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Lecture 1

GEO 446LEC Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Water Cycle, Environmental Science, Socratic Method


Department
Geography
Course Code
GEO 446LEC
Professor
Adam Wilson
Lecture
1

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Global Change Ecology
GEO446/546
Professor Adam M. Wilson
Today’s Outline
What is “Global Change Ecology”?
Course Structure
Introductions
Name
Major
What is “global change ecology”?
Our global environment is changing
Temperatures are rising
Sea levels are rising
The ocean is acidifying
Climate change is reflected in water cycle changes and in extreme weather
Ecological Impacts
Living things are intimately connected to their physical surroundings.
Ecosystems are affected by changes in:
temperature
rainfall/moisture
pH
salinity (saltiness)
activities & distribution of other species
…many other factors
Ecological Impacts
Species and ecosystems are experiencing changes in:
ranges
timing of biological activity
growth rates
relative abundance of species
cycling of water and nutrients
the risk of disturbance from fire, insects, and invasive species
Range Shifts
Species are relocating to areas with more tolerable climate conditions.
Range shifts particularly threaten species that:
cannot move fast enough
depend on conditions that are becoming more rare (like sea ice)
Timing of Biological Activity (Phenology)
Some seasonal biological activities are happening 15-20 days earlier than several decades ago:
Trees blooming earlier
Migrating birds arriving earlier

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Butterflies emerging earlier
Changes in timing differ from species to species, so ecological interactions are disrupted.
A New Discipline: Global Change Ecology
Multiple “meta” levels to this course
Mental Transition to a “Research Mindset”
Typical Week
Tentative Schedule
Course Components
Principal Investigator (Final Project Leadership)
Research Team (Final Project)
Seminar Leadership
Application & Analysis: Communication
Application & Analysis: Research
Seminar Participation
Seminar Preparation
Attendance
Lectures (typically Mondays)
Various topics & methods
Specification Grading (see syllabus for details)
Remember all assignments are graded pass/fail there is no partial credit.
Specification Grading
Grades based on the quantity and quality of work you choose to do.
You select desired grade
Higher grade requires additional and/or more sophisticated work
Assessments organized in bundles, each associated with a specific grade.
All work evaluated satisfactory / unsatisfactory; must be reasonably complete and accurate
(≥B); no partial or extra credit.
Individual assessments not graded; feedback provided to indicate any necessary improvements.
Tokens
You will start with 5 tokens for the semester. You may use a token for:
A redo on an assignment (seminar prep, leadership, exercise, etc.) that earned less than
Satisfactory
Turning in an assignment past its due date (up to one week)
To excuse an unexcused absence
You can earn more tokens through:
Extra seminar leadership (one extra = one token)
A superior assignment that goes beyond expectations
Grade Request Letter
Submit a cover letter at end of semester:
A short summary of the key concepts and techniques that you learned during the semester
(~500 words)
A grade request that represents your knowledge and task completion
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