Office of the Registrar
Sir Wilfred Grenfell College (2006/2007)
10.11 Environmental Science Courses

For existing Memorial University of Newfoundland courses, the numbers remain the same. For new courses in Environmental Science, the following four-digit scheme is used:

1st digit = Year

2nd digit = Parent Discipline:

  • 0 = Multidisciplinary
  • 1 = Biology
  • 2 = Chemistry
  • 3 = Earth Science
  • 4 = Physics
  • 9 = Project

3rd digit = Subdiscipline:

  • (Biology): 1 = Botany 1 = Analytical 5 = Research
  • (Chemistry): 2 = Zoology 2 = Inorganic 8 = Science Writing
  • (Multidisciplinary): 3 = Ecology 3 = Physical 6 = Environmental 4 = Organic

4th digit = Numerical Sequence.

Courses specifically designed for the environmental science program(s) are given the designation "Envs". Thus, for example, in the Winter semester of the 2nd year, Environmental Chemistry is offered, with a course number = Envs 2261.

10.11.1 Environmental Biology Courses


Taxonomy of Flowering Plants

is a study of the biodiversity of flowering vascular plants (Magnoliophyta) through the practical identification of Newfoundland families, genera, and species. Related taxonomic and biogeographical principles will be stressed.

Prerequisite: Biology 2010 or equivalent.

Three two-hour laboratory periods per week of integrated practice and theory.


  1. Credit can be obtained for only one of Environmental Science 3110 or Biology 3041.

  2. Students must submit a collection of flowering plants identified to the species level. Detailed instructions should be obtained from the instructor in the spring/summer prior to the commencement of this course.


Freshwater Ecology

is the study of freshwater ecosystems (lakes, rivers, streams, peatlands). Included are abiotic components, community structures, energy flow, biogeochemical cycles, and the evolution of natural and altered aquatic ecosystems. Emphasis will be placed on field and laboratory studies of the ecology of freshwater organisms and systems in western Newfoundland.

Prerequisites: Biology 2010, 2122, 2600; one of Chemistry 1001 or 1011.

Lectures: Three hours per week.

Laboratory: Three hours per week.


Impacted Terrestrial Ecosystems

is an examination of ecological and evolutionary responses by organisms in terrestrial ecosystems to human-derived and natural perturbations. Advanced conceptual, empirical and experimental approaches will be used, with an emphasis on sampling local habitats.

Prerequisites: Biology 2600; and two of Biology 2010, 2122, 2210 or the permission of the instructor and Program Chair.

Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week.


Credit can be obtained for only one of Environmental Science 3131 or Biology 3610.


Analytical Ecology

states that the assessment of environmental impacts on higher-level ecological systems requires a critical analysis of scientific reports, along with the ability to evaluate ecological terminology and concepts and associated statistical methodologies. Students in this course will critically read and analyze recent scientific literature in Environmental Biology, with selected topics at the community, ecosystem and landscape level, and examine related univariate and multivariate statistical procedures

Prerequisites: Biology 2600, Statistics 2550 (or equivalent), with 6 credit hours from the Environmental Science Core (i.c.).

Lectures: Three hours of lectures plus a three-hour laboratory/discussion group each week.


Conservation Biology

will bring together the principles of ecology and conservation biology at an advanced level. Current issues and techniques will be discussed with an aim towards understanding how populations of native flora and fauna can be managed for long-term conservation in the face of habitat degradation and loss.

Prerequisites: At least two of Environmental Science 3110, 3130, and 3131; or permission of instructor.

Recommended: Environmental Science 4132 (formerly Biology 4360)

Three hours of lectures plus a three-hour laboratory/discussion group per week.


Environmental Science Field Course

is a course providing practical experience in the observation, collection, identification and quantification of organisms and the various environmental parameters which affect them in pristine and disturbed habitats. Combinations of freshwater, marine and terrestrial habitats will be studied using techniques from various scientific disciplines. The actual combination of habitats, organisms, and techniques will vary from year to year.

Prerequisites: Biology 2600, Statistics 2550, with a minimum of eighty credit hours from Environmental Science Program (or equivalents) and permission of the instructor and Program Chair.


See APICS Field Course List at

Transfer of credit regulations apply.

10.11.2 Environmental Chemistry Courses


Survey of Environmental Chemistry

is an introduction to environmental problems, underlying chemistry and approaches to pollution prevention. Stratospheric chemistry and the ozone layer. Ground level air pollution. Global warming and the Greenhouse Effect. Toxic organic chemicals (TOCs), including herbicides, pesticides. Toxicology of PCBs, dioxins and furans. Chemistry of natural waters. Bioaccumulation of heavy metals. Energy production and its impact on the environment, including nuclear energy, fossil fuels, hydrogen.

Prerequisites: Chemistry 1001 or 1031 or 1051 or 2440 or the permission of the instructor and Program Chair.

Lectures: Three hours per week.


Environmental Analytical Chemistry I

is treatment of data, error analysis, wet methods of analysis of laboratory and field samples. Volumetric methods for acidity, alkalinity and hardness; chemical and biological oxygen demand (COD and BOD). Gravimetric methods for sulphate and phosphates. Theory and application of specific ion electrodes analysis of metal ions, dissolved gases and halide ions. Turbidimetric and nephelometric measures of water quality. Spectrophotometric analysis of trace metal ions.

