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Applied Ecology

Applied Ecology (ENVS 6003) is an advanced graduate course covering recent topics of particular importance to environmental science and considering the application of the science of ecology to real-world (usually management) questions.

The goal of ENVS 6003 is to, within the context of current and high profile topics in environmental biology help students develop the skills to (1) read, interpret, and discuss scientific articles, and (2) improve their scientific writing and presentation skills.

Students will be required to deliver two presentations during the course, one from their choice of a topic pertaining to applied ecology and a second from a list of selected topics that will end up in a major paper written as part of their course requirements. Students will also have the chance to evaluate presentations in the course and learn how to provide useful feedback. This course will also include lectures given by the instructor on selected topics.

Course outline:

I. Course Introduction and Setting the Stage

· What is Environmental Science?

· Anthropocene

· Lessons from the past

· Origin of agriculture

II. Human Population Dynamics and the Environment

III. Carbon sources and sinks in modern biosphere

IV. Human impacts on the nitrogen cycle

V. Ecosystem Health

VI. Biodiversity

· Habitat invasions

· Invading species

· Overexploitation

· Pollution

VII. Conservation biology

VIII. Sustainable agriculture

· Agro-ecosystem management

· Genetic engineering

IX. Biomedicine Issues

· Infectious diseases

· Antibiotic resistance

X. Restoration ecology

XI. Rangeland and Protected Areas Management


Major journals in the field:

· The Journal of Applied Ecology

· Ecological Applications

Other important journals:

· Global Change Biology

· Oecologia

· Plant, Cell and Environment


· Guy R. McPherson G.R., DeStefano S. (2002) Applied Ecology and Natural Resource Management. Cambridge University Press.

· Diamond J (1997) Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. W.W. Norton & Company.

· McNeill J.R. (2001) Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the World in the 20th Century. Penguin Books.

· Newman E.I. (2001) Applied Ecology and Environmental Management. Wiley-Blackwell.

Syllabus in pdf format