting from projected climate warming are expected to result in increasing interactions among disturbance events. Because of the often-surprising influences that prior disturbances have on the characteristics and/or results of subsequent disturbances, disturbance interactions are viewed as central to understanding climate change impacts on plant communities. In this seminar we will discuss the key papers on ecological disturbance interactions. Students will be partially graded on attendance and discussion along with synthesis of ideas from the assigned readings and other relevant papers identified in literature searches.

Credits: 1
Restrictions:
First Meeting: 8/24/2016
Meeting Times: Wednesdays 12:00-12:50
Classroom: GSB346
CRN: 60165
Section Number: 2
Cross Listed:
Enrollment Limit: 12
Background: General ecology
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Jason Sibold jason.sibold@colostate.edu 491-4801

Principles of Data Visualization Using R and ggplot2

Nathan Lemoine, Andrew Felton

Description:Data visualization is a critical component of scientific communication, yet many scientists are unaware of the fundamental principles that yield good scientific graphs. This course will introduce students to the theory behind constructing accurate, meaningful graphics based on the seminal work of Edward Tufte and William Cleveland. Students will learn to produce scientific charts suitable for publication or presentation using R, specifically the ggplot2 graphics package. Classes will be interactive, with students programming graphs along with the instructor. At the end of the course, students will give a presentation using their own (or pre-supplied) data to demonstrate their ability to think critically about graphical needs and to subsequently produce meaningful, accurate, high quality charts.

Credits: 1
Restrictions:
First Meeting: 8/22/2016
Meeting Times: Mondays @ 9 am
Classroom: Yates rm 206
CRN: 60170
Section Number: 3
Cross Listed:
Enrollment Limit: 20
Background: None, although some R will be helpful
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Nathan Lemoine Nate.Lemoine@colostate.edu 713-256-7122
      Andrew Felton Andrew.Felton@colostate.edu

The state of aspen forests in the Southern Rockies

Jason Sibold

Description:The goal of this seminar is to review the literate on aspen (Populus tremuloides) forest ecology and dynamics in the southern Rocky Mountains. We will review general aspen ecology, the evidence for and drivers of recent changes to aspen forests ((sudden aspen decline (SAD)), species distribution model projections of aspen distribution under projected climate change, and recent developments on aspen stand dynamics to develop a current picture of aspen forests in the southern Rocky Mountains. Students will be partially graded on attendance and discussion along with synthesis of ideas from the assigned readings and other relevant papers identified in literature searches.

Credits: 1
Restrictions:
First Meeting: 8/23/2016
Meeting Times: Thursday from 2-3 pm
Classroom: GSB346
CRN: 60565
Section Number: 4
Cross Listed:
Enrollment Limit: 15
Background: General ecology or biogeography background.
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Jason Sibold jason.sibold@colostate.edu 9704914801

Species boundaries, diversification and diversity in the tropics

Dr. Barry R. Noon, Dr. S.P. Vijayakumar

Description:What drives spatial patterns of diversity gradients is a question that has fascinated ecologists for centuries. However, with the advent of phylogenetics and spatial analysis, we are currently well poised to tackle the role of diversification and incorporate biogeographic processes of dispersal to explore this question in a multi-disciplinary framework. In this short course, students will be introduced to the topic through a series of lectures. Topics include: 1. the significance of Wallacean and Linnaean shortfall in the tropics towards understanding and delimiting species boundaries 2. an introduction to the multiple processes influencing diversification in clades and 3. a conceptual link between diversification and dispersal on the spatial patterns of diversity in the tropics. We will use a few recent case studies to illustrate these concepts and introduce students to the world of frogs in the Western Ghats, a tropical biodiversity hotspot in Peninsular India. Note: This course will be taught within a ~3-week window of time to accommodate the visit schedule of our Indian colleagues. Several hours of meeting time will occur each week up to 15 contact hours. A short project paper (~2500 words), which can be done in collaboration with a fellow student, will be required at the end of the course. Grading will be pass/fail with a pass dependent on class attendance and participation and successful completion of the final project report.

Credits: 1
Restrictions:
First Meeting: 9/19/2016
Meeting Times: To be determined after first meeting on September 19. Course will be completed within 3 weeks following the first meeting.
Classroom: Wagar 107
CRN: 60566
Section Number: 5
Cross Listed:
Enrollment Limit: 15
Background:
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Dr. Barry R. Noon barry.noon@colostate.edu 491-7905
      Dr. S.P. Vijayakumar vj@ces.iisc.ernet.in

 

Previous Offerings

Previous ECOL 592 course descriptions available on the Past 592 page.