Temperate Rainforests: Genetics and Biogeochemistry
Fall 2015 quarter
Forested ecosystems are complex biogeochemical systems represented by a genetically diverse array of species. Forests are some of the largest carbon sinks on Earth, while hosting a complex array of ecological interactions linked to ecosystem processes. Further, genetic variation is poorly understood in these systems for both macro- and microorganisms. By focusing on genetic variation, evolutionary history, and biogeochemistry in these forests, we will learn about the interplay between biotic and abiotic phenomena. We will examine techniques for assessing genetic diversity, ways of understanding patterns in population genetics, and the potential for linkages between genetic variation in forest organisms and ecological processes in forests.
Our lectures, laboratory work, and field labs will focus on forests across a range of elevations, latitudes, and climates. We will also have a multi-day overnight trip at the beginning of the quarter to see patterns in forest ecosystems and large-scale experiments firsthand. Laboratory work will allow students to learn about new methods and applications in molecular biology and ecological genetics. Students will also acquire experience with various sampling techniques that are used to measure nitrogen, water, and carbon in forested ecosystems. Weekly seminars will focus on understanding scientific articles from the primary literature. Students will develop scientific research projects throughout the quarter that require the development of research and quantitative skills. We will emphasize fundamental concepts in ecology and genetics, techniques in molecular biology and biogeochemistry, scientific writing, and communication skills.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Day