Prerequisites: Chemistry 2300 and 2210.

Lectures and Laboratory: Not more than seven hours per week.


Environmental Analytical Chemistry II

is theory and application of spectroscopic methods of analysis (including error analysis) of environmentally important compounds. Spectrophotometric, FTIR, light scattering, chromatographic (GC, GC/MS, HPLC), fluorescence, phosphorescence, atomic absorption and electroanalytical methods will be studied. Synthetic laboratory samples and field samples will be examined by these techniques.

Prerequisites: Environmental Science 3210 (or equivalent).

Lectures and Laboratory: Not more than seven hours per week.


Industrial Chemistry

is chemical principles used in the manufacture of inorganic and organic chemical products; electrochemical, petrochemical, polymer, pulp and paper, agricultural, cement, cosmetics, detergent and paint industries. Processes, specific pollutants of current interest: inorganic (e.g. mercury, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides gases, lead etc.) and organic (e.g. PCBs, chlorinated hydrocarbons, freons, pesticides/herbicides). Industrial sources and analytical methods of detection will be studied.

Prerequisites: Chemistry 2210, 2401, and Environmental Science 2261 (Envs 2261 may be taken concurrently) or permission of the instructor and Program Chair.

Lectures: Three hours per week.


Atmospheric Chemistry

is electronic, vibrational and rotational spectroscopy. Rates and mechanisms of gas phase reactions (particularly photochemical). Thermodynamics of the atmosphere. Formation, evolution and structure of the Earth's atmosphere. Chemical and physical properties of the atmospheric gases. Global element cycles. The stratosphere and ozone variability. The iono-sphere. Atmospheric pollutants. Problems of the "greenhouse" gases. Aerosol chemistry. Wet and dry deposition.

Prerequisites: Chemistry 2300, 2210 or the permission of the instructor and Program Chair.

Lectures: Three hours per week.


Aquatic Chemistry I

is thermodynamics and kinetics of model systems. Acids and bases (including buffer intensity and neutralizing capacity), dissolved gases, precipitation and dissolution. Metal ions in aqueous solution. Redox control in natural waters. Pourbaix diagrams. Regulation of chemical composition of natural waters, pollution and water quality.

Prerequisites: Environmental Science 3211 and one of Chemistry 2400 or 2440 or permission of the instructor and Program Chair.

Lectures and Laboratory: Not more than seven hours per week.


Aquatic Chemistry II

is heterogeneous aspects of aquatic chemistry. Surface chemistry of oxides, hydroxides and oxide minerals. Aggregation of colloids and the role of coagulation in natural waters. The oil-water interface. Inorganic and organic complexes in natural waters and problems of specificity.

Prerequisites: Environmental Science 4230.

Lectures and Laboratory: Not more than six hours per week.


Organic Chemistry of Biomolecules

is structure and properties of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, steroids, DNA and RNA. The chemistry of the cell in relation to its toxicology; effects of bioactive agents on cells, organelles, tissues and whole organisms. Natural products including those from the rain forest and marine environments. The role of metal ions in biomolecules. Examples of biosynthesis. Chemistry and mechanisms of mutagenesis and carcinogenesis.

Prerequisites: Chemistry 2401 or 2440 or permission of the instructor and Program Chair.

Lectures: Three hours per week.


Environmental Organic Chemistry

focuses on anthropogenic sources of organic chemicals and pollutants in the environment. Concepts of organic chemistry (synthesis, structure, physical properties, chirality, industrial organic processes), biological chemistry (enzymes, oxidative pathways) and physical chemistry (equilibria, partitioning) extended and applied to mass transport through soil, water and air. Kinetics and mechanisms of chemical, photochemical and biological degradation and conversion of organics. Structure-reactivity relationships for organic chemicals and degradation intermediates in the environment.

Prerequisites: Environmental Science 4240, 3261, 4230 or the permission of the instructor and Program Chair.

Lectures: Three hours per week.

10.11.3 Other Environmental Science Courses


Introduction to Environmental Science

is an introduction to the study of the environment. Environmental principles, issues and problems will be described and placed in a historical and societal context.


Geological Hazards and Natural Disasters

will introduce students to the geological aspects of the natural environment and the impacts that natural geological processes and phenomena may have on humanity. The impact of geological hazards and natural disasters on human society and behaviour will be examined through case studies.

Prerequisite: This course is restricted to students with 15 credit hours or more.


Global Environmental Change

is a survey of the Earth as a dynamic system. Discussion of interacting cycles that define the Earth's environment. Material cycles and energy concepts. Evolution of the atmosphere in response to lithospheric, biospheric and hydrospheric changes. Major global environmental changes from Earth's formation to present. Emphasis on self-regulating ability of the Earth system.

Lectures: Three hours per week.

Prerequisite: This course is restricted to students with thirty credit hours or more.



is historical review of science of oceanography. Earth and Earth systems (including plate tectonics). Marine sediments and sedimentary environments. Chemical and physical properties of seawater. The atmosphere and the oceans, ocean circulation. Waves and tides, coastal environments, distribution of organisms. Applied oceanography.

Lectures: Three hours per week.

Prerequisite: This course is restricted to students who have completed thirty credit hours or more.


Energy and the Environment

is energy, energy conversion, heat transfer, the laws of thermodynamics, nuclear processes and radiation will be treated. Practical problems such as the energy shortage, human influences on climate, resource extraction, nuclear power etc. will be discussed.

Prerequisites: Mathematics 1081 or 1000; Physics 1021 or co-requisite 1051.

Lectures: Three hours per week.



as an application of physics and mathematics to the study of the atmosphere. Atmospheric motion on the global, synoptic, meso- and micro-scales. An introduction to atmospheric radiation and thermodynamics, clouds and precipitation. Vertical soundings and the analysis and interpretation of surface and upper-air weather maps.

Prerequisites: Physics 1021 or co-requisite 1051.

Lectures: Three hours per week.


Comparative Marine Environments

will investigate the physical, chemical, geological and biological characteristics of the major marine environments from the coastal zone to the abyss and from the equator to the poles. The objective of the course will be an integrated study of the parameters that define the various environments. Emphasis will be placed on the interaction of organism and environment. The influence of the environment on the form, function and behaviour or organisms and the influence of the organism in modification of the physical environment will be stressed.

Prerequisite: Environmental Science 2371.


Transport Phenomena

is fundamentals of fluid flow. Conservation laws for mass, momentum, and energy. Dimensional analysis. Turbulence. Confined fluid flows. Fundamentals of heat transfer. Conduction, convention, and radiation. Diffusion, dispersion, and osmosis. Applications to transport of pollutants at the microscopic and macroscopic scale.

Prerequisites: Mathematics 1001. Physics 1020 and 1021 or 1050 and 1051.

Lectures: Three hours per week.


Environmental Science Seminar

is current topics in environmental science are reviewed and discussed in a seminar format. Seminars will be presented on current research and environmental issues by faculty, students and guest speakers from universities, government and industry.

Prerequisite: This course is restricted to Environmental Science students who have completed 80 credit hours or more, to include Biology 2600, Statistics 2550 and one of the following courses: Chemistry 2440, 2401, 2210 or 2300.


Fundamentals of Soil Systems

is the chemistry and biology of soil, including inorganic soil components, chemistry of soil organic matter, soil equilibria, sorption phenomena on soils, ion exchange processes, kinetics of soil processes, redox chemistry of soils, soil acidity, chemistry of saline and sodic soils, organic pollutants, trace and toxic elements in soils, soil organisms (microbial decomposers, micro and macro biota), organic matter cycling, nutrient cycling and fertility and productivity, soil conservation and sustainable agriculture.

Laboratory will cover a number of key physical, chemical and biological properties and procedures used in soil analyses. One or more field trips will be scheduled during laboratory sessions.

Prerequisites: Biology 2600, Earth Sciences 1000; one of Chemistry 2300, 2401, 2440 and 6 credit hours selected from Environmental Science Core (i.c.).

Lectures and Laboratory: Not more than six hours per week.


Environmental Restoration and Waste Management

is effective ecosystem restoration and remediation involves an interdisciplinary approach. This course will discuss procedures aimed at restoring and rehabilitating ecosystems, with an examination of the scientific basis underlying these procedures. The efficacy of management options, e.g. biomanipulation, microbial degradation and chemical treatments, involved in restoration and waste management will be evaluated. Applications and practical case studies of both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems will be covered.

Prerequisites: Biology 2600, one of Chemistry 2300, 2401, 2440 and 6 credit hours from Environmental Science Core (i.c.).

Lectures: Three hours per week.


Groundwater Flow

is groundwater in the hydrologic cycle. Principles of fluid flow through permeable media. Hydraulic properties of soil and rock formations. Groundwater at the local and regional scale. The unit basin model. Groundwater as a transport agent of chemicals and microbes. Groundwater resources, reservoir characterisation, and quality assessment. Groundwater contamination.

Prerequisite: Environmental Science 3470 or the permission of the instructor and Program Chair.

Lectures: Three hours per week.


Research Project in Environmental Science I

is a course, with the guidance of a faculty member, where students will conduct a scientific study based upon original research or a critical review of extant data in an appropriate area. Students are required to submit a report and give a presentation.

Prerequisite: Permission of Program Chair.


This project fulfils the Core requirement for a fourth-year individual project in the area of specialization.


Honours Project in Environmental Science I

is a course, under the guidance of a designated supervisor (or supervisors), where the student will prepare a thesis proposal including a comprehensive literature review of the subject of their Honours thesis. Students will present the results of their work in both written and oral form.

Prerequisites: This course is restricted to Environmental Science students who have been accepted into the Honours option.


Research Project in Environmental Science II

is a continuation of Environmental Science 4951 specifically for Honours students. Under the supervision of faculty member(s), students will carry out an original research project in environmental science. Students will present both a thesis and seminar on their research.

Prerequisite: Environmental Science 4951.


This course is restricted to honours candidates.