ECOL 592 Interdisciplinary Seminar

Future Offerings

 

Current Offerings: Fall 2017

How much to mitigate? calculating the social cost of carbon

Rich Conant, Jess Burkhardt

Description:The EPA and other federal agencies use estimates of the social cost of carbon (SC-CO2) to value the climate impacts of rulemakings. The SC-CO2 is a measure, in dollars, of the long-term damage done by a ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in a given year. This dollar figure also represents the value of damages avoided for a small emission reduction (i.e., the benefit of a CO2 reduction). The SC-CO2 is meant to be a comprehensive estimate of climate change damages and includes changes in net agricultural productivity, human health, property damages from increased flood risk, and changes in energy system costs, such as reduced costs for heating and increased costs for air conditioning. After completing this course, students should be able to: --identify the key data required to calculate the social cost of carbon --apply those data to estimate the social cost of carbon and the associated uncertainties --assess the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of the use of the social cost of carbon for determining whether or not to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions Evaluation: --students will be expected to go through the process of estimating the social cost of carbon, probably as a team - understanding the issue, figuring out what they need to know to do the calculation, gathering and analyzing data (running into many roadblocks along the way), understanding assumptions, and producing a report Instructors role in grading and assignments --instructors will guide student learning and work with students on their SCC estimates. Grades will be based on completeness and presentation of a final report.

Credits: 1
Restrictions:
First Meeting: 10/16/2017
Meeting Times: T 12:30-2:30 pm
Classroom: tbd
CRN: 60164
Section Number: 1
Cross Listed: no
Enrollment Limit: 20
Background:
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Rich Conant rich.conant@colostate.edu 1-1919
      Jess Burkhardt jesse.berkhardt@colosate.edu 1-6951

Soil ecology in the Anthropocene

Diana Wall, Elizabeth Bach, Andre Franco

Description:Soils are a great reservoir of biodiversity and essential to ecosystem functioning, but belowground biodiversity responses to the Anthropocene have been overlooked compared to aboveground. This class will examine the current state of knowledge on emerging trends in soil biodiversity and functioning caused by human activities. The classes will consist of weekly discussions on soil biodiversity responses to land use change, invasive species, and climate change. In preparation for each class, students will read one or two papers representing a variety of ecosystems and taxa. Discussions will be structured as dialogue centered on a single topic.

Credits: 1
Restrictions:
First Meeting: 8/24/2017
Meeting Times: TBD
Classroom:
CRN: 60165
Section Number: 2
Cross Listed:
Enrollment Limit: 20
Background: This course requires students to have passed a course in general ecology. Hands-on experience in ecological research is encouraged but not required.
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Diana Wall Diana.Wall@colostate.edu 970-491-2504
      Elizabeth Bach Elizabeth.Bach@colostate.edu 970-491-7647
      Andre Franco Andre.Franco@colostate.edu 970-217-8206

Coupled Natural and Human Systems: Payment for Ecosystem Services

Dr. Kelly Jones, Xoco Shinbrot, Dr. Alex Mayer

Description:Payments for ecosystem services (PES) are voluntary transactions between ecosystem service users and providers, conditional on agreed upon rules of natural resources management, that lead to the generation of ecosystem services. PES inherently operate at the interface of coupled human and natural systems (CHANS), or social-ecological systems (SES). PES are intended to enhance ecosystem services provided by biophysical systems by eliciting certain desirable behaviors from social systems through incentives that target economic systems. This seminar will examine at least three CHANS/SES frameworks and their utility in: understanding links between biological, physical and social systems; facilitating the assessment and evaluation of conservation programs; and for identifying where conservation programs may lead to unintended consequences, particularly looking at PES. Students will critically analyze the use of CHANS/SES approaches in the natural resources management literature and develop their own research question using a CHANS/SES conceptual framework to assess a PES program. The class will meet every week for an hour long session. Papers will be assigned for group discussion. Individual and group assignments will be made for evaluation of case studies. Scholars and experts will be invited to contribute to the discussions. Assessment of each student's effort will consist of discussion participation, presentations on assigned papers, and a final project. Since this is an inter-institutional class, the enrollment is capped at 6 students. For this reason, prior to enrollment please send an email with a sentence or two about why you are interested in the course to x.shinbrot@gmail.com?

Credits: 1
Restrictions:
First Meeting: 9/5/2017
Meeting Times: TBD
Classroom:
CRN: 60170
Section Number: 3
Cross Listed:
Enrollment Limit: 6
Background:
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Dr. Kelly Jones kelly.jones@colostate.edu
      Xoco Shinbrot x.shinbrot@gmail.com (805)403-4595
      Dr. Alex Mayer amayer@mtu.edu

Gender and ethnicity in science

Ruth Hufbauer

Description:We will read from the primary and secondary literature evaluating the consequences of gender and ethnicity for a person's experience and outcomes in the work force in general, and in science in particular. We will also draw on blogs and other media. I (Ruth Hufbauer) have some training but I am not an expert in this material (i.e. it is not my area of research and training). I will be exploring and learning with the class. We will meet weekly for a 50-minute class period to discuss the readings, and I hope to host occasional guests who are experts. Students interested in participating in the women & gender collaborative grant for research mentoring are particularly encouraged to enroll in the course. The course objectives are to examine critically the systemic inequalities that exist currently (and historically) in western culture in general, as well as within the worlds of science and ecology in particular. Students should come out with a better understanding of how to recognize and combat racism and sexism. Some of the material will be uncomfortable, and a respectful and open approach to it will be crucial. A different student, or set of students, will lead discussion each week. Discussion leaders will be chosen at random. Participation in the class sessions is expected, and both attendance and contributions to the discussions will be tallied. Listening and speaking with respect for others will be critical, and doing so mindfully will also be tallied. Leading discussion will account for 25% of the pass/fail grade, and participating will account for 75%.

Credits: 1
Restrictions:
First Meeting: 8/28/2017
Meeting Times: Mondays 3:00-3:50 pm
Classroom: C123 Plant Sciences
CRN: 60565
Section Number: 4
Cross Listed:
Enrollment Limit: 20
Background:
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Ruth Hufbauer hufbauer@colostate.edu 970-420-3272

Ecological Applications of Google Earth Engine

David Theobald, Vincent Landau

Description:Spatial analyses in ecology are becoming more common and more complex. Google Earth Engine (GEE) is a powerful cloud-based platform used to perform spatial data analysis, all from your internet browser. It allows access to a massive repository of data hosted on google servers, and the ability to house your own spatial and tabular data on the cloud. GEE can perform analyses that would take weeks on a local computer in minutes or seconds. The course will begin with an introduction to the platform, including how to upload data, access google datasets, and export analysis results. Instructors will guide students through a variety of ecological examples in GEE, including how to examine structure, function, and composition of ecological systems. As a (small) final project, students will write a script in GEE to perform an analysis for either their own research or an area of interest. They will give a brief presentation explaining their analysis to the class during the final meeting period. A pass/fail grade will be determined based on attendance, participation, and the final project. For more information on Google Earth Engine, visit earthengine.google.com. Please feel free to contact Vincent Landau (vlandau@rams.colostate.edu) or David Theobald (davet@csp-inc.org) with questions about the course.

Credits: 1
Restrictions:
First Meeting: 10/17/2017
Meeting Times: 3:00pm - 4:50pm, T Th
Classroom: TBA
CRN: 60566
Section Number: 5
Cross Listed: No
Enrollment Limit: 12
Background:
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      David Theobald davet@csp-inc.org 970-227-6207
      Vincent Landau vlandau@rams.colostate.edu 301-712-5076

 

Previous Offerings

